Friday, January 25, 2008

Sometimes I do help them with their homework ...

A high-school student wrote me this evening to say he was doing a project for his English class on my Rollback, in which he was going to explore four major moral issues related to rejuvenation and life prolongation -- and he asked me to suggest what those issues might be. And so, in 90 seconds, I banged out these:

Moral issue 1: If the process is expensive, should it be only the rich who should have access to it, or should there be some other mechanism for determining who gets to live forever?

Moral issue 2: If people are going to live forever, meaning they never stop taking up space and consuming resources, should they also still be allowed to breed?

Moral issue 3: In criminal cases, do "life sentences" or the "death penalty" become disproportionately severe if a person is/was going to live forever?

Moral issue 4: If it costs millions or billions to live forever, is it morally right to spend that much to do so when there are still starving people in the world -- if you could feed hundreds or thousands of people for a decade for the cost of giving yourself another century of life, doesn't morality demand that you spend the money helping the greatest number of people rather than spending it on yourself?

Other posers related to Rollback are in the readers' group / book-club discussion guide for the novel here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


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