This talk considers the far reaches of the multi-billion-dollar immortality industry and the money and power behind the scenes that fuels this fantasy science even as the planet teeters on the brink of collapse. After examining some contemporary fictions that challenge big tech and its paradoxical escalation of the end of all life even as it hankers after life without death in its relentless focus on a future that is always “future,” this talk then turns to archaeology and the future’s archaic longings. One of the oldest and longest surviving stories in the world, The Epic of Gilgamesh, is about a tyrannical king who wants immortality. In failing in his quest, however, Gilgamesh learns what it means to live as an ethical human being. Drawing on the lesson in this ancient epic, the talk ends with a reflection on the connection between mortality, responsibility, and freedom.

The event will be streamed live on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel.

For more information go to: Teresa Heffernan, AI, the Immortality Industry, and the Ethics of Death (Ethics@Noon)