Re: A Message to the Membership

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Thu Jan 06 2000 - 06:53:20 MST

On Wed, 5 Jan 2000, Robert Owen wrote:

> Robert Bradbury wrote:
> > Following my I discussion of the fact that we already have examples of
> > anti-transhumanist constraints.

> I personally endorse without qualification your position that
> it is a travesty of democratic principles to deny citizens freedom of
> choice with respect to the voluntary termination (or suspension) of
> biological life.

Ok, sorry if I lost the fine points of your phraseology.

> [snipping]
> ... Anthrax-B use against U.S. (risk=1.0) ... vs. constitutional
> ammendment prohibiting access to extropian enabling technologies
> (risk=0.125-0.20)....
> and I chose this case because it illustrates what almost
> certainly is the Achilles' heel of Extropianism -- namely the dependence
> on technology access to and utilization of which it cannot control.

This is questionable. Since most of the technologies are moving to
smaller and smaller scales, the Achilles' heel is mainly one of timing.
Bova dealt with the issues of "state control" over access to prolongevity
research and technology in his recent book on Immortality. I'd cite
most of his arguments that the genie is out of the box and even extreme
attempts at putting it back in the box will do nothing more than slow
it down. It would take a massive nuclear war or a meteor impact to radically
impact the development rate. Even some of the more radical things I think
about doing, only bring forward the technology development curve 2-3 years.

One of the good things about Extropian-use technologies, is that they
are the same technologies required to develop good defenses against
things like Anthrax-B, so we get to leverage off of common sense
defese stratagies and technologies.

> What this suggests to me is not a need for political action but the
> consideration of the possibility of private ownership of the requisite
> technology by an incorporation of Transhumanist interests. If you
> reply that this leaves the possibility of expropriation by the State
> open, I must agree. But at what point do we desist from the pro-
> jection of possible impediments and get on with it?

This is being discussed. It is also being examined from the framework of
how to deal with possible efforts by states to regulate the technologies.

Given the relative efforts involved in (a) political activism vs.
(b) controlling and developing technologies, I'll take (b) every
time. However, there are transhumanists/extropians whose skill base
lies more in the arena of (a). Given that fact, I do not see it
as counterproductive for those who are skilled with word duels and
debates of the legal/judicial kind to push on that front, while
those of us with a more technical mindset use our skills equally

We must keep in mind that we are dealing with people who have been
programmed with memes, the acceptence of which they generally did not
have conscious awareness of. So their "agenda" is potentially harmful
for both us *and* them. We would be highly "un"-extropic if we were
to take our toys and go play elsewhere if we could reasonably devote
some energy to "free the minds" of those individuals.


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