Re: Is Expecting Future Strangeness Our Essense?
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 14:52:57 -0400 (EDT)

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Listening to Greg Stock at Extro 3 I formed this hypothesis: that what
> most unites us is a conviction that within a century (or two at most)
> the world will be a VERY different place. Greg had been arguing that
> people shouldn't try to stop some simple genetic possibilities,
> because things are going to get lots stranger that that and people
> better get used to it. And it seeems to me that most elements of our
> community can be understood as coming from our taking the idea of a
> strange future very seriously.

I think this is almost an inevitable conclusion of considering what happens
if you apply technology to human bodies, behavior, and society.
Technology changes things it affect quite drastically, and it is already
changing all of the above. So far the changes are mostly indirect, but with
bodies and behaviour, at least, they are now becoming direct, with things
like CR and anti-depressants, and with enhancement cyborgization and genetic
modifications now in sight.

> Lots of people seem to sorta believe in a strange future, yet seem
> unwillling or unable to actually take the time to think seriously
> about it.

> But I wonder: is there any smart person out there who understands the
> sorts of arguements that lead us to expect strangeness, and yet who
> disagrees with our conclusion?

I haven't met anyone such. I know lots of people who don't think about it
hard but don't significantly disagree with what I bring up. I'm as likely to
deny "strangeness" as anybody I've met or corresponded with, as I don't
anticipate a singularity, and I think the "far-out" stuff is generally a
century or more out.