Ready or Not, Here We Come!

David Musick (
Tue, 20 Aug 96 06:43:43 UT

Here's something I just posted in the BrainTennis thread that's associated
with the debate between Max More and Paulina Luddite (I forgot her real last
name, so I renamed her appropriately) about the "costs" of Transhumanism. I
thought this would be of some interest / inspiration to those who haven't
read it on HotWired's site:

It's quite humorous for me to read the postings of the Luddites and other
conservatives in this "debate". So much like children, playing the same games
over and over, never wanting to try new things. They decry the changes that
Extropians and other adventurous beings seek out... as though their cries for
stagnation could halt the chaotic and uncontrollable processes of Evolution.
Conservatism used to be a valid survival trait, when the world was pretty
much the same for thousands of years at a time. To deviate much from the
finely-tuned, traditional ways of life usually meant death. Now things have
changed. And so must we, to survive. Now, and much more so in the coming
years, people and other systems must adapt quickly to the fast and
accellerating changes in our reality.
Conservatives will be left behind with all the other extinct species.
Countries like China resisted change for a long time, but they could not
withstand the pressures to become industrialized. They could not have
survived without doing so. Likewise, many business people have had to use
modern technologies, such as the portable computer and the cellular phone,
just to remain competetive. In the coming years, people will likely have to
augment their abilities with such things as biochip implants which connect
their thoughts directly to computers which are linked to the vast computer
networks that will exist throughout the Earth, and possibly beyond. You may
resist and recoil from these ideas, but in time, they will make a great deal
of sense to you, and you will happily join the other successful people who
will have tried out these technologies and proven their superiority. To
survive, you will need to adapt to the world; if not, you will simply be left
behind with all the other conservatives.
You may think that these fantastic ideas we Extropians embrace will not be
possible. Most people of a hundered years ago would have doubted the
possiblility of most of the activities we consider commonplace. The
visionaries of the past, like the current visionaries, were ridiculed, but
they were right. Humans have a tendency to seriously underestimate what is
truly possible.
Humans are developing more and more powerful abilities to alter their
environments and their selves. Those who take advantage of new and more
powerful technologies have always and will continue to be much more successful
than those who don't.
Some people in this discussion think an uploaded being will be inferior to
humans. They have no understanding of the possibilities. An uploaded being
will have the ability to simulate the experience of human life for itself, in
all of its wonderful and agonizing detail. It could experience everything we
ourselves experience. But so much more.... Some Transhumans will be able to
experience millions of different human lifetimes, in as much rich detail as
humans actually do - even more, if they want to, and they can live all those
millions of lifetimes in only a few days or minutes (our time). The
possibilities are endless....
Some people think that uploaded transhumans will be located in some single
box or mainframe computer, and that they could be unplugged or destroyed
easily. This is very incorrect. Uploaded Transhumans will distribute their
selves throughout many computer networks. It will be as impossible (actually
much more impossible) to precisely locate the Uploaded Transhuman as it is to
locate your "self" in your brain; your self is distributed all throughout your
brain. Transhumans will also distribute themselves as far as they can through
whatever means are available. They will take care of themselves, controlling
very advanced machines to maintain, defend and expand the hardware that they
exist in. It will be very difficult for them to die off or be killed off.
Taking down a few machines that they are using to live, will be sort of like
killing a few of your brain cells. But the Transhumans will be able to
regenerate themselves much more easily than you can regenerate dead brain
cells. They can also use machines to burrow deep into the Earth and build
extensive computer networks beyond the reach of any disgruntled humans. They
will be far superior, in every way, to mere humans. As wonderful as we humans
are now, we haven't even come close to our true potential. We have nothing to
lose but our limitations.
Whether you like it or not, the type of things we Extropians are talking
about WILL happen. Evolution doesn't stop. It will relentlessly continue and
cast off all who can't or refuse to keep up. We don't really care whether the
luddites and other conservatives agree with us and support our endeavors or
not. We're just letting you know what's coming. If or how you deal with it
is up to you. You can keep your limitations, if you wish, but ultimately,
they will cost you your existence.

- David Musick