Re: One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Dec 23 2001 - 17:57:00 MST

Me too.

A very good post, although I disagree with some of the singularitian
aspects - but we can discuss my cluelessness and its origins later.

The important issue is that transhumanism is unlike most other
philosophies, that often claims there is a *single* goal, a *single*
desirable state or value to strive for - if you don't, you are wrong. In
transhumanist thought there are *many* things to be desired, many
possible ways of being. Some of them might not even be comparable to
each other. If we are to accept this pluralistic view, then we have to
accept that other beings are going to choose their own goals and we
cannot fault them for making choices different from ours. That there are
many good choices doesn't mean there aren't bad or immoral choices we
should work against - tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance of
evil. We might have a lot of views on (say) spirituality and what bodies
to be, but we all agree that stealing and killing is generally wrong.

What is important is to be united about what matters. That goes for both
transhumanists and mindkind.

I do not believe we will get species wide unity by thinking about AI.
But it might be refreshing. Would the emergence of AI, uploads or mere
transhumans make us more tolerant? I doubt it. In fact, without
tolerance I do not believe such forms of existence can come about, or if
they do, exist in a peaceful manner. Tolerance is not the result of
achieving transhumanist visions, but a *prerequisite* of them! As
Eliezer described, being exposed to the idea that aliens and robots are
people too at an early age helped create a strong tolerance, and I have
no doubt thinking about transhumanist themes can have the same effect.
But if the transhumanism is just about uploading and how to manage
singularities, then it is little more than another genre of science
fiction. What is really needed is the underlying ethical ideas - the sf
mentioned was largely based on and expressing the western liberal canon
ideas, and got its theme and direction from this. In the same way
transhumanism needs to work on developing the web of underlying ethical
ideas fully in order to be more than speculations about future toys, and
have a realistic chance of affecting our culture in order to make our
visions realizable.

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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