Anders Sanders writes:
"generally people are more interested in things that give *them* or
their close ones a benefit. You might regard all entities as close ones, but others may have other priorities. This is still completely rational in the sense of using efficient means to reach one's goals."
Fair enough. Understandable. It all depends upon how fast the process goes. In terms of immediate priorities, the issue is primarily one of domestic animals first. In line with animal liberationists, I am proposing a law to make it illegal for human beings to kill animals. Nanotech can enable very lowcost animal hospitals, for example. Any wider Ecoburst is likely to occur not in nanoyear but the second (or hour or weeks) of the Escalation/Singularity/Spike (or, for the sake of argument, over that year - I don't think true bootstrapping is going to take longer, particularly if SETI activates).
Daniel Ust writes:
"Some of the participants regarded some of the proposals as immoral,
which demonstrates that ethical questions are asked here. (Some might complain that they are asked too often.:) I think we should discuss more concrete strategies and applications of more near term technologies here.)"
I believe extensive ethical discussion now would be very wise. Any attempt to restrict practical initial telomere therapy to an elite might annoy everyday people. Discussion cannot be stopped. A little boosting will occur first and stimulate the issue. Although transhumanists may feel isolated, you will already find that many more isolated individuals worldwide have had similar ideas, since most of what you say is obviously correct as possibility.
"I see nothing wrong (and assume Andres agrees???) with helping others
out. My own strategy is to spread transhumanist/Extropian ideas as far and wide as is practical so that more people will become our allies in the battle to uplift ourselves."
The battle will be against conservatives who attempt to restrict you or to restrict your options. You guys have not graphed out the wealth distribution across the nations and world properly. The top 350 billionaires (1978) had equal wealth to the bottom 2,500,000,000 people, about half of the world's then population. Graph America's wealth distribution today. It looks like a Spike! Which makes sense, since it is a graph of consciousness. Imagine the behaviour of the Spike after nanoyear. It levels out, then as large scale engineering kicks in, it accelerates again.
Communism engulfed half the world because of the selfish behaviour of elites. It would be sensible to bear political and ethical issues in mind, from your own point of view. For example, you could make it clear you are not into slavery of any sort. AI systems at low levels can act out systems management like autonomous and sympathetic nervous systems rather than cortex activities. For example, you could make it clear that you believe the internal neurological activities of sentient beings are sacrosanct. For example, you could make it clear that people have the right of association at the level of group mind (i.e. neurological connections via Nets etc.).
Perhaps what you need is a Transhumanist Bill of Rights that is simple and clear to moderately informed people. Be the Thomas Jefferson, the Thomas Paine, of cyberspace! Remember the democracies of Greece, Italy and India in past centuries, amongst others. The British and French revolutions. America built on these other efforts, which were sustained for centuries in the face of intense pressures from oligarchies and the then necessities of laboured food production.
Bryan Moss writes:
"We already "boost" other species. Cows, for instance, make great food.
Trees make good furniture. You may think neurologically modifying a dog is more "moral" than eating one, but I see no difference. In both cases we're changing the animal for our purposes."
Well, we're animals, so perhaps you believe in slavery. Fair enough. I vote for any victim of any act of force to be offered assistance in terms of protection from aggressors. Trees currently have no neurological systems, so I define them as unthinking in our terms. Animals like ourselves do, so I define them as thinking. Any neurological limitations they may currently have are temporary in that both modification and communications difficulties can be overcome by any hypersentient or superintelligent self-directed lifeforms, which can consciously think on trillions upon trillions of levels simultaneously, enough to have a congruent conversation with every sentient creature on the planet.
Doug Bailey writes:
"The problem with taking a reductionist's stance is it becomes difficult
to determine when to stop reducing. Matter is just a temporary state of energy, do why dwell upon that state? Why dwell upon energy since it is an artifact of M-branes, D-branes, or P-Branes (depending on your preferred flavor)? Etc."
A neurological system is a neurological system, whether its matrix is energy or matter of whatever type. Moral and ethical rules within appropriate frameworks still apply. Under conditions of self-direction, frameworks are chosen. Insertion of neurological matrixes and sensory extensions into 'inert' matter or energy is indeed possible. There are no theoretical boundaries to such activity in logic, except respect for the choice of others. This is why Jupiter brains can be a subject of romantic speculation. (Indeed, like many others, I mentioned the possibility in my book of fiction (1994): "The boundary of knowledge that was present between the inhabitants of this universe and that extraneous entity was there for an explicit purpose; without that membrane they would merge with it, before their time, contaminating that field and annihilating themselves. It had sprung from other constellations; from living planets, gas giants; from white dwarf ring-belets; from the quantum satellites of Singularity; and from many divergent nodes." ["The Prisoner Gains a Blurred Skin"]
"Transhumanism is a philosophy, an outlook on the malleability of the
current "human condition" and the idea that its a good thing to explore the possibilities of existence, irregardless of how wild the pathways are that such thinking leads us. The problem with Sentism is formulating a system of precepts that aren't (1) truisms - so broad-based as to be irrelevant, or (2) expanding the scope of our discussion to the point that we are paralyzed by the sheer volume of issues that present themselves.
I think Transhumanism balances the potentialities of the future with our current situation quite well. Within its rubrick we are able to explore a variety of issues that have yet to be thoroughly explored. Perhaps, once we've explored (and experienced) the events and issues we discuss on this list and other fora, we can turn our attentions to the next era, whatever it may be."
Hold on. If it is balanced then it is not venturing "irregardless of how wild the pathways are that such thinking leads us." Or is this the conservative transhumanist thread for those who only believe in immortal superintelligent boxes and eternal virtual realities with romantic attachments to Dyson spheres and current business arrangements? For example, why not work out protocols of 'first contact' with aliens and extropes (beings from other universes)? I imagine what we would ask for is extra physical space through spacetime manipulation, don't you think? I would. This would be my first request. Second request would be teleportals to other places in this universe and gates to other universes. [Assuming such is possible.] Childish to ask? Perhaps. Doubtless these issues have been discussed before. Damien Broderick believes all previous post-Escalation/Spike/Singularity 'civilizations' have been destroyed by errant superpowerful 12 year olds, an old but valid argument. However, given the projected numbers of worlds with such events [my estimate was much larger than his for numbers, begins prior to his timeframe and has the universe flooding with information in c.5 million years, but then I only spent three hours going through it and my maths is hopeless] it is statistically unlikely that every world is destroyed and every nanoprobe breaks down and - ridiculous as this may be - in the 'worst case scenario' - that every Bill Gates doesn't end up becoming catfood for the Omen part III instead of the Lawnmower Man. [Why can't you have a positive transhumanist Lawnmower Man? Hollywood accountants and lawyers don't approve.] If the Quarantine argument is correct then drawing up a list of requests makes sense. After all, we can't 'fight' them. Perhaps they are waiting for us to join them? Sentists naturally believe in full civil rights for aliens and extropes (extropes presumably having highest-level translator mechanisms to enable insertion into our spacetime matrix).
Thursday 27th August
29 after Armstrong
PS if any of you are in Melbourne tonight at the last regular Psycorroboree (Coverlid Place, opposite Sadie's, $4/$5 entry) I have been invited to give another talk tonight on spiritual matters and the Techno-Rapture, at midnight in the chill-out area. Usually there's 60 or 70 people out of 200 or 300. Also I am in the process of organising a Techno benefit in favour of the non-patenting of human and other DNA (patenting has not yet been adopted in Europe - for 2 years - and not yet in Australia for human DNA). This does not mean companies cannot charge for DNA therapies or splicing. It just means that in nanoyear nanomanufacturing of therapies and splicing cannot be restrained by oligarchies. Drexlerdemocrats rule OK! A democracy of aristocracy. Contradictory? On the contrary!