TED Conversations

Nick Schmitt

Student , University of Southern California

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is personal liberty more important than the technological advancement of the human race?

Take the example of a social hive-mind. In the future, if we were to upload our minds to computers, we would be able to connect consciousness.

[PRO] This would allow for a perfect flow of information, thoughts, experiences and opinions between all individuals. We would have a clear-cut morality, and we would advance at unprecedented rates.

[CON] As a result, all privacy and sense of 'self' is stripped from individuals in society.

progress indicator
  • thumb
    Nov 16 2011: The free exercise of human decision and human will is the engine which drives technological advancement, according to the great statesman Adlai E. Stevenson. He went on to ask, "Which is more difficult, to think of an encampment on the moon or of Harlem rebuilt? Both are now within the reach of our resources. Both now depend upon human decision and human will."
    No doubt about it, liberty trumps technology in the game of life.
  • Nov 5 2011: Before minds could be usefully uploaded to a computer, someone would need to come up with a universal structure for common language, social beliefs, values, and similar things from whatever pulses and waves the brain uses to perform this task now. Then for connecting of consciousness, there would have to be some adaptive hierarchy that was determined (at leas initially) by a human. Seem like storage volume for 8 billion brains(just using nature's model) might also be large, require a lot of maintenance, and have several other engineering challenges. So, I think it is at least a few generations before we have to worry too much about this thought.

    However, to the point, in the words of Spock, "the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few". If technology needs to move forward and adapt for the survival of all people, then it should never be stopped. The decision of the individual to be part of society, consequently being bound by its restrictions, is a personal choice for an adult. To some exent, they can break from society and live on their own by natures laws to some extent, which are much less forgiving and more severe. This is permitted to the extent it does not impede the rights and liberty of others if many are locally co-existing.