Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

From: Emlyn (
Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 18:50:55 MST

Dale Johnstone wrote:
> From: "Jim Fehlinger" <>
> > Also, effects that some folks on this list can contemplate with
> > equanimity
> > are events that would horrify many people outside of extreme
> > sci-fi/technophilic
> > circles. For example, Eliezer Yudkowsky has said on many occasions
> > that,
> > as long as the human race survives long enough to give birth to some
> > sort
> > of superintelligence, the ultimate fate of humanity is of no consequence
> > (to him or, presumably, in the ultimate scheme of things). I suspect
> > that this
> > attitude is part of what gives folks like Bill Joy the willies.
> Please be more careful when quoting people. I'm sure the context of the
> 'humanity' indicated 'human-ness'. I really don't think Eliezer means he
> doesn't care about the people living now, far from it.
> Personally, I'd rather have a better substrate, and one which I can
> customize too. This ridiculous bag of mostly-water I pilot is a real drag.
> won't even mention the twisted cognitive machinery I was given. This
> model is due for a complete redesign. Humanity ha! you can keep it!
> On the point of it scaring the willies out of people, I think it's already
> lost cause to try & get everyone up to speed. The fact is; the world is
> changing faster than society. This will only become more pronounced as the
> curve steepens. At some point there will be a destabilization of the old
> ways. <sigh> That's gonna takes some fancy footwork or we're all screwed.
> have zero faith in 'humanity' to figure it out alone without bloodshed.
> read the news.
> Dale Johnstone.

I'm a bit more optimistic.

I'm noticing a higher density than normal of >H themes in local media,
particularly around issues of aging/conquering aging. It shouldn't be a
surprise I guess, because it's an issue close to all of us, and now it looks
like some newsworthy things are happening in that area.

The most interesting turn up for the books is the increasing amount of
people I know who are becoming pro-life extension. A couple of years ago,
most people I talked to would dismiss it as irresponsible (you know the
population arguments), foolish, and being overly-impressed by science
fiction; basicly, enormously unlikely and bespeaking suspicious morality.

Now I'm noticing a slow change in attitude, particularly from the older
people that I know. Predictably, these people are starting to notice aging
approaching; increasing occurences of yucky medical conditions that don't
happen in their earlier years, friends copping hideous problems like strokes
& tumors. Suddenly the idea of "aging gracefully" isn't so appealing; aging
is looking a really bum deal.

And, they are starting to notice the little messages here and there, about
biotech, and medical advance; that aging might not be the only option, after

Karl Marx, I believe, proposed that morality is driven by physical
circumstances, not the other way around. I think he's got something there. I
think people would denounce these ideas as immoral more readily when there
was not a lot of probability that they would come to anything. Now that
there is hope on the horizon, morality becomes surprisingly fluid.

We've got an aging population, and in the west that population is in control
of a great deal of resources. Life extension is not going to stay on the
fringe for much longer. And from and beyond that, the rest of the >H/extro
agenda are comparatively small logical steps.


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