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George Dvorsky

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Name  George Dvorsky

Role  Activist
George Dvorsky farm9staticflickrcom82228437725395e1c9ca8838jpg

Why the turing test is bullshit george dvorsky

George P. Dvorsky (born May 11, 1970) is a Canadian bioethicist, transhumanist, and futurist. He is a contributing editor at io9 and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He was Chair of the Board for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) and is the founder and chair of the IEET's Rights of Non-Human Persons Program, a group that is working to secure human-equivalent rights and protections for highly sapient animals.


Dvorsky is a secular Buddhist, progressive environmentalist, ancestral health advocate, and animal rights activist. Primarily concerned with the ethical and sociological impacts of emerging technologies, specifically, "human enhancement" technologies; he seeks to promote open discussion for the purposes of education and foresight. He writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including technoscience, ethics, existential risks, artificial intelligence, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and futurology, from a democratic transhumanist perspective.

George dvorsky journalism human enhancement the singularity

Uplift ethics

Dvorsky presented an argument for non-human animal biological uplift at the IEET Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference at Stanford University in May 2006; and wrote the first published article in defence of the Ashley Treatment in November 2006, and subsequently the only bioethicist cited by Ashley X's parents in their defense.

Existential risk

Dvorsky also presented an argument warning of the decline of democratic values and institutions in the face of existential and catastrophic risks at the Global Catastrophic Risks: Building a Resilient Civilization conference in November 2008.

Dysonian SETI

Dvorsky, along with Milan M. Ćirković and Robert Bradbury, published a critique of SETI in the May 2012 Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS) arguing that SETI techniques and practices have become outdated. In its place, Dvorsky, Ćirković, and Bradbury advocated for what they called Dysonian SETI, namely the search for those signatures and artefacts indicative of highly advanced extraterrestrial life.

Space development

Dvorsky has written extensively in favor of space exploration and has both promoted and criticized various Megascale engineering concepts.

Dyson sphere

Dvorsky gained some notoriety in 2012 after writing about Dyson spheres, hypothetical structures intended to collect the entire energetic output of a star with solar power collectors. While Dvorsky presented it as a solution to humanity's resource needs including power and living space, Forbes blogger Alex Knapp and astronomer Phil Plait, among others, have criticized Dvorsky's article.

Dismantling Mercury, just to start, will take 2 x 1030 joules, or an amount of energy 100 billion times the US annual energy consumption ... [Dvorsky] kinda glosses over that point. And how long until his solar collectors gather that much energy back, and we’re in the black?

At one AU – which is the distance of the orbit of the Earth, the Sun emits 1.4 x 103 J/sec per square meter. That’s 1.4 x 109 J/sec per square kilometer. At one-third efficiency, that’s 4.67 x 108 J/sec for the entire Dyson sphere. That sounds like a lot, right? But here’s the thing – if you work it out, it will take 4.28 x 1028 seconds [1.35 sextillion years] for the solar collectors to obtain the energy needed to dismantle Mercury. That’s about 120 trillion years.

Other publications including Popular Science, Vice, and skeptical blog Weird Things followed up on this exchange. None of them note the above numerical inaccuracies, although Weird Things does point out Plait's misunderstanding regarding bootstrapping, which Knapp agreed with in an update to his post. James Nicoll noted in his blog that Knapp seriously underestimated the area of a sphere. An anonymous commenter claiming to be Knapp indicated in response that a unit conversion error (kilograms instead of grams while trying to backtrack from Dvorsky's figures) had been made.


George Dvorsky Wikipedia