Re: The End of Privacy ?

den Otter (
Wed, 01 Jul 1998 23:36:51 +0200

Anders Sandberg wrote:

<snipped some excellent points in order to provide some superficial comments>

> I'm a bit worried that the discussions on this list (and elsewhere)
> tend to be dominated by less well considered opinions (or what
> *appears* to be little considered opinions at least). There are many
> people out there who actually think extropians are gun-toting

Some extropians /transhumanists have guns yes, and others don't have them but would *like* to have them. However, the majority seems to either not to care about guns, or outright reject them. Whether this is good or bad is another discussion alltogether, of course.

> survivalists

We certainly are survivalists. Not only we don't want to die prematurely, we even don't want to die *at all*. We reject the inevitability of death itself. It doesn't get more survivalist than that! ;-)

> beliving in a technocalypse

Belief in the singularity is indeed pretty mainstream in transhumanism. The possibility of a technogeddon is even mentioned in the transhuman principles.

> , and all this talk about
> creating heavily fortified island nations,

Fotified or not (I prefer obscure myself), an island nation would solve several problems at once (for example: euthanasia & cryonics, freedom from idiotic taxes, right to take any drugs & treatments you want, conduct all sorts of business that's heaviliy regulated/ illegal/overtaxed in other regions, unregulated use of gene therapy/body augmentation etc.) In the case of a nuclear war or some other global disaster, a remote island can mean the difference between life and death.

> surviving the Y2000 problem

Although I personally don't expect any really serious problems, let alone the end of civilization, it's better to be safe than sorry. Stacking up on emergency supplies is relatively simple, and can mean a great difference if, against all odds, things go very wrong.

> and escaping into space

Moving to space (preferably some time *before* the singularity/ some other disaster) is a very sound idea: distance is a great defense; it buys you time to prepare for whatever comes your way. If it turns out that there's no disaster, you can always go back or whatever (and in space you're pretty much free to do what you want, much more so than on an island). Of course the feasibility of escaping to, and living in, space is something else, but it certainly shouldn't be dismissed as paranoia.

> doesn't help that image.

Imo, the image is largely correct. Or at least it *should be* correct. Right now there's way to little focus on the practical side of facing the radical changes which we predict. Of course, I know what you mean; the above libertarian-esque ideas have been tainted by other groups, so we shouldn't talk about them for PR reasons. Nevertheless, I think survival and prospering are too fundamental goals to be compromised. If there's a way to have our cake and eat it too (i.e. being a successful "survivalist" group while keeping a "politically correct" image), then that would be great, of course. Maybe it could be done by keeping the "practical" institutions (if there ever will be any) at least officially separate from the "educational" ones. In any case, all our eggs should not be in one basket.

> Let's use rational thinking instead, and use our tools of theoretical
> applied science, game theory, economics and sociology to do some
> serious analysis of the problem.

Yes, of course. But isn't there already a consensus that there will be very radical changes within the next 30-100 years? And given the many wars and other violence troughout history (and even today), it is only logical to assume that sooner or later the new powerful technologies will be used to cause harm. The fact that increasing numbers of people will have access to increasingly more powerful (potential) weapons only makes matters worse. Indeed if we do go extinct, it will probably be within the coming decades. To survive strange times, strange measures (like moving to space) might be needed.