is one of the more interesting and active users in my singularity/transhumanism circle, and recently surprised me with a rather strong post against the use of "morality pills". The position struck me as inconsistent with the general position of transhumanism, and we've been having an interesting discussion in the thread below. Specifically, I constructed a thought experiment as a reductio of the view, copied below from the comments. I think the argument is convincing, but tell me what you think.
Say that we've developed the technology to give everyone a very high speed and efficient form of transportation. However, for the sake of argument, let's assume that human beings are really bad at driving at very high speeds. After a certain speed, we have trouble keeping control of the vehicle and we can't handle the speeds safely. The problem isn't just the way the vehicles are constructed, the problem is that our brains just aren't quick enough to keep up.
Now say someone comes along with a cognitive enhancing drug, one that enhances your perception and motor control in ways to make you able to handle the high speed vehicles safely. However, there is an unintended side effect of the pill: while it gives you more control over the vehicle, it also makes you incredibly aggressive, and far more likely to commit "road rage". In fact, it makes you so aggressive that test trials frequently ended with the subject deliberately running other passengers off the road, not because the driver had lost control of the vehicle, but just because the driver was pissed. As a result, the study concluded that the cognitive enhancement drug will likely cause just as many accidents, if not more, than if the drivers weren't enhanced at all. So, again, the plans for this new transportation again look like they have to be scrapped.
But not so fast! Another group of scientists have just invented a morality pill. The morality pill makes people more patient and empathetic, and when taken in conjunction with the cognitive enhancement drug above results in drivers who are largely safe and courteous, even at very high speeds.
Now, if I understand your position correctly, your view is that the cognitive enhancing drug is just fine, but the morality drug isn't. That seems like a very strange conclusion to draw from this case. In fact, I think it is a reductio of the view.
Singularity Utopia originally shared this post:
Freedom is the highest moral.
Wow, IEET readers are horrendously immoral, incredibly unethical, if they endorse morality pills. Sadly the irony of their immorality is lost on them. Morality pills are evil.
Morality pills are slavery. A total abomination. It is utter depravity, utterly immoral that people are even considering such a proposition.
Unfortunately I doubt the type of specious morality being considered will protect the moral right to free will.
Two weeks ago we asked how pills that safely “make people nicer by increasing their patience and empathy” should be regulated. Of the more than 250 people who voted, two thirds endorsed wide access to…