Cybernetic Totalism is just fine, as long as one includes the factor of
giving the Singularity enough time to get here. It may, after all, be quite a
long wait; a very , very long wait! Lanier comes across (to me) as if he
doesn't have a solution, therefore, none must exist. If this is true then
Lanier's argument as well as Bill Joy the Killjoy's arguments are specious
for that reason alone. There are many minds we have not heard from, in the
world, and many minds, in the future to come. This is no reason to be
sanguine and not do what we can today, but we are not, as yet transhuman, and
can only do a little. The future waits for the problem-solvers.
In a message dated 10/11/00 11:58:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< I found some of the points rather tonic, but the overall impression
wasn't that high.
What he is aiming at is disproving or undermining the *unconsidered*
ideology of technological eschatology. To some extent I agree with him
- there is an awful amount of badly thought out fluff on this (I am
myself responsible for some of it :-), and if we seriously want this
to be a part of our culture or even a powerful part of our culture,
then we better make sure our thinking is high-quality, or we have a
high risk of ending up in a lot of the old memetic traps. Which can be
rather bad if combined with powerful technology and ideas about some
technocalyptic manifest destiny.
The problem is that his attack misses the mark in many places. He
points out some flawed arguments or assumptions often glossed over
that really needs to be thought about carefully, but dismisses many
aspects with handwaving (like AI) or the flawed software argument
(that argument could be applied to engineering too - we are using
imperfect tools and making mistakes, which we correct with failsafes,
redundancy and quality assurance measures, so in the end all our
designs will be ISO 9000 certified inoperable piles of redundancy,
I think this is not a good piece in itself, but it is the kind of
piece that will be cited in some circles rather widely. A good
rebuttal, or even better another half of a manifesto, would be
useful. Even better, we should see how we can polish up transhumanist
thinking in order not to fall into the traps he describes.
Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
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