Re: "Cybernetic Totalism?"

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 09:57:04 MDT

"Corwyn J. Alambar" <> writes:

> An essay I'm just now reading, at
> It seems to be a high-toned, anti-Singularity piece, with some general
> trashing of futurism in general.

I found some of the points rather tonic, but the overall impression
wasn't that high.

What he is aiming at is disproving or undermining the *unconsidered*
ideology of technological eschatology. To some extent I agree with him
- there is an awful amount of badly thought out fluff on this (I am
myself responsible for some of it :-), and if we seriously want this
to be a part of our culture or even a powerful part of our culture,
then we better make sure our thinking is high-quality, or we have a
high risk of ending up in a lot of the old memetic traps. Which can be
rather bad if combined with powerful technology and ideas about some
technocalyptic manifest destiny.

The problem is that his attack misses the mark in many places. He
points out some flawed arguments or assumptions often glossed over
that really needs to be thought about carefully, but dismisses many
aspects with handwaving (like AI) or the flawed software argument
(that argument could be applied to engineering too - we are using
imperfect tools and making mistakes, which we correct with failsafes,
redundancy and quality assurance measures, so in the end all our
designs will be ISO 9000 certified inoperable piles of redundancy,

I think this is not a good piece in itself, but it is the kind of
piece that will be cited in some circles rather widely. A good
rebuttal, or even better another half of a manifesto, would be
useful. Even better, we should see how we can polish up transhumanist
thinking in order not to fall into the traps he describes.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:16 MDT