Re: SOC/TECH: GreenStar <------- MUST SEE

Date: Sat Jul 01 2000 - 06:27:34 MDT

In a message dated 6/26/00 10:20:58 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> !Zowwwie!! That's it!
> [ snip ]
> Now, to be clear-- I'm not talking about socialism. I'm not talking about
> lobbying for higher taxes so we can buy third world farmers 500 MHz pentia.
> I'm talking about helping people in intelligent, elegant ways. In ways that
> will make them self-sufficient. Maybe even in ways that also enrich the
> helpers.
> Maybe we won't reach Jane Bluecollar in London or New York. But this
> can be the foundation of an unlikely alliance between the resources and
> know how of the industrialized world educated elite and the poor people
> of the third world.
> Specifics? Give me a break, this has just occurred to me. All I'm saying
> is, appropriate and affordable technology should be given more and more
> attention in our discussions. It's as important as AI, genomics, and
> all that other good stuff.
> For the altruists out there-- we can help the needy in ways that few
> others have the expertise or imagination to do. I probably already had
> you from the second paragraph onward, so I'll stop preaching to the
> choir.
> For the egoists out there-- a world of tech savvy, tech-heeled people
> will be more receptive to our ideas, especially if we're the ones who
> helped them get that way. The West is spoiled. You want to see a place
> where they love technology? Look to a place where they don't have
> enough of it. Besides, this will also really confuse the liberals--
> "What? Those Techno-Libertarians are *helping* people? How low can
> they sink?"

Alex, this is EXACTLY what I have in mind. The core notion of transhumanism
- improving the human condition through the rational use of technology -
applies at EVERY level of the human experience. I know not everyone here may
agree with me, but to me, working to design and implement better technology
and social systems in a third world village is just as extropian as working
to develop better neural-computer interfaces or developing new means of
living free in a California city saturated with the latest, greatest
information technology.

The Greenstar system seems to me to be to what I'd like to see as a tech-hub
for underdeveloped communities what the Apple Iie or Commodore 64 was to the
wearable computers we're looking forward to in five years. The folks who
have voiced criticisms of it here are right: It's too expensive, too
susceptible to hijacking by Bad Men With Guns and may even be supplying some
things the objects of the program don't need. But my old Apple Iie didn't
offer a portal to a universe of ubiquitous computing, either, and, no matter
how much I used to swear at it, showed no inkling of voice recognition. But
it was a clear and available step in the right direction and marked a
concrete milestone toward a goal with great merit, the real PERSONAL computer.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Extropians take
first steps.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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