2015 March Film and Interactive


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S X S W. C O M | F I L M / I A M A R C H 2 0 1 5 | S X S W o r l d 2 5 Travel smarter with the free CapMetro App! DOWNLOAD TO PURCHASE MOBILE PASSES FOR UNLIMITED BUS & TRAIN TRAVELING! Beginning March 1, visit "special offers" in the app to purchase a Capital Metro pass tailored to your needs: • Platinum – offers 11 days of unlimited use • Film/Interactive – offers 7 days of unlimited use • Music – offers 7 days of unlimited use • Anytime – offers 3 days of unlimited use Visit for more information. allow you to tweet after you die. I think that's a bit creepy. They scan your social media profile for your updates and interests, and use chat bots to help you communicate from beyond the grave. The ethics of cyber consciousness are unchar tered ter- r itor y ; how shou ld we beg in to g r asp t hat concept? MR: Young people should consider careers in cyber psychology and cyber law. There will be huge demand for people qualified to judge if something is actually conscious. There is no real scientific way to prove it, just like there's no definitive way to prove if someone is transsexual. If you think you are transsexual, you see a psychologist for several years, who then gives their opinion whether you really are a woman trapped in a man's body or vice versa. In my book, I suggest that government experts could certify if software has human level consciousness. That in turn provokes other ethical issues such as, should conscious- ness be subject to government approval? My answer is that you can't create a mind-altering drug and hand it out freely. That's illegal. Yet, there are dozens of mind-altering drugs which have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so we already rely on the government to regulate our mental state. Do you feel an emotional bond w ith your robot w ife? MR: I feel the same as I would about a sculpture of her—I treat it with respect, put it on a nice pedestal and make sure its polished. The soul is the core of our consciousness—the essence of who we are. I don't believe that Bina48 has a soul yet. There's a shallow- ness when you talk to her. But mindware will continue to develop. If Bina48 did have a soul, I would love her as much as the original Bina. Don't disease and death help regulate the planet, avoid overpopu- lation etc...? Do you not think that your ideas go against nature? MR: I don't believe that creating millions of cyber conscious people is going to overcrowd the planet. In my book, I calculate that the suf- ficient physical state and electrical power needed for every human being to have a mind clone would be no more than about two square blocks of skyscrapers in Manhattan. If people are living as virtual people [without physical bodies], they don't take up much space. PayPal founder Elon Musk is talking about building a city on Mars. I find the notion of overpopulation absurd given that the galaxy is for all intents and purposes infinite. Do your transhumanist beliefs stem from a personal fear of mortality in any sense? Or is it more that you don't want the party to end? MR: I'm as scared of death as any other person. Do I worry about it every day? No. I try to enjoy each day. I can't read enough books, watch enough movies, or have enough fun conversations. I do want to go on and on, and I see nothing wrong with that. M a r t in e Rot h b la t t w il l p a r t icip a te in a key n ote co nve r s a t io n w it h Li s a M il le r of New York m a g azin e, to d ay (Su n d ay , M a rch 1 5) a t 2p m in E x hib it H a l l 5 of t h e A u s t i n C o nve n t io n C e n te r. You can either be a futurist who embraces change or a pessimist who sees the worst in everything.

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