From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Oct 22 2000 - 21:31:34 MDT

Ian Arcatling wrote:
> It seems that I was misinformed concerning the ExI. If I understand
> the other postings correctly, I should have realized that sending money to
> the ExI is just like sending money to CARE or to the Red Cross. The
> difference is that by sending money to the ExI one gets the satisfaction of
> knowing that one supports "the revolution." I have to admit that I never
> realized this.

I don't know whether ExI's membership page is misleading - I haven't been
there lately - but I can't possibly believe that they make you believe you'll
get $55 worth of coffee mugs or email newsletters. Almost all charities focus
on worthy causes, not membership benefits, with the rare exceptions being
member-run organizations that charge a small fee to support services like
newsletters and such. It should hopefully be clear that ExI is not just a
bunch of Extropians who got together; no, they're out to change the world.
For organizations like ExI, the real benefit of membership is (a) the altruism
and (b) being able to say you're a member. Don't underrate that last part!
The Extropy Institute is respected in some pretty interesting circles, and
being a member of the Extropy Institute is more than being just another person
who likes transhumanism - it's like the difference between voting Libertarian
and being a member of the Libertarian Party.

On the other hand, now that I think about, it isn't all that hard to imagine
someone mistaking the Extropy Institute for a membership-oriented organization
- it's called "Extropy" and here are all these people called "Extropians". So
ExI might need to update the Web pages, make that clearer. "Your membership
dollars go to support ExI's continuing efforts in the front lines of the
public relations battle for technology."

Also, I must say that I also felt a little ignored when I sent in my $55. A
quarterly newsletter delivered via email would go a long way to ameliorate the
feeling-ignored factor. And can I renew my voice in the long-standing chorus
asking for an Extropian search service? It'd be nice to know if there are any
other Extropians here in Atlanta.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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