Politics After Singularity (Was: Capital punishment)

Sat, 21 Jun 1997 11:29:19 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 21 Jun 1997, Eugene Leitl wrote:

> There might be strife and
> conflict even after the Singularity, or there might be none: currently,
> this is idle musings.

A quibble, but hopefully a useful one to remember: It probably isn't
exactly "idle" to speculate that strife and conflict will persist in the
aftermath of "the" singularity. Gerald Feinberg's Promethian chestnut,
namely that "[e]verything will be accomplished that does not violate known
fundamental laws of science, as well as many things that do violate those
laws," has to be false, strictly speaking, to the extent that there are
indefinitely many outcomes that are at once logically possible but
mutually exclusive. Any development toward a technological elimination of
the distinction between the "real" and the "discretionary" will be
asymptotic at best because the obstacles to instrumental success are not
exclusively problems of engineering, but are (ever more conspicuously with
the maturation of the sciences and the expansion of the instrumental power
of our knowledge-claims) problems of reconciling the competing visions,
demands, expectations, and enterprises of posthuman peers. Nevertheless,
btw, I still adore Feinberg's declaration. Best, Dale
PS: FWIW, I think capital punishment quite as stomach-churningly icky a
practice as are the atrocities in retribution for which we set it motion
in the first place, and it seems a terrible idea to feel complacent or,
gods forfend, morally righteous about a State apparatus of all things that
takes up the task of extermination with any kind of regularity. Surely?

Dale Carrico | dalec@socrates.berkeley.edu
University of California at Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric

If you want to tell people the truth be sure to make them laugh.
Otherwise, they will kill you. -- George Bernard Shaw
State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. -- Nietzsche