Extropians in the field

From: Adrian Tymes (wingcat@pacbell.net)
Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 15:40:38 MDT

ManuelOmar@aol.com wrote:
> What makes you think I haven't done this yet? Unlike the majority of you
> here, I am not a scientific researcher. In point of fact, I am still in
> college.

Err, just how many of us *are* scientific researchers? I can count
myself, as an amateur anyway (with very limited, but not completely
zero, effect on the world thus far). But seeing the future does not
require an ability to do anything about it; indeed, a common fallacy of
people in positions of power seems to be an inability to look far down
the road (since they've invested too much effort in getting into power
to develop their future sight).

> I subscribed to this list because I care about the future and I knew that
> there *would* be people on it that have access and can get word to alot of
> things that I can't. But I have to point out the negatives involved in
> technology, because every Extropian site I've been to, to me, sees the future
> with rather rose-tinted glasses.

Out of necessity, and pragmatism. There are many who will point out
tons of problems with any technology; we (and our few allies) are often
the only ones willing to speak in favor of, or even seriously consider,
those improvements we want. If everybody but us is convinced that
genetic engineering is a horrible idea, who can prove (not convince,
but *prove*) them wrong by doing it and showing that all the predicted
terrors utterly fail to appear? Likewise, if most people are convinced
that technology X is a generic bad scary nasty evil bogeyman, who but
us can at least spark a rational debate on the dangers of technology X,
with an eye towards solving the problems so everyone can reap the
benefits? (That came across in this discussion: you seemed to be
saying that neural enhancement, like in Shadowrun, is a bogeyman since
it has certain dangers, and the reply was an attempt to discuss how to
solve those problems. We can discuss internally, but sparking a
discussion in the world at large needs resources we do not have to
spare - but which you might.)

Fear is easier to spread than hope. It is for that reason that we,
the hopeful, are always outnumbered.

> That and since some of you are actually robotics and neurbiology
> researchers rather than just avid sci-fi fans like me, I figure that you
> guys will be able to deal with the specifics of things, rather than just
> general concepts, which is about all I can do.

I don't suppose there's anybody working on, say, a fusion reactor or
somesuch who could help me with a few questions I have on generating
and handling plasma? Everyone I've tried to ask clams up when I answer
their queries as to why I'm asking, so I've been forced to self-educate
to satisfy my curoisity. I *think* I know enough to build a small one,
but I am well aware of the application of, "A little knowledge is a
dangerous thing."

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