Re: gender apartheid information warfare
Sat, 7 Nov 1998 08:14:32 EST

I agree with Kathryn that transhumanists should be vitally concerned about the misogynist policies of Islamic fundamentalists (and most religions, for that matter -- consider the appalling treatment of widows even today in Hindu India and the "obedient wife" prescriptions of traditional, mainstream Christianity). Transhumanism is about liberation; ultimately, liberation from the limits of the biological human form.

The Taliban make my blood boil. When I see stories about what they are doing, I want to pack up my arsenal and ship it to women in Afghanistan, along with a crate of feminist literature. But then I realize that the sort of memetic action on this side of the knowledge wall the Taliban are building that Kathryn mentioned is about all we can do for now.

The relatively near future, though, may hold the promise for something more: As Spike Jones wrote in a message dated 98-11-05 02:04:11 EST:

> kathryn, i read the site.  enrages one, does it not?  i have been toying

> with the notion of information warfare: the concept of crushing a
> oppressive regime, not with guns or bombs, but with a message of hope
> to those who are being suffocated by tradition and superstition.
> once the genie of freedom has been released from the bottle, there
> is no stuffing it back in. when the time is right, the women of the middle
> east will explode forth, breaking the chains of their backward society,
> with a power and grace unseen in our time. spike

This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. How do we help people like women in Afghanistan, or peasants in Indonesia, or all of the rest of the folks who are cut off from the information revolution? I've envisioned a technology that could help, something I call a "Brain Seed". Imagine a network terminal with an embedded satellite modem. The device is built simple and tough -- as much one piece of solid-state electronics as possible, and the hard-wired communications software is built to be maximally tamper-resistant. Also hard-wired into it is a curriculum of basic literacy, from the picturebook level on up. With the operation of Moore's Law and advancing material science, such devices could be made very cheaply in 15-20 years. Now, make billions of these things and make them available to any organization that wants to distribute them, at a minimal profit. Include them with aid packages. Smuggle them into any country that prohibits them. Air drop them -- hell, air drop them from robot aircraft . . . Better yet, eventually make them in a form that IS a robot aircraft so that they become self-delivering. Saturate the planet with them. Then see what happens. . .

 	Greg Burch     <>----<>
	   Attorney  :::  Director, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
	           "Good ideas are not adopted automatically.  They must
	              be driven into practice with courageous impatience." 
                                    -- Admiral Hyman Rickover