Human Rights Laws

In a neurotechnology future, human-rights laws will need to be revisited

New human rights laws to prepare for rapid current advances in neurotechnology that may put “freedom of mind” at risk have been proposed in the open access journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy.

All that is required is:
1 the right to life and
2 the right to liberty,
all else can be derived.
Any unreasonable influence is a deprivation of liberty, any level.

Arguably our entire economic system is now an unreasonable influence on individual liberty – and not too many people are able to even consider such a thesis as yet.

[followed by]

This is getting interesting.

The notion of valuing life, life itself having moral value, or property as a notion having any sort of value, all seem to me to be connected.

Choosing to value life and having life as a moral value are tautologically linked.

If one simply looks at the “is”ness of being, of what evolution seems to have selected in practice, across multiple levels and contexts, then there seem to be two major systemic themes present.

In contexts where the greatest threats to individual survival come from members of the same species, then competitive modalities dominate, and in contexts where the greatest threat to individual survival comes from some other source, then cooperative modalities can emerge and dominate.

And as Axlerod showed, raw cooperation is always vulnerable to exploitation, so requires sets of attendant strategies for survival – leading to something of a strategic arms race in a sense.

One can observe this in multiple levels of genetic selection, from the molecular on upwards through cellular, to complex organisms, to social groups and ecosystems as a whole. One can also see it in cultural constructs, at emergent levels. One can see it at individual levels of awareness emerging from both of the others.

I have personally made a choice to value individual life and individual liberty. That is to me sensible, and in accord with the possibility of indefinite life extension which has been a logical possibility for me since 1974.

And I can imagine people making a choice to value some set of experiences higher than life itself, and thus posing a clear and present danger to my continued existence (I have met some). No simple answers possible in such encounters. Being prepared improves probabilities, and isn’t any sort of guarantee, and it is perhaps the best any of us can do.

It seems clear to me, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that valuing life and liberty universally delivers the greatest probability of my living a reasonably long time (thousands of years) and there can be no guarantees.

The notion of property seems to be useful in terms of freedom, and it cannot be used to pose an unreasonable threat to the life or liberty of others. There must be a balance there. Someone who is starving is a different case from someone who is well fed. It gets very complex very quickly.

It seems clear that there cannot be any real security for anyone in competitive environments.

The only real chance any of us has of living a very long time is to create systems that deliver that option to everyone.
Everyone must have the real resources to have a reasonable set of choices available to them, and they need access to that awareness (it is not viable to have the resources and prevent development of the awareness to distinguish and use those resources).

Our systems need to be fundamentally cooperative at the highest level, and to be fundamentally based in the notion of universal abundance of all reasonable requirements.

And some things are genuinely scarce, but not many.
With fully automated systems most things can actually be delivered in universal abundance.

And such systems make no sense in terms of notions like money and profit.
Anything universally abundant has zero market value by definition.
So we cannot ever expect markets, in and of their own internal sets of incentives, to deliver universal abundance of anything.

We need to actively choose such outcomes.


[followed by] – {“Capitalism, mutual trade to mutual gain, is the ONLY system that produces material abundance inexpensively. Capitalism is driven by greed and, in this context, greed is good.
Money allows man to interact in accordance with his nature as a conceptual life forms. As such, money is the root of all good. So is the love of money.”}


You missed the point.
When things were genuinely scarce, that was a reasonable case to make.
Now that we are in an age of exponentially increasing ability to fully automate processes, that case cannot be made.

Now we are in an age were market incentives and human needs are in direct opposition.

The nature of man is extremely complex.
We are fundamentally cooperative if the context supports it, and we can compete hard if the context requires it.

And context in this sense is personal – the perceived context, which is determined by a mix of perceptions and available models and distinctions.


[followed by] – {…”Capitalism is the only mechanism that produces material abundance inexpensively. “…”So, what point did I miss?”…}


Your first claim “Capitalism is the only mechanism that produces material abundance inexpensively” is false, but that can be hard to distinguish from within the capitalist paradigm, one does have to be willing to look deeply at the nature of “value”.

The point missed, is the nature of the value measured in markets and embodied in capitalism.

That value is based in scarcity.  You don’t go to a market for something that everyone already has all they need of (like air).

When most things were genuinely scarce, and the set of things that could be universally abundant was small (air, and water in some places), then a strong case could be made that markets were a reasonable measure of value, and we have seen significant progress under that system.

The issue comes when the exponential increases in computational ability and the expansion of the set of fully automated systems, start to exponentially expand the set of goods and services that can be delivered in universal abundance.

In this context – the context we exist in right now – the internal incentive sets of market values are to create barriers to any universal abundance, to create marketable scarcity.

From the perspective of the value measure encapsulated in money, that makes perfect sense.

From the perspective of the real outcomes for real people at the lower end of the distribution of money, it makes no sense at all, and creates injustice at a monumental scale, when the poor see the ones they love dying for want of goods and services that could easily be available, except for the incentive sets of markets.   At that point, the point we are now, that injustice embodied in the system creates systemic incentives within some individuals which put every one of us at risk.

Markets have no incentive to deliver universal abundance, ever.

The human need is for universal abundance of a relatively modest set of goods and services.  (Note I wrote need – not artificially generate desire – there is a huge difference.)

So that systemic change in the nature of value and the metrics we use to measure it is fundamental.

What is also fundamental is the nature of our relationship to rights and responsibilities.  Those are always two sides of the same coin, and cannot be considered separately, as many tend to do today.

Anyone who is interested in having a reasonable probability of living a reasonably long time, really does need to look seriously and deeply at the issues embodied here.

Jordan Peterson provides a good starting point in his Maps of Meaning book and sets of lectures on youtube.   And to really start to make sense of that, one needs to be able to see the many levels of systems embodied in our biochemistry and our culture.   And that takes a bit of work.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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