Re: The textropian timeline, courtship in the future, cryonics and misc. thoughts

Bryan Moss (
Thu, 8 Jul 1999 21:27:45 +0100

john grigg wrote:

> I would love to see the timeline expanded to the year 2050! I would
> urge the Textropians to consider this down the line.

There wasn't a 'Never' option either. Also the categories of 'Available', 'Common', and 'Ubiquitous' imply commercial viability so many things would seem to fall only into 'Possible' - perhaps there should be a 'Why?' category as well. This was not created for the cynical!

> [...] Women are only partially free from the fear of pregnancy at
> present. [...] Females may even be modified in vitro so that they are
> born sterile and later in life when ready the condition is reversed at
> government expense.

The obvious argument against this is that if, say, a natural disaster destroyed our infrastructure it may be impossible to reverse the condition and civilisation will stand a poor chance of survival. Better would be a simple biological on/off switch, set a birth to the 'on' position it can be set to 'off' with an artificial stimulant of some sort. Thus should large chunks of infrastructure and knowledge be destroyed the female of the species would still be born with childbearing ability. Eventually we will have to forego such a biological fallback position, as we become ever more reliant of technology and social infrastructure.

> Imagine the second sexual revolution that will result when STD's are
> finally defeated! [...] Women of the mid 21st century will at least in
> terms of physical health be free to do as they wish. I would think that
> over time people would settle down to relative monogamy seeing the
> shallowness of very short-term sexual relationships.

Freedom of sexual expression would hopefully allow for far more complex relationships than monogamy. However, I don't think that a sexual revolution will come with the cure of STD's. There are concerns regarding attitudes toward children and consent that need to be settled.

> Even in a world without damaged bodies from promiscuity there will be
> broken hearts and tormented minds. Will we just medicate to deal with
> the pain of this?

I firmly believe that if people were left to self-medicate both emotional and physical trauma we would see an improvement in society. The usual reaction to this is that we would all exist in a blissed-out coma. This is not unlike the popular view of anarchy as a chaotic place where everyone turns to murder (or as a friend once visualised it, "people hitting each other over the head with chairs"). Whereas our ancestors saw little change in their lifetimes we now have to adapt to numerous different settings and social situations within a day. We go from our professional lives to our personal lives, from serious, sometimes monotonous work to out-and-out hedonistic pleasure. The body is already designed to release chemicals that aid transition from rest to exercise. We now need to be able to chemically-assist transitions between different social roles and situations.

> [...] Imagine a world where all women are beautiful (yes, I do believe
> there is beauty in all people but you know what I mean). In time people
> would just grow jaded to it while we the reanimated would remember the
> old days when some were even ostracised for not being attractive enough.

This world of beautiful men and women would, I guess, come about because of their ability to guide their own appearance though cosmetic surgery, genetic engineering, et cetera. Think of the near-infinite ways you can outdo your peers in such a world! Perhaps this would lead to a more competitive arena with the emphasis on personal taste and creativity more than ever. (Even now good clothes can surpass natural beauty.)

> [...] I feel that every future child should be upgraded at least to a
> certain level [of intelligence] so they will be able to compete
> successfully.

The reason an extra-intelligent person can be successful is because a less intelligent person is not. Within the restrictions of finite resources you cannot have growth without such discrepancies. To make all equal is to cripple this ability of growth because there will be no downward propagation of wealth. In short, if you want to see an example of a working socialist paradise - visit a graveyard.

> [...] The other thing that tends to exhaust couples is childcare. A
> nannybot would be a godsend for so many parents who are worn out and
> feel trapped and unable to go out occasionally and have a good time.

I think that parents would be more comfortable with an advanced baby-monitor than a humanoid robot. As long as the technology has no direct human-like interaction with the child it will be easily accepted. The more human-like the robot, the more you would see the robot as being malicious. I doubt humanoid robots will be welcomed into any area of society (I also doubt humanoid will be the most efficient design). Of course, bunny-like robots would be capable of no malice.

> [...] I could see some parents over-relying on this robot to the point
> that the kids have much more of a bond with the machine then with their
> own biological parents.

IMHO the parental unit is a bad role model for children. I'd much rather children see real adult relationships rather than the stage-plays they're treated to at home by well-meaning parents. Robots probably wouldn't be great role models either. The sooner you can get the kid interacting in the real world (rather than a school or home environment) the more likely they are to grow into well balanced individuals.

> I hope that the poverty that many women and children experience now will
> be eliminated.

You have great concern for the women of the world... Last time I checked, men also experienced poverty.

> I am excited about this new breed of women that we will see as the next
> century passes. She will be free of the fear of pregnancy, STD's,
> domestic drudgery, lack of education, physical unattractiveness,
> encroachment of old age and poverty that dogged the lives of so many of
> her previous sisters who lived earlier. I just hope I am not reanimated
> in a world run by militant lesbians!

Actually your description of this new breed of woman is quite close to that of your average militant lesbian.

> [...] I am 32 and have similar thoughts and in my case I am single
> without a sexual partner. Having been raised in a Mormon home where sex
> outside of marriage and even self-stimulation is considered wrong I have
> had my own real torments on the subject.

My advice is as follows: Go find yourself an expensive prostitute. Ask her what she finds degrading - she'll have a much better idea of this than you will - and do that. A camcorder could be of use here. Btw, I was raised a nihilist - you probably shouldn't be talking to me.

[Clipped UFO stuff & various other things...]

> Any guesses here on whether or not the late 2060's will have resemble
> the late 1960's??

I'm going to guess - no.