Re: The Poor Masses

Anders Sandberg (
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 16:42:22 +0200 (MET DST)

On Wed, 4 Sep 1996 wrote:

> Let's face it, the only solution is to make conception
> a cognitive and pricey activity, thereby guaranteeing at
> least a semblance of planning, foresight and economic
> wear-with-all.

Yes, I think this is the best solution. My personal view is that a being
should only reproduce if it can guarantee its progeny a certain minimum
amount of resources. If every being uses this strategy, collapses can be
avoided and there is a strong incentive for expanding the ecological niche.

Problem: how do we get there?

> Let contagious nanotech provide universal
> barriers to all accidental conception. The population
> would drop to very comfortable and elite levels within two
> generations.

Well, this scheme requires some work. I think there are plenty of people
who wouldn't like the idea of an outside force interfering in their
reproductive capacity (can you hear all the libertarians screaming
"Coercion!!!"?). And how do you remove the barrier to make conception
possible, even for people in remote areas with little education? (The
nanite writes instructions in ten languages on the skin? :-)

More practically, we cannot wait for nanotech, the problem is nasty enough
in some areas (not overpopulation per se, but a combination of poverty,
badly working infrastructure and the risk for famine). What can we do
today? I think spreading the meme is the best way to get out to many
people in lieu of any practical super-technology fix. This seems to fit in
well with the general extropian goal of spreading a kind of enlightenment.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y