Re: SOCIETY: Techno Elites

Anders Sandberg (
Thu, 26 Dec 1996 14:24:58 +0100 (MET)

On Wed, 25 Dec 1996, Max M wrote:

> > From: David Musick
> > A techno-elite will arise in *any* scenario. And I, for one, don't see
> > anything wrong with that
> I think that's either a defeatist, fatalistic or impassionate attitude to
> hold. And apart from that we have to make shure that there will not be a
> too small elite as it will stop the exponential growth.

That is an interesting problem. If we assume that growth currently is
technological growth, then a small elite *may* be able to continue it
anyway! Once the limiting factor of growth was food, but thanks to more
advanced technology just one or two percent of people in the industrial
countries are farmers; they produce enough food for the rest (and usually
more than that, causing pricing problems). Today we are seeing how a
relatively small group of people are able to do the industrial production
needed to sustain society. It might be possible that in the future a
small "elite" is enough to sustain technological growth (one might even
argue that this has always been true).

As for whether elites will appear in any scenario, I think it depends a
lot on how much people communicate. As soon as barriers to communication
appear, be they social or technological, then elites become tenable.

> The world of knowledge as of now, is very disorganised with lots of
> redundancy. The amount of information in science is increasing
> exponentially also. Soon no one can hold the amount of information, The
> same experiments and calculations will be developed several times at once
> because no one can find any information. We have to develop ways to embedd
> knowledge in systems so the amount of disorganised information won't stop
> development. We have to develop applications that make use of all the
> information with an easy interface. This embedded knowledge will/must help
> others to become part of the development instead of wellfare cases.
> That way the info gap won't be to big and development will be speeded up.

I agree with this, but I don't think it will prevent the gap from forming.
Why? Because to become part of the development you must want to become
part. And we are seeing a growing number of people with learned
helplessness that will not actively seek knowledge or growth. With the
above system, more people who otherwise might had become passive will be
"saved", but it won't help a large group of people. The only way to deal
with them is to find ways of reversign their learned helplessness.

> > Actually, I am considering ways of inspiring the "masses" to become
> > techno-elites themselves.
> Then we are just splitting semantics. If the masses become a techno elite,
> there will no longer be an elite. Of course there will allways be somebody
> with more talent than others. And that will automatically create an elite.

There might also exist several techno-elites. Assume that the above
knowledge-integration doesn't take place. Then technology and science
could diverge into mutually incomprehensible areas, with plenty of
redundancies and reinventing of the wheel. The Russian elite can't
understand the technobabble of the American elite, and *nobody*
understands the Fullerists.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y