Re: The Extropian Principles

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 30 Jul 96 10:14:21 PDT

Eric Watt Forste writes:
>I doubt that useful computer simulations of society will be available until
>sometime after we are able to produce useful computer simulations of human
>brains. Human brains are not only far more complex than anything we've ever
>been able to usefully simulate, but they also have a tremendous causal
>impact on the development of society. ;)

I think you overstate the case, though I agree simulations can only
play a minor role for now.

>The question of the optimal social structure is explorable primarily by the
>study of history, a fact that futurist technophiles are often prone to

I take issue with "primarily". Data about current social structures
can tell us a great deal - you don't have to go back in time for data
to be useful. Laboratory experiments also tell us a lot. And theory
is very important for giving one concepts and hypotheses with which to
understand empirical data. Without patterns to look for, history
doesn't say much.

Robin Hanson