Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 11:36:48 MST

Jim Fehlinger, <>, writes:

>Also, effects that some folks on this list can contemplate with
equanimity are events that would horrify many people outside
of extreme sci-fi/technophilic circles. For example, Eliezer
Yudkowsky has said on many occasions that, as long as the human
race survives long enough to give birth to some sort of superintelligence,
the ultimate fate of humanity is of no consequence (to him or,
presumably, in the ultimate scheme of things). I suspect that
this attitude is part of what gives folks like Bill Joy the willies.<

I might agree with the statement has the word “human” rather
than humanity. When humanity is flung around carelessly, it’s
worth a double take. I rather appreciate the humanity in humans
and I have a strong incentive to see that it become a highly
intelligent transhumanity and later posthumanity. Discarding
“humanity” as an element of humans that as unimportant or trivial
is in itself questionable.

While my views are obviously strongly in favor of human/machine
interface and the advancing of our species beyond our biological
past, I shun at the thought that consciousness could be of little

The branches of learning (as philosophy, arts, or languages)
that investigate human constructs and concerns along with processes,
such as in physics or chemistry, and social relations, such as
in anthropology or economics, have provided extropians with skills
and knowledge to discern our possible future.

The qualities that cause us to be transhuman, as the qualities
that will cause our descendents to be posthumans or to be mind
children will be due in large part to the manner in which these
descendents cogitate data and function. To assume they will
be blocks of metal without ideas, thoughts, concerns, likes and
dislikes is so far from what our goals that it would cause me
to shutter.

Hal says:

>If most people have never looked at things this way, I believe
it is because they have never been presented with the argument.
 Not everyone is persuaded, of course.

Yes, I agree.

>But most people who laugh at or scorn Extropians for their technophilia
have never considered the issues deeply. Over time I believe
we will see more people coming to share our views, and in fact
this is already manifest in the increasing public prominence
of Extropianism.<

I don't think most people scorn or laugh at us. Most people
don't know who we are, and those who do are curious and perhaps
reluctant about us or respect us. While extropians may be questioned
for our values and thought of as insensitive to humanity, I honestly
think that we are well aware of many of the problems that humanity
faces. It is vastly important that we develop ways to extend
human life, advance technology, improve our conditions and advance
our species. As you, I believe that we will have increasing social
appeal and cultural significance.

Natasha Vita-More

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