Martine Rothblatt ’81 Delivers Regents Lecture on Cyberconsciousness and Questions of Artificial Intelligence

October 6, 2014 -- Martine Rothblatt ’81, chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation, delivered a public Regents Lecture at UCLA School of Law on Monday, October 6, 2014 on her recently released book, Virtually Human: The Promise—and the Peril—of Digital Immortality. Virtually Human explores what the future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology— becomes part of our daily lives, and examines the ethical issues relating to cyberconsciousness and questions of artificial intelligence.

Rothblatt founded United Therapeutics Corporation, a major U.S. public biotech company that focuses on the development and commercialization of unique products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions, in 1996. Prior to starting United Therapeutics, she founded and served as chairman and CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio (now Sirius XM).  

Upon graduation with a joint J.D./M.B.A. degree from UCLA, she practiced law in Washington, D.C. Her legal practice focused initially on satellite communications law. Later, her practice focused on developing the legal cases for equal marital rights, summarized in her LGBT best-selling book, The Apartheid of Sex, (Crown, 1995), and for freedom from genetic and reproductive discrimination. The latter work led to her leading the International Bar Association’s effort to present a Human Genome Treaty to the United Nations and to the publication of her book Unzipped Genes (Temple University Press, 1999).  Rothblatt’s current research is focused on the possibility of technological immortality and in the extension of her work in human rights law to cyberconsciousness, which is summarized in Virtually Human (St. Martin’s Press, Sept. 2014).  

The Regents Lecturer Program, established by the Regents of the University of California, brings distinguished leaders from non-academic fields to the university to enrich the instructional program and increase students’ exposure to a diverse range of successful professionals.