Re: QUOTE: Bey on extropians

Dan Clemmensen (
Mon, 10 Nov 1997 21:58:01 -0500

Steve Witham wrote:
> 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.
I have an incredibly simplistic view of the future: we either embrace
technology, or we die. The reason is simple: population. There is no
known non-technical way to stop the population from growing, so
any attempt to freeze technology at or below its
current level will result in the destruction of the earth's ecosystem
in short order: 200 years max, probably less. This is a simple
reducto-ad-absurdum argument for technological advancement, and
IMO anyone who argues against technological advancement must
first have a practial solution to the population problem.

OK, given that technological advancement is the only alternative to
the destruction of both humanity and the planetary ecosystem, we
are now left with arguments about the nature of the technological
change. Again, I feel that there is really not much we can do to
guide the advance. Technological change in this era is driven by
software, and software development is now very distributed and
uncontrollable. This means that arguments about the moral and
ethical aspects of technological change are interesting, but
have no practical point, since the change is uncontrollable.

Yes, there are a great many plausable scenarios in which technlogical
change has detremental effects, but it's the only game in town. Live
with it. IMO, the only way an individual can affect the change is
to try to introduce and advance useful, non-detremental changes
as fast as possible, while analyzing and warning against possible
detremental effects. Given the historically accelerating rate of
change, I feel that any atempt to make non-technical changes to
society (i.e., a new ethic, a new religion, a new educational system,
a new form of government) will take too long to have an important
effect on technological change: by the time such a slow-acting change
can have an impact (order 25 years) technology will have
changed society beyond all recognition.