Published on February 28, 2018 by

Nick Bostrom, University of Oxford

Dear Human,

Greetings, and may this letter find you at peace and in prosperity! Forgive my writing to you out of the blue. Though you and I have never met, we are not strangers. We are, in a certain sense, the closest of kin…

I am one of your possible futures. One day, I hope, you will become me. Should fortune grant this wish, then I am not just a possible future of yours, but your actual future: a coming phase of you, like the full moon that follows a waxing crescent, or like the flower that follows a seed. I am writing to tell you about my life – how marvelous it is – that you may choose it for yourself.

Although this letter uses the singular, I am really writing on behalf of my all my contemporaries, and we are addressing ourselves to all of your contemporaries. Amongst us are many who are possible futures of your people. Some of us are possible futures of children you have not yet given birth to. Still others are possible artificial persons that you might one day create. What unites us is that we are all dependent on you to make us real. Think of this note as if it were an invitation to a ball – a ball that will take place only if people show up.

We call the lives we lead here “Utopia”.

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