Re: WTA anti-Transhumanist Views? ( was: RE: Politics of Transhumanism, Singularitarianism and Nazis

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 15:22:15 MST

Do James Hughes's opinions represent those of the WTA? Well... speaking
as a member of the ten-member Executive Committee of the WTA, which is the
body analogous to the Board of Directors... I don't actually know just
yet! Of course, in formal terms, Hughes is speaking strictly in his
capacity as a private person; I expect that the question on everyone's
minds is the extent to which Hughes's views may be reflected in the WTA.

I do get the impression that Hughes is putting a lot of work into the
WTA's setup as a nonprofit and that he may even be the chief driving force
behind the incorporation, i.e., the one who's willing to do all the
remaining work after the volunteers are accounted for. But if Hughes
himself feels that his views on the negative aspects of Extropianism
should be kept separate from the ecumenicalism of the World Transhumanist
Association, then it's possible that the non-ecumenical aspect of Hughes's
views (his expressed negative outlook on Extropianism, the Singularity, et
cetera) will not appear in the WTA's literature, position statements, and
so on. This is, I think, the attitude Hughes himself would claim to take,
though of course it remains to be seen how it works out in practice.

Obviously I expect the WTA to remain ecumenical in practice as well as
theory, or I wouldn't have agreed to serve on the WTA's Executive
Committee. Certainly I wouldn't stick around if the WTA began issuing
position papers which described the Singularity as passivist
millennialism, or if the language of the WTA's papers began to reflect
this as an assumption. James Hughes is just one person. Right now,
insofar as I would associate the WTA with any one individual, I would
associate it with Nick Bostrom. And for that matter I wouldn't associate
the WTA too much with any one individual at all, because I think the WTA
is (in intent, and in practice) more diverse as an organization, more
reflective of the members rather than the founders, as compared to ExI or
SIAI or Foresight - the WTA will have a membership structure and an
elected Board, and so on.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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