Terasem Conference On Law Of Transhuman Persons

This past weekend, the Terasem Movement, a not-for-profit charity endowed for the purpose of educating the public on the practicality and necessity of greatly extending human life, hosted a colloquium on the law regarding transhuman persons. The conference took place at Indialantic, Florida

The stated purposes of the meeting were to

  1. provide the public with informed perspectives regarding the legal rights and obligations of "transhuman persons" via audio/video webcast (including transcripts) of expert presentations, challenges and discussions.
  2. begin development of a body of law covering the rights and obligations of conscious computers, cryogenically-revived persons and other entities that transcend, and yet encompass, conventional conceptions of humanness.
Presentations on a variety of science-fictional topics were made:
  • Forms of Transhuman Persons and The Importance of Prior Resolution of Relevant Law: A Comparison with the Law of Outer Space
    Martine Rothblatt, Terasem Movement, Inc., Melbourne Beach, FL
  • Parenthood In the Transhuman Age: An Intellectual Property Model
    Sebastian Sethe, Sheffield Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Functions of a Trust Protector During Biostasis and at the Time of Cryogenic Revival
    John Dedon, Esq., Partner, Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, PC, Fairfax, VA
  • -Possible Legal Rights of Cryogenically Revived Persons
    Christopher Sega, Esq., Venable LLP, Washington, DC
  • Creating a New Intelligent Species: Choices and Responsibilities for AI Designers
    Eliezer Yudkowsky, Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
This conference works on the issues raised in many science fiction works. The issue of whether or not a cryonically frozen person can inherit (and what they will end up with if they do) is covered in a variety of science fiction works. In his 1976 novel A World Out Of Time, Larry Niven popularizes the term corpsicle and describes the fate of a cryonically frozen person centuries later. Another of my favorites, Roger Zelazny's 1976 novel Doorways in the Sand, the main character's frozen uncle makes an unexpected reappearance.

The legal status of persons who are stored by other means is explored in novels like Richard Morgan's 2003 book Altered Carbon; everything that makes you a "person" can be stored and then loaded into a new body - or an artificial sleeve.

Read more at the First Annual Colloquium on the Law of Transhuman Persons.

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