Re: neo-luddites are "US Taliban" (was Re: "Cloning Breakthrough" not one)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Nov 29 2001 - 15:13:52 MST

On Thu, Nov 29, 2001 at 02:47:51AM -0800, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> I bet worldwide, the total spending on developments related to an
> extropian's core interests is between $100-$150 Billion/yr.
> What the "ideological opponents" don't recognize is they have to
> stop this juggernaut completely. Technology development is like
> climbing a mountain. There many be any number of paths you can take
> to get to the top. While the transhumanist "publicity machine" is not
> as well developed as theirs -- our core agenda is in much better shape.

Actually, I fear this is not true. While there is a lot of money being
invested in activities we like, this investment is not driven by the
values we have. If we ran things, we would not back down from a
promising technology just because it was disliked - but the NIH and
companies you mentiones are not motivated by ideology in what they are
doing, rather by profit (monetary or not) and would if the public
opinion made a direction of research unprofitable simply bend. Sure, a
certain amount of self-serving lobbying would take place, but it would
not be motivated by fairly short-range motive.

Also, I think we still have not put our core agenda in good shape. The
transhumanist worldview is far less rich, complex and with connections
to current issues than the anti-enlightenment views we are struggling
with: compare the few paltry pages and texts we have with the massive
environmental literature and its accompanying vision of a certain
natural order, shored up by ties both to romanticism, the left and many
consumer interests! It is not just a case that they have been doing it
longer, the core worldview is rather consistent and easy to adapt to new
situations - given a situation, any situation at all, and you can put it
into the great narrative of environmentalism. It is far harder to do
what with transhumanism, which makes it harder to make transhumanism an
integral part of other debates.

We have so far been helped by the existence of pro-tech and pro-progress
ideologies and institutions with compatible goals. But these ideologies
and institutions need all the help they can get right now, and if we
want to be able to actually drive developments beyond those currently
seen as rational we will need to make these alliances and create a
worldview that can be just as visionary, ambitious and action-provoking
as the environmentalist, socialist or religious worldviews.

> As I mentioned to Greg yesterday, a ban on cloning actually *helps*
> my current business strategy (a ban on the use of "natural" stem-cells
> cloned from an individual would promote the use of "synthetic" stem-cells).

The problem is of course that the opponents would not just pack up and
go home, they would simply move to the next target. In this case I guess
it would be genetic engineering and reproductory medicine.

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

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