Evidently, the “new” cause of tech millionaires and billionaires like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk is the survival of our species, at any cost, until it reaches a “transhuman” plane. Once reached, humans, or I guess post-humans, will push out into the universe physically and virtually for the next 10e100 years, and perhaps beyond.
Yes, it sounds like bad science fiction or dorm room philosopy, but this idea, labeled “longtermism,” is being lustily promoted by a few very serious thinkers, including Oxford philosopher William MacAskill, research fellow at the Global Priorities Institute, and Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute, and has managed to attract, as of 2023, at least $46 billion in committed funding.
Émile P. Torres, a one-time acolyte and now very public critic, calls longtermism “quite possibly the most dangerous secular belief system in the world today.” According to Torres, longtermism is “straight out of the playbook” of Julian Huxley, who carried his thinly veiled faith in eugenics to his death in 1975. And longtermerists are not even veiled.