Re: Extropianism in the media

Ben Goertzel (
Sat, 3 Aug 1996 11:34:48 +0800

About the book ESCAPE VELOCITY

I am quite familiar with it, as I just taught a course at Rutgers
University for which it was one of the "textbooks." The course
was called FURUT oops, FUTURE COMPUTING TECHNOLOGY, and along
with EV we used a book called Frontiers of Complixity, which
covers Alife, AIU ... oops, AUI oops, AI (must get a new editor
) and so forth.

Esc. Vel. is a very well thought out and well researched book,
and the writing is good. THere is a big focus on artsy stuff --
survival research labs, techno & industrial music, Stelarc &
other postmodern techno-savvy artists. but there is a lot of
intelligent discussion of the role of the body in futuristic
technology ... "downloading" ... the way that the same pel
peo0ple promoting this technology are "nerds" who maybe
uncomfortable with their own bodies, etc.

Generally, Dery (the author) is skeptical of the "antisocial"
aspects of transhumanism, and he mentions Extropians in this
light. His attitude is much like mine, though he is less
enthused about such things as downloading the mind than I am
. He interviews Moravec, and asks him what downloading of the
mind m eans for the downtrodden billions who don't even have
computers. Moravec says, basically, "tough luck for them;
humans are becoming obsolete, so a few billion more or less
doesn't make much difference." Dery finds this unconsciounable.

I think Dery finds Extropianism somewhat scary in its alignment
of future tech with libertarian, hyper-individualist politics.
He would like to see future tech with a social conscience.

This book was, incidentally, where I heard about Extropians,

ben g