Re: QUOTE: Bey on extropians

Steve Witham (
Mon, 10 Nov 1997 01:16:34 -0400

>Steve Witham quotes Bey:
> ...The extropian therefore lacks and needs a
> critique of technology,

Kathryn Aegis replies:
>this statement reflects a need for Extropians to make more public
>statements or publish writings that reflect our understanding of this

Well, yes, but also, just publicly "understanding this complexity" isn't
the same as having a "critique," which means an organized and developing
*critical* position and approach, as I understand it.

I think a critique of tech is not something we extropians have a big
concensus on, even compared to other issues. So extropians
in general may never be known for it. It doesn't mean lots of us don't
think smart thoughts about it or have our own personal critiques.
(I know it's a main reason I'm an extropian.)
Bey himself, in the bit I quoted, credits us with knowing some of the
bad effects of tech.

On the one hand I wish extropians were more interested in critique of
tech; on the other, utlimately those who ain't, ain't. In the same way I
wish libertarians made more of a point of being critical of big
corporations and mass-produced culture. Many are, but it's not the image
people have of libertarians.

Also, I think critiquing tech is harder than most tech critics (including
Bey) make out.

So, I agree with Bey that we lack and need one (at least one), but it
ain't easy to come by and it may not be on the top of most extropians'
shopping lists.

Dan Clemmensen writes-

>If Bey feels that we pay inadequate attention to the possible
>negative effects of technology (and especially future technology),
>then what must he think of the attention given this subject by
>most of the rest of society?

Here's a clue: he devotes an essay to us, not the rest of society.
This is is strange if you know his anti-tech, anti-"Capital" sentiments.
Bey's criticism seems (to me) based on respect, at least formal
respect, not just a dismissal.

>I strongly suspect that this group
>pays a lot more attention to this subject than almost any other
>group does, spcifically including the groups whose declared duty
>is the guidance of society.

Like I said, smart thinking isn't the same as having a critique.
He is specifically challenging us
to come up with a critique of tech. What is the extropian critique
of tech? The critical thinking implied in "Dynamic Optimism?" It
would have to be more specific than that.


--    Steve Witham under deconstruction
"...when activated, it pops a message off the bag
    and recurs with the tail of the bag."
             --Vijay Saraswat and Patrick Lincoln