The Technium

Future Embarrassments

Because moral progress is real (we improve our morality over time) new generations will inevitably see moral deficiencies in previous generations. To some degree we can guess and anticipate what they will find embarrassing about us today, but it will be impossible to align ourselves fully with their view. The more we are immersed in today’s culture, the harder to see our future. So we just have to get used to the idea that our descendents will find many of the things we do and believe today to be eye-rolling embarrassing. With the caveat that most of these will be wrong, what are some possible future embarrassments?

Eating animal flesh with gusto

Believing gender is only binary

Denying consciousness in machines

Prohibiting euthanasia

Outlawing psychedelics

Hatred against engineering human genetics 

Acceptance of passports to prevent mobility

Tolerating destitute poverty

Employing capital punishment 

Belief that killing in war is not murder

Prison is justified punishment

Not choosing your own name

Human clones are diabolical

Assuming photographs are evidence


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