Re: Nature defines transhumanist

Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 00:07:26 MDT

Robert writes, responding to the Nature article:
> > > These ideas
> > > were quickly seized on by transhumanists - people who imagine what the
> > > world will look like after technology has rendered us extinct.
> Actually, only the grey goo problem would potentially render us
> extinct (and Robert F's recent paper casts some questions on those
> scenarios) [see below]. I think most "transhumanists" would value the
> diversity of a world (solar system?) that includes humans and trans-humans.

There is a reasonably common belief in these circles that the ultimate
future will not include anything that looks remotely human. I don't think
it is fair to say that this is characteristic of all transhumanists though.

> The FI fall conference is moving to the East Coast this year, presumably
> to make it easier to pull in the East coast conservatives. Academic
> conferences in general tend to move around to educate more people.
> As it moves, the FI influence may become less, but I don't see any
> other organization as likely to come along and "bridge" the various
> disciplines that MNT requires.
> Some of the commercial education organizations have started nanotech
> conferences, but they are more expensive than the FI conference and
> are still much smaller. NIH is having an NT conference this summer
> but it is more buzzword labeling than hardcore NT.

We will have to see how it plays out. I still suspect that the mainstream
academics will find a way to put the disreputable origin of their field
behind them.

> It is interesting to note that among the "technical people",
> computer programmers and/or systems engineers seem to be those
> who can "see" the Drexlerian vision. Scientists who are simply
> devoted to taking things apart (e.g. most health researchers) or
> engineers who have a micro-focus (e.g. one rivet in an airplane)
> can't see the big picture.

Detractors turn this around and say that the more you know about the
actual behavior of matter at the relevant scales, the less credibility
you give to Drexlerian nanotech.


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