Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Jan 15 2001 - 14:14:51 MST

On Mon, Jan 15, 2001 at 02:18:12PM +0100, Anders Sandberg wrote:
> writes:
> > Duh. I wonder who stuck a "Kick me" sticker to our collective backs.
> We did it.
Bingo. Hole in one.

> As long as we spend more time debating weird concepts internally (and
> hence locking others out by sheer incomprehensibility) than getting
> our ideas into the mainstream of thinking, we will look like a cult to
> many.

Let me add to this: the unbounded techno-optimism is out of step with
popular culture, and sometimes veers dangerously close to a Panglossian
refusal to face the possibility that there is a downside to all this
stuff. I'm not advocating luddism here: it's just that any new technology
tends to come with misapplications as well as advantages, and sometimes
the vehement insistence that _of course_ the benefits outweigh the costs
appears facile and stupid. Especially when talking about technologies
(example: molecular nanotechnology) where the benefits are major, but
the worst possible case down-side is catastrophic (i.e. total extinction).

Pure unadulterated optimism, to put it bluntly, is unrealistic -- and
everybody knows it.

-- Charlie

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied
corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial
of strength, and bid defiance to the laws our country."
                                                      -- Thomas Jefferson, 1816

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