Re: Posthumans in Nature

Eric Watt Forste (
Fri, 12 Nov 1999 16:36:06 -0800

Hal Finney writes:
> Even in this forum we often succumb to a form of chauvinism, in
> which any future which isn't dominated by humans is seen as a
> failure. Particularly with regard to predicted human vs machine
> wars, we automatically side with the humans, without asking which
> group is more deserving morally. We need to start thinking in
> broader terms and not identifying so closely with our genetics and
> metabolism.

I honestly do not know whether or not "I" (the dynamic pattern encoded in my synapses, or however you care to take it) can be neatly extricated from my genetics and metabolism. It may be so, but the question is still wide open. I nonetheless accept the possibility of mind uploading because I know that in principle all details of genetic expression and metabolism can be simulated with a sufficiently powerful computer system. But that kind of uploading would not leave my genetics and metabolism behind, it would simply change the "platform" on which they are implemented. I hope that after such a transformation, function-preserving repairs and redesign will be easier than in the flesh, but I do not expect them to be easy, by any means.

In the meantime, I may have to compete for resources with superintelligent machines that can outperform me in every department. I'm not too worried about this because I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage. Nor do I have any intention of offing myself just because my platform is suddenly obsolete and cannot be redesigned and retrofitted rapidly enough to keep up with events. I intend to maintain a niche in whatever economy/ecosystem develops whether or not I can make a transcendent leap into posthumanity or must remain as profoundly human as I am now (with the exception of a few little niceties e. g. limited lifespan, speed of thought) for many centuries to come.