Re: Can you live forever? Esquire article

Anders Sandberg (
12 May 1999 22:22:21 +0200

Brian D Williams <> writes:

> The most powerfull instrument of change I've seen yet is
> television. There's nothing like it to promote longing in people
> for a better life. I know it has it's problems, but it could be
> improved. I have a book by a UNESCO designer (who's name escapes
> me) who has said T.V's could be created for a fraction of the
> current price. Add a clockwork drive (ala FreePlay radio) and we
> would really have something.
> Next step? Wind up P.C's (Apple's rumored P-1 project) and net
> access and watch the world expand......
> A wind up router?

I think this is the way to go. Especially wind-up satelite phones. Wind-up PCs and phones are more liberating here than TVs and radios, since broadcasting is still a centralized process. Free access to information and communication is a very liberating technology that makes many current dictatorships untenable or at least weaker. It doesn't necessarily topple them (that is in the end up to the citizens) but it gives more power and ability to the individual people.

Of course, dumping stuff like this is no miracle cure, you need to provide good information through it, ideally ensure that the users can control their own information and set up their own (virtual) institutions.

In the case of Serbia (not that I have the least interest in debating that affair), there seems to be some evidence that most of the population is being fed a highly biased view of what is happening through state media (unlike us, who just get biased media - but at least can choose between them :-) and are actually quite misinformed about what is happening. Here widespread access would undermine the propaganda. But it wouldn't necessarily change the core problem; people in Greece, who have access to much freer information, are still strongly pro-Serbian (for historical, political and cultural reasons). People won't turn into rational, nice people by having communications technology - but it likely makes it harder to suppress rationality and easier to get useful information to and from elsewhere.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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