Mitch Kapor [is] the co-founder and former CEO of Lotus Development. In 2002, Kapor made a much publicized $20,000 bet with [Raymond] Kurzweil that a computer would not be able to demonstrate consciousness at a human level by 2029.
But his quibbles with Kurzweil run much deeper than that debate. He rejects Kurzweil's theories about the implications of accelerating technology as pseudo-evangelistic bunk. "It's intelligent design for the IQ 140 people," he says. "This proposition that we're heading to this point at which everything is going to be just unimaginably different -- it's fundamentally, in my view, driven by a religious impulse. And all of the frantic arm-waving can't obscure that fact for me, no matter what numbers he marshals in favor of it. He's very good at having a lot of curves that point up to the right."
About this recurring feature: I like to post reactions from qualified technoscientific figures to Superlative and Techno-Utopian claims. These people reaffirm from the position of their different expertise conclusions I have arrived at from my perspective. My own critique of what I call "Superlative Technology Discourse" is primarily lodged at the level of culture, discourse, rhetoric, and political theory. These also happen to be precisely the topics both my training and temperament best suit me to talk about in the first place. Superlative Technocentrics sometimes like to castigate me for my refusal to engage with them in what they call "technical debates" on what they regard as the "hard science" supporting their Superlative claims. This is because many Superlative Technocentrics like to fancy themselves as very "scientific," despite the fact that their claims and aspirations inevitably have taken them far afield of the qualified scientific consensus in the actual fields on which they depend for whatever substance their techno-utopian True Belief can occasionally summon. Two things to keep in mind in enjoying this recurring feature. First, it is perfectly legitimate to lodge a critique in the form I have done (even though other modes of critique, including more strictly scientific ones, are also legitimate and available from those better qualified to make them), and those who would productively engage with me about my own critique, whether they agree with it or not, should be prepared to engage with me on the terms relevant to the critique as it is actually offered. This should go without saying. Second, it occurs to me that many of those who like to ridicule my effete muzzy humanistic preoccupations as compared to their own solid, stolid He Man science seem to mistake as incomprehension of or indifference to or even hostility to science what is in fact my own technoscientifically literate recognition that I know enough science to know when I don't know enough to pretend to expertise and so defer to reasonable consensus, just as they mistake as a championing of science their own uncaveated, hyperbolic, palpably symptomatic, often essentially faithful and hence actively unscientific claims. This is a Fault. For an informal collection of texts offering up the general contours of my own critique of Superlative Technology Discourses, and especially the techno-utopian rhetoric, subcultures, and "movements" of various Singularitarians, Technological Immortalists, Nanosantalogists, Transhumanists, Eugenicists, Extropians, Cybernetic Totalists, and self-appointed Technocratic Elites, I refer you to my occasionally updated Superlative Summary. I always also welcome from readers pointers to quotations and critiques available online from actually-qualified technoscientific figures suitable for this recurring feature.