Emil Torres on Transhumanism, Permanence, and Existential Risks

My goal with this podcast has always been to be a bit of a catalyst for your intellectual growth, as well as mine, and hopefully a midwife for your best ideas, rather than a propagator of a particular movement or ideology. So while I’ve never hidden my personal views, I’m not trying to make you a believer and a follower, but just bringing important and helpful people and ideas to your attention. What to do then is of course completely up to you.

Emil Torres is a philosopher and historian whose work focuses on existential threats to humanity. In this 2-hour conversation with Emil, we cover a number of interesting topics such as eschatology and teleology; determination and invitation; The Kurzweil Timeline and the Final End of the Universe. ChatGPT and AGI; The Rapture and Émile’s Baptist upbringing; following our own biases and blind spots; Transhumanism, Religion and Eugenics; Problems with defining, measuring, and boasting about (your) intelligence. Nick Bostom’s racism, narcissism, honesty and dubious mathematics in papers like Astronomical Waste; the nature and danger of existential risks; The dangers of (radical) longevity.

As always, you can listen to or download the audio file above, or scroll down and watch the full video interview. To show your support, you can leave a review on iTunes, make a direct donation, or become a Patreon patron.

Who is Emil Torres? [They, Them]

Emil Torres’ work centers around one theme: eschatology, whether religious, secular, or scientific. More recently, they have focused on the nature and causes of human extinction, its ethical implications, and the history of the idea.|:

Torres has written for the Future of Life Institute and was previously a research assistant to Ray Kurzweil and an associate scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Emil spent some time at Harvard University and received a master’s degree in neuroscience from Brandeis University, although their background is in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science/biology. They are currently Ph.D. Candidate of Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany. Their upcoming book Human extinction. A History of the Science and Ethics of Extermination (Routledge), is a comprehensive work on intellectual history, ethics, and population axiology. Torres is teaching the Ethics of Human Destruction course this semester, which may be the first on the subject.|:

Emil has published in scientific journals such as Erkenntnis, Futures, bioethics, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Foresight, Metaphilosophy, Inquiry, and the South African Journal of Philosophy, among others, and a chapter on algocracy were included in the Amazon bestseller. Artificial intelligence safety and security. They have has also published articles in popular media such as TIME, Slate, The Washington Post, Aeon, motherboard, Nautilus, free survey, Truth, backlash common dreams The Progressive, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Torres is currently a contributing writer for Salon.

Their previous book (2017) was Morality, Foresight and Human Flourishing. Introduction to Existential Risks, which included a foreword by Lord Martin Rhys. In 2019, Emil Torres spent several months as a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge and gave talks at the Institute for the Future of Humanity (University of Oxford), Princeton University and Univ. Chalmers University of Technology to name a few.|:

They have appeared on numerous podcasts and have been interviewed on human extinction, artificial intelligence and related topics on BBC Radio, NowThis and Al Jazeera TV (Live). Torres is slated to star in an upcoming Netflix docu-series about secular apocalyptic scenarios.|:

On a personal note, Emil Torres is passionate about alleviating global poverty and has pledged to give away anything they earn over $35,000 a year. In a previous life, they were musicians and audio engineers and sold a bunch of songs to MTV.

For more information visit their website and follow them on Twitter.

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