Tech Billionaires propose replacing natural birth with synthetic wombs to remove the high “burden” of pregnancy and allow women to work more for equal pay

In December 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned that dwindling global fertility rates could result in the end of civilization as we know it. Musk argued that “civilization is going to crumble” unless people have more children. “There are not enough people,” Musk told a Wall Street Journal event.

Then in January, Musk doubled down saying that we should be concerned about “population collapse,” adding that if there are not enough people for Earth, there certainly will not be enough for Mars. Musk made the comment in response to a report from the United Nations (UN) that said the world population was projected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030.

The UN had projected that the world population to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and could reach its peak around the end of the current century at nearly 11 billion by 2100. In a series of tweets on January 18, Musk said:

“UN projections are utter nonsense. Just multiply last year’s births by life expectancy. Given downward trend in birth rate, that is best case unless reversed.”

Artificial Wombs

Immediately after he tweeted, a couple of tech experts including some tech billionaires joined the conversation to present potential solutions to address the population collapse crisis. One of them is Sahil Lavingia, the founder and CEO of Gumroad with investments in 23 companies.

Sahil suggested that we should be investing in technology that makes having kids much faster, easier, cheaper, and more accessible. Sahil also suggested Synthetic wombs.

“We should be investing in technology that makes having kids much faster/easier/cheaper/more accessible. Synthetic wombs, etc.,” Sahil tweeted.

Another Twitter user thinks Sahil’s idea is awful. “This is an awful idea. Synthetic wombs, for what? Why take on the risk?”Gurdeep Sol tweeted in response to Sahil’s idea.

However, it didn’t take long before Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin weighed in to share his views. The 27-year-old pitched a radical solution to address the gender pay gap and remove the high burden of pregnancy. In a tweet, Vitalik said:

“Disparities in economic success between men and women are far larger once marriage+children enter the picture. Synthetic wombs would remove the high burden of pregnancy, significantly reducing the inequality.”

The ideas received a lot of support from tech bros but incurred the wrath of feminists. They argued that biological gestation isn’t the main barrier to the gender equality problem we face. Instead, they pointed to the lack of free childcare, universal healthcare, universal basic income (UBI). They also said that widespread sexism, limited governmental support, and the high costs of childrearing are causing the gender gap.

However, one female Twitter user is onboard with the idea of synthetic wombs. She said “it’s so deeply regressive to still be bearing the children exact same way we have for kajillion years. Literally, every other technology in the world has advanced even despite limitations, so should this!” she tweeted.

Feminists are not alone in condemning Vitalk’s idea. Some men think an artificial womb is a very bad idea. A Twitter used that goes by the name Ray Youssef said:

“Synthetic wombs? This is bad comedy. The reason our women and children suffer is because we are living in an increasingly synthetic world. 180 your thinking.” In another tweet, Youssef said:

“It is so sad that humans like Vitalik who can barely get a payment technology to scale dare to scale the greatest proof of work mechanism humanity has, the love and sacrifice of a mother’s pregnancy. I have defended Vitalik but after this delusional fantasy, I cannot.”

So, what’s your take on synthetic womb? Would you consider growing your baby inside an artificial womb? Below is a video of the technology behind the artificial womb. The video also addresses the pros and cons of the technology.

Meanwhile, Musk is not letting go of the UN. As of the time of writing, Musk tweeted, “Seems odd that the UN still hasn’t released 2020 world death rates.”


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