Peter Singer on Suffering in Humans, Animals, and AI

Lex Fridman interviews Peter Singer in this enlightening episode of his podcast.

Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton, best known for his 1975 book Animal Liberation, that makes an ethical case against eating meat. He has written brilliantly from an ethical perspective on extreme poverty, euthanasia, human genetic selection, sports doping, the sale of kidneys, and happiness including in his books Ethics in the Real World and The Life You Can Save. He was a key popularizer of the effective altruism movement and is generally considered one of the most influential philosophers in the world. This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast.

Content index:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 5:25 – World War II
  • 9:53 – Suffering
  • 16:06 – Is everyone capable of evil?
  • 21:52 – Can robots suffer?
  • 37:22 – Animal liberation
  • 40:31 – Question for AI about suffering
  • 43:32 – Neuralink
  • 45:11 – Control problem of AI
  • 51:08 – Utilitarianism
  • 59:43 – Helping people in poverty
  • 1:05:15 – Mortality


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