Re: STORY: The Transhumanist Racist

Anders Sandberg (
09 Jun 1999 11:46:54 +0200

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> writes:

> Robin Hanson wrote:
> >
> > On 6/8/99, Anders S. penned:
> > >... here at the Annual Racist Conference ... My research clearly
> > >shows the superiority of the white race on many measures:
> > >intelligence, certain aspects of physical stamina, personality
> > >factors and overall attractiveness." [... audience cheers] ...
> > >"Using the technologies we have developed, it will not just become
> > >possible to cure blacks, asians and liberals, but to make them into
> > >superior races." [stunned silence, then pandemonium. ...]
> >
> > Delightful story Anders! Now what I most want to know is
> > what such an audience's reaction would actually be. For all I
> > know about such people, they might be *more* receptive to this
> > message than a gathering of anti-racists.
> Perhaps I commit the sin of stereotyping here, but I rather suspect that
> your average racist, or at least your average Klan member, wants
> somebody to feel superior to. They aren't in it for a calm, peaceful
> intention to improve the human race. Racism is about hate. Anders'
> scientist would never have left the conference alive.

Unfortunately I agree with Eliezer. My (very limited) experience of discussing with racists show that they are not particularly fond of having their views of the world disturbed. However, I noted that they are indeed rather susceptible to biological arguments, which makes them even more upset when you start throwing some transhumanist ideas at them. They usually retreat to cultural superiority instead, which was the reason I had the Doctor add memetic engineering.

Seriously, I don't think we will be very successful at "curing" racists by arguments like this. It is not much a question about rationality but rather dealing with an emotional worldview. But technologies like above may of course make that worldview ever more untenable.

If your neighbor is a cyborg, his skin color and accent will become less relevant.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y