Re: History of Transhumanism and Extropy

The Low Golden Willow (
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 19:13:08 -0800 (PST)

The Borg and Dominion of Star Trek, and First Ones of Babylon-5, are
transhuman (well, trans-original-organic-alien.) They have gone beyond
there previous states through technological means. Are they extropian?

The Borg are definitely big on Boundless Expansion (so's cancer. So's a
black hole). If we ignore the "Borg Queen" stuff they may operate on
Spontaneous Order, like our brains. Dynamic Optimism, check.
Intelligent Technology, check. Self Transformation, check.

Oops, checked the text of the Principles. Don't know if "voluntaristic"
and "diversity" apply even within the Borg.

The Founders of the Dominion have evolved themselves into immortal
shapeshifters who don't always seem to worry about the First Law of
Thermodynamics. ST check and mate. SO? The Great Link qualifies.
They're pretty tolerant among themselves, and if you want to apply
diversity to shapeshifters... They're not so hot on spontaneity
anywhere else, mostly because they've usually been persecuted by anyone
who could get away with it. IT? They use intelligent races as tools.
They don't need much themselves these days, except to move around.
BE? They've overcome most limits already.

I think most would agree that the Borg aren't extropian, but SO is the
only missing principle. They're really neat otherwise. And the
Dominion is even neater -- the only non-extropian thing on them is their
effort to bring all Solids into the Dominion. Which they see as a
self-defense measure. And not that pre-emptive, either.

Is being mean to wild intelligences far below you on the tech scale
non-extropian, if you're libertarian among yourselves? A big question
when AI comes around, and I don't remember a consensus on the list.
Except the AIs aren't wild, but possibly tame or domesticated

} Extropianism is transhumanism plus the claim that the Extropian
} Principles (by Max More) are right. Thus you can't be an extropian

I still like my rendition: extropianism is the Enlightenment, updated.
Adam Smith, Darwin, computers, the success of Anglo-American societies
over benevolent dictatorships.

Transhumanism is Renaissance humanism with more toys and broader

The Enlightenment was humanist. Was their non-Englightened humanism?
Uh, I'll pass to Max.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"I think it's amazing that 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult thought
they would beam up to space ships if they killed themselves. Any
reasonable person knows that in reality they will be reincarnated as
animals. You might not agree with my belief in reincarnation, but a lot
of people do, so it's not a cult. There's certainly no evidence that
larger groups of people have ever believed anything stupid. So once the
number of believers exceeds a certain level, say 40, you have to think
there's something to it.

Unlike those "cultists" I wasn't brainwashed into my beliefs. I simply
had a huge painful void in my life that I filled with the first thing
that came along. You have to respect that. I'm not as gullible as those
poor saps. That's probably because I was born in June, which makes me
a Gemini. We're naturally skeptical." -- Scott Adams