Re: Transhuman Beach Party

den Otter (
Tue, 07 Sep 1999 22:56:56 +0200

> From:
> > -The Transhuman Beach Party- (a very short story)


> I appreciate the satire but I think you're being unfair.

Well, it was mostly just that: satire, though there is also a more serious note (see below).

> Now I know that
> there are some scenarios explored here that do posit change so rapid that
> just about any steps to deal with them would be ineffective, but I happen to
> think that most of them have relatively low probability. To say that we have
> no "surf boards" or "surfing expertise" relevant to other, more probable
> scenarios isn't true, at least for many of the folks I know personally here
> on the list.

Afaik, the Singularity = superintelligence, and the consensus currently seems to be that AI will beat IA (and uploading) in the race for SI. This means, almost by definition, an extremely uneven distribution of power and very rapid change. How do you plan to deal with such a scenario?

What would you do if the Singularity came *tomorrow*? What would *any* of us do, except holding our breath?

> Perhaps most importantly, we're working on building personal
> wealth and successful careers, which is perhaps the single most important
> thing you can do now to be ready for the next two or three turbulent decades.

Yes, wealth is very important. However, just being "well off", "moderately rich" or even "rich" won't probably be good enough. To get a prime spot on the wave, you'll have to out-paddle a whole lot of other skillful surfers, some of which will be more than willing to push you under in order to get to the wave first. Hard cash will buy you the bulging, rock-hard muscles you'll need to stay ahead. As you'll be competing with large companies, governments, organized crime, dictators, terrorist groups and other folks with no shortage of funding, you better get rich indeed.

That's why essentially some sort of transhuman cooperation effort is needed, as the chances that any individual could get very rich, and keep track of things at the same time, are very small indeed. This is not about defeatism, but about taking our own ideas seriously.

> Through events like the EXTRO conferences and personal networking here and
> in organizations like Foresight and new developments like the Kronos clinics,
> we're networking with people who are building the surfboards. By staying
> abreast of the latest developments in the key technologies, we're keeping
> ourselves aware of the cool new rides that will show up on the beach.

It's a good start, but if we really want to stand a fair chance, I'm afraid we'd need a much bigger and much better coordinated effort. Being aware of something is one thing, but actually having access to the technology is something rather different...

> And even though I don't know whether I'll personally be able to ride the Big
> Kahuna when it hits, I'm going to try . . .

Oh yes, me too. Nothing to lose, might as well give it a shot...