(These are excerpts from my book "Intelligence is not Artificial")
Ethical Intermezzo: The Downside of Immortality
If immortality can be achieved in this life, it will have non-trivial consequences on a selfish race like the human race.
If you believe that immortality is granted in the afterlife, you will do everything that you can in order to obtain it in the afterlife (which typically means obeying the instructions that a god gave humans to achieve the abovesaid immortality); but if you believe that immortality is granted in this life, you will do everything that you can to obtain it in this life. A person who believes that immortality will be granted in the afterlife based on her good deeds will promptly sacrifice her life to save someone else or to fight a dangerous disease in Africa or to provide her children with a better future; but a person who believes that immortality is granted in this life has literally no motivation to risk her life to save someone else's life, nor any motivation to risk her life in Africa nor (ultimately) any motivation to care for her own children. Once you are dead, you are dead, therefore the only meaning that your life can have is not to die. Ever. Under any circumstances. No matter what. Stay alive.
The new morality of a society that believes in immortality here now will be simple: stay alive at all costs, because immortality in this life is the only thing that matters.
"Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons" (Buckminster Fuller, "Earth Inc", 1973)
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