Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Jan 15 2001 - 17:34:15 MST

On Mon, Jan 15, 2001 at 11:43:32PM +0100, wrote:
> > Let me add to this: the unbounded techno-optimism is out of step with
> Unbounded? Where?

In the extropian principles.
> I guess we all should find our fulfillment in petty agriculture, then.
> Sorry, count me out.
Count me out, too.

I'm not advocating going back to the stone age. I'm not even advocating a
slow-down in research, or trying to prevent people inventing and selling
whizzy applications of new technologies.

I'm just saying that new technologies have side-effects, sometimes disastrous
ones, and insisting that their deployment is *always* beneficial isn't going
to fool anyone (and is going to make us look like idiots).

> > .... 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).
> You will notice that there is no consensus on the issue.

On the contrary -- there is a consensus that we oughtn't to wipe ourselves
out. (I think you'd find very few people seriously disagree with that
statement, and most of them aren't in a position to act on their ideas.
Luckily :)

> > Pure unadulterated optimism, to put it bluntly, is unrealistic -- and
> > everybody knows it.
> So is pure pessimism. Gosh, we have to find a middle course. Who would
> have thought?

So, your question for $64K: why is Extropianism so overtly associated
with unmitigated optimism that it's seen as a joke in some circles?

-- Charlie

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