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We Should Not Try to Make Conscious Software—Until We Should


A green, robotic tree frog hangs onto a grassy reed.

Machines eventually might be able to produce welfare, such as happiness or pleasure, more efficiently than biological beings do.

Credit: Menno van Dijk/Getty Images

Suppose, for example, a future technology would allow us to create a small computer that could be happier than a euphoric human being, but only require as much energy as a light bulb. According to some ethical positions, humanity's best course of action would be to create as much artificial welfare as possible—be it in animals, humans, or computers.

Future humans might set the goal of turning all attainable matter in the universe into machines that efficiently produce welfare, perhaps 10,000 times more efficiently than can be generated in any living creature. This strange possible future might be the one with the most happiness.

From Scientifc American
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