>H How do we make transhumanism practical?

From: Alex Future Bokov (alexboko@umich.edu)
Date: Fri Jul 07 2000 - 20:11:13 MDT

Transhuman Mailing List


On Fri, 7 Jul 2000, John M Grigg wrote:

> So, if I may ask all the list members...
> 1. What are the right tools?

Online fora, particularly peer-moderated online fora where administrative
privileges are aggressively distributed. Roundup will someday evolve into
such a forum. In the meantime, we have some transitionary tools we can and
should use and learn from. One thing is clear-- static web pages won't
cut it anymore. There is too much information coming in too quickly for
them to catch up, especially if they only have one part-time maintainer,
as is usually the case. NanoDot, TransDot, PlanetX, and someday ExtroDot
are a start. However, we need more sites, and more diversity to evolve
a truly optimal communication and information management scheme for our

***** Zope, Slash, Crit, Everything2, Wikki, Roundup. If you have access
***** to a PC, install one or more of these and see what interesting
***** stuff you can do. Even if your site doesn't catch on, you'll have
***** at least learned something that will get you comfortably employed.

I can't emphasize this enough. The survival skill for people and
organizations will be optimally handling information overload in the
very near future. The ones best prepared, with the most convenient,
low-friction tools will be the ones who set society's agenda for the
next decade.

A central database of hands-on activities that can use more hands, be they
software projects, charities (see HELPING PEOPLE below), collaborative
writing, Extropian events, data collection, and in some cases even actual
research and professional development. Sort of a META counterpart of

 * * I am currently waiting for the block of time to free up so that
 * * I can dig through the database structures and Perl code to implement
 * * a crude, preliminary version of such a database on TransDot. If
 * * you are familiar with Slash internals, contact me! For all we know,
      you might be a more suitable coordinator for such a project than I
 * * am.

On the subject of collaborative writing, we need an Extropian organizing
manual. Not the ideas, which are adequately explained in a huge number of
books and web pages, but the answer to a simple question: "What can I, as
a non-millionaire and a non-PhD do to help you guys?"

 * * If you have few lines, a few pages, a few chapters, an organizing
 * * manual you ripped off from some other organization... ANYTHING
 * * that you think can be handy as seed content, email it to me and
      I will host it through the Crit scripts I have installed on
 * * MemeTree.com.

Politics! Yes, I know we don't like governments and want them to go away.
Until they do, they're a power that we can either attempt to harness or let
the sanctimonious weenies with loathesome superstitious luddite agendas
harness it uncontested. Concrete steps:

1. Someone needs to start an online database of politicians' voting
   records on technology, funding for basic research, privacy,
   and civil liberties. Everyone ranging from labor unions to
   religious groups to one-issue special interest groups publishes
   a voting guide that assigns ratings to each candidate. I propose
   that Extropy Institute publish its own voting guide. Okay, big
   project, lets start smaller. Let's start with California, and if
   Exers in other states/countries want to be published in the guide,
   they can send in their own data.

2. Once such a guide is published, contribute money to the campaigns
   of enlightened candidates. Write good stuff about them. Dig up dirt
   on their opponents. Vote for them.

The media. We're getting better at this all by ourselves, and I'm not
particularly experienced in handling them anyway. Someone else should address
what to do in this area, because it is important.

Local groups. Goal-- bring about a cultural milieau where anybody who feels
like bouncing around some ideas about technology and society in person, over
some drinks, without having to explain every third word... can find a like
minded individual for such an activity within at most a few hours travel.

This won't happen everywhere at once, but in the places with the highest
density of Extropians, we should start making the transition from a virtual
community to a real one. It's long been the case in California, Texas and
Sweden. Recently, I understand that a new group sprang up in the US Northwest
and had a conference. We need to catalyze more small, local groups. The
Extropy institute already has the pieces necessary to start building this.
Think: geographical NodeNet.

HELPING PEOPLE. Three obvious classes of charities around which to
focus our efforts are first, transhuman/extropian non-profits, second
research charities, and third, technology/knowledge transfer efforts to
the disenfranchised of both the developed and the developing world.

- --

NSA Randy Weaver Kahl
Why are the above words in my signature? Check out:

Version: PGP 6.5.1


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