Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Unperson

Well, some of you are bound to notice this soon enough, so I might as well point out that I've been informed I'm now a "Former Fellow" at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

My relationship with that organization hitherto has consisted primarily of their re-posting, and thereby providing a wider audience for, pieces of writing by me that they found congenial, and that seemed to me a pretty decent deal all around.

From the beginning, I've been a bit of an uncomfortable fit for IEET, since I've constantly demanded assurances from them that they really were more than just a stealth transhumanist outfit trying to provide mainstream respectability and funding opportunities for the membership organizations connected to that marginal techno-utopian sub(cult)ure, and the simple fact that they have been willing to publish such a longstanding and consistent critic of transhumanism as me seemed to suggest this was true enough to justify the ongoing affiliation, especially since I enjoyed the writing of some of the other people affiliated with the organization (not all of whom are transhumanist-identified, by any means, or at any rate this used to be the case).

Board members will probably ruefully attest to the fact that I've ignited numerous awkward internal conversations on this topic trying to receive reassurances that IEET really was devoted to thinking about emerging technodevelopmental forms, cultures, and policies from a technoscientifically literate, non-incumbent, legible progressive perspective (a palpably useful project), and not just the tip of the spear for a transhumanist charm offensive to facilitate the dream of a marginal sub(cult)ural perspective to sweep the world as it were.

This is something I never stopped worrying about, despite assurances to the contrary, especially given the co-incidence of IEET Board members with World Transhumanist Association Board members (admittedly usually the more respectably academic ones, the more politically moderate and liberal ones, the more likable ones from my perspective), also given the occasional publication of what seemed to me specifically transhumanist cheerleading pieces (which I often protested, thus igniting some of the kerfuffles mentioned above), and given their occasional fluffing of not particularly distinguished writings by people who happened to be transhumanist-identified, and so on.

Although I cannot think of a single argument I have made in my recent writings against some transhumanist and singularitarian and otherwise techno-utopian formulations that I hadn't already made in many pieces well known to the Board prior to their invitation to me to affiliate with their organization it would appear that my recent anti-transhumanist pieces have indeed come to seem "the last straw" for many people in that organization.

I consider this to be the moment when my initial questions and ongoing concerns about IEET are definitively answered at last. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies has become in my view, and possibly always was, a stealthy organization seeking to help legitimize the institutional positions and media reputations of key members of the World Transhumanist Organization, the better to increase membership and funding for that and other transhumanists organizations, as well as to mainstream the specific assertions of belief shared by those who identify as "transhumanists" in particular, under cover of a more serious discourse about emerging technoscientific change more generally.

There is nothing wrong with such an agenda (even if I don't personally agree with it), although it seems to me that for the same reasons that the WTA website is not likely to achieve, in its explicit transhumanist form, either mainstream or academic respectability any time soon, neither would IEET were its apparently insistent connection to the WTA better known. It is certainly true that some of the more mainstream academics and thinkers presently affiliated with IEET to this day are not transhumanist-identified. Many of these academics have expressed sympathy with my own long insistence that IEET not drift into a stealth transhumanist movement think-tank, and it will be interesting to see what impact any tightening of the connection between the brief of IEET and the agenda of the transhumanist movement, so-called, will have on non-transhumanists currently affiliated with IEET.

40 comments:

jfehlinger said...

Dale wrote:

> I've been informed I'm now a "Former Fellow" at the Institute for
> Ethics and Emerging Technologies. . . [I]t would appear that my recent
> anti-transhumanist pieces have indeed come to seem "the last straw"
> for many people in that organization. . . I consider this to be the moment
> when my initial questions and ongoing concerns about IEET are definitively
> answered at last. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
> has become in my view, and possibly always was, a stealthy organization
> seeking to help legitimize the institutional positions and media reputations
> of key members of the World Transhumanist Organization, the better to
> increase membership and funding for that and other transhumanists organizations. . .
> under cover of a more serious discourse about emerging technoscientific change
> more generally. . . [S]ome of the more mainstream academics and thinkers
> presently affiliated with IEET to this day are not transhumanist-identified.
> Many of these academics have expressed sympathy with my own long insistence
> that IEET not drift into a stealth transhumanist movement think-tank,
> and it will be interesting to see what impact any tightening of the
> connection between the brief of IEET and the agenda of the transhumanist
> movement, so-called, will have on non-transhumanists currently affiliated
> with IEET.

For he's a jolly Former Fellow, for he's a jolly Former Fellow,
for he's a jolly Former Fellow, which nobody can deny.


(I hope that strikes the right tone. I know that there's a certain amount
of pain involved in these things, and personal relationships that must be
strained over this.)

Robin said...

Ugh. Your continuing affiliation with IEET was one of the legitimating factors of that organization as far as I am (was?) concerned.

I share about 90% of your concerns and critiques of the transhumanist "movement," and I had very high hopes that the IEET was more aligned with my viewpoints.

Feh. I hope they were congenial about cutting you off.

wildlyparenthetical said...

Admittedly, I've only attended one conference held by IEET (actually, we met there but you wouldn't remember me) but it would seem to back up the stealth hypothesis, for me, anyway. Whilst there were 'bioconservatives' on the program (who were rather weary with continually being dubbed that way, I might add) most were... well, they were used as foils, turned into straw people on the floor; a position I did not envy. To be honest, it was one of the most aggressive, and problematically so, conferences I've ever attended; well, aggressive on the one hand, and overly fraternal (and yes, I do mean fraternal with all the exclusions that entails) on the other. The options seemed to be for or against new tech; there was little space for thinking about the risks it might offer given the context within which it occurs. Occasionally I felt like it would be extremely rude, but potentially necessary, to point out that we do not, in fact, live in a science fiction novel...

To be perfectly honest, your participation in IEET both made them more legitimate, as Robin says, but also made me a little untrusting of you... a terrible thing, really, given that I agree with, as Robin says, about 90% of what you say (I have less faith in the concept of 'freedom,' I think :-)). But you have both my sympathies and my congratulations, if it means anything, and it's pretty much stripped IEET of any real weight in these debates...!

AnneC said...

Ack! This is not good.

I always felt much more "at home" in the IEET than in other fora seeing as it did seem to me that the IEET was more of a "think-tank" that welcomed a variety of perspectives than an ideological pressure group. I'm very disappointed in this recent development.

Dale Carrico said...

I just returned from a meeting in the City, probably I should not have posted this and then just vanished without remaining connected in case their were comments or confusions. Let me stress I don't feel the least bit aggrieved by this turn of events, but only interested by it. I always found it interesting and encouraging that the transhumanists tolerated my critiques, and I can't say that I am particularly surprised to find that I've worn out my welcome at last.

I have heard some spin which suggests that my criticisms about transhumanism or IEET are only very recent and that this turn precipitated the latest development. That is just simply, and palpably, untrue. My criticisms of transhumanism have been relentless and long predated my invitation to IEET, and never slacked while I was connected to IEET. Further, it seems to me that surely many other Fellows can attest to repeated interventions I have made on occasions when it seemed that transhumanist proselytizing was taking place of a kind I wanted to have nothing to do with. In each case I was assured my concerns were unfounded and I continued the association -- as I said, it has never meant more than the fact that IEET was bringing my writing to the attention of a different audience than it might otherwise have had and this seemed to me, on balance, a good thing for everybody concerned.

As for the assertion I have heard from one IEET administrator that I myself have "torn up" the relationship in a way that was painful to her or him, I can only say it is perplexing that being informed without preamble out of the blue that I was no longer a Fellow constitutes me doing much of anything at all, let alone "tearing up" a relationship, and I persist in my claim that few if any of my recent arguments seem particularly unprecedented as critiques of transhumanism, and techno-utopianism more generally, many of which I made before even being invited to participate in IEET in the first place.

As I said, I feel that this represents a shift in the organizational culture of IEET, in the context of a consolidating sub(cult)ural institutional ecosystem of organizations like the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the Lifeboat Foundation, the World Transhumanist Association, Extropy, and a few others, which may have acquired enough members, dollars, and eyeballs lately to shift their priorities and make their tolerance of a critic like me seem less appealing than it once did.

Certainly I am interested in this development and will describe this development for what it is by my lights (terribly worrisome) -- but nobody should think I feel particularly unhappy or abused or anything by this turn of events. It's not a problem, and thanks to those who worried that I might feel upset or something. It's not like that at all.

jfehlinger said...

> It's not a problem, and thanks to those who worried that I
> might feel upset or something. It's not like that at all.

Well, at least they don't have the clout to make trouble with
your employer, have you audited, or sic the police on you.
Or, hopefully, the sort of fanatical followers who might decide
(on their own or not) to put a rattlesnake in your
mailbox.

One source of power of better-established cults is to so
thoroughly enmesh an individual -- making sure that all the
friends, the spouse, the psychiatrist, the butcher, baker,
and candlestick-maker are under the thumb of the authorities --
that to incur the wrath of the cult a person must risk
literally his entire social support system. Scientology thus
has its "letters of disconnection." Objectivism had its
"denunciations", as described by Ellen Plasil in _Therapist_.
Folks growing up in fundamentalist Christian families and
neighborhoods face the same risk, of course.

There's a heartbreaking story in Andrew Morton's recent unauthorized
Tom Cruise biography describing how, when Mr. Cruise's connection
with Scientology was first leaked to the press (without the
permission of either Cruise or the Church), an internal
investigation led to the identification of a woman who was
subsequently "disconnected" from her own family.

"The third event that I found particularly chilling was the case
of a woman by the name of Nan Herst Bowers. When it was leaked to
Janet Charlton that Tom was a Scientologist in 1991, a witch-hunt
began for the person responsible. Members of the Church
impersonated Janet in their attempts to get copies of her
phone bills, and Nan was eventually fingered. She was found
guilty in Scientology's court (they have their own court system
OMG), and her 'crime' was deemed so damaging to the Church
that she was excommunicated. Her husband and three sons
who were all Scientologists wrote her letters disowning her.

She claims she is innocent. And she wrote Tom a letter that year,
thinking he would never want a family torn apart in his name.
But he never responded to her letter, and she has not seen
her husband, three sons and several grandchildren in 16 years."
http://www.laineygossip.com/More_explosive_allegations_from_Andrew_Morton_about_Tom_Cruise.aspx

Now if you start getting funny charges on your credit cards,
or start having weird experiences with ATMs. . . Shades
of _The Net_. ;->

Anonymous said...

Dale,

Were you officially asked to leave, did you sever, or was it a mutual falling out?

Dale Carrico said...

I was informed that I had become a Former Fellow. It wasn't something discussed. Again, it's not a big deal. IEET re-published lots of my stuff while I was affiliated with them and it wasn't a bad run.

I have had and will continue to have a number of criticisms of "transhumanism" (essentially an undercritically technophilic scientistic technocratic-elitist crypto-eugenicism in my view) and "singularitarianism" (essentially a facile techno-eschatological cybernetic-totalist retro-futurism with an apparent vulnerability to guru authoritarianism) and other varieties of sub(cult)ural techno-utopian discourse, but I can't say that this episode has contributed anything new to my thinking on the subject.

Not that these critiques are anything new from me, frankly, but it isn't really that hard to see why they might have grown tired of providing a forum for my interventions (not that they've published much from me lately anyhow), especially as they grow more confident lately in their identity-politics (of which I have always ferociously disapproved) in light of a little favorable media attention and recent funding.

De Thezier said...

Dale,

As both a former member of the WTA Board of Directors (who left voluntarily when my term ended) and the former Special Projects Manager of the IEET (who was informed that his minimal volunteer work was no longer needed nor wanted in light of his criticism of transhumanism in general and some transhumanists in particular), I am probably the person who can sympathize and empathize with the situation you are now in.

I'm glad to hear that you don't feel particularly unhappy, abused or aggrieved by this turn of events, which I am surprised didn't come sooner. However, I may be wrong but I think it was a particular incisively critical comment in your We Already Cut Off the Head of the King post which was the last straw.

That being said, the fact that your participation (and de facto legitimization) of the IEET made some people still perceive you as a crypto-transhumanist despite your virulent critique of transhumanism should be reason enough for you to be happy that this turn of events was forced upon you.

So now a new act of the spectacle that is your life begins. What's next?

jfehlinger said...

> So now a new act of the spectacle that is your life begins. What's next?

Lady Alice: Well, there's an end of you.
What'll you do now? Sit by the fire
and make goslings in the ash?

Sir Thomas More: Not at all, Alice.
I expect I'll write a bit...
...I'll write...
...I'll read, I'll think.

I think I'll learn to fish.

I'll play with my grandchildren
when son Roper's done his duty.

Alice, shall I teach you to read?

Lady Alice: No, by God!

Poor, silly man, you think they'll
leave you here to think?

Sir Thomas More: If we govern our tongues, they will!

. . .

When they find I'm silent...
...they'll want nothing better
than to leave me silent.

You'll see.

Dale Carrico said...

What's next?

Nothing changes at all from my perspective. I spend most of my time teaching or preparing to teach, reading and watching things and then reacting to them, often here in my blog.

I can't say that I have any expectation that this episode with IEET will have any impact beyond my announcement of it in yesterday's post and this discussion, which is sure to die down soon. I'll be interested to see whether or not the ejection has an impact on my readership.

I have been thinking a little whether I will have an obligation to point this ejection out in some way in future references to techno-utopian and especially transhumanist politics, discourse, and organizations and especially IEET...

I haven't decided yet how best to handle that. Whatever I do my guess is that many of the major players there will surely continue to dismiss my analyses to themselves as "name-calling" while cynically insinuating to others it's "sour grapes" anyway. There's not much one can do about that sort of thing. I'm sure it will all sort itself out though, to be honest.

Dale Carrico said...

Vladimir wrote: I may be wrong but I think it was a particular incisively critical comment in your "We Already Cut Off the Head of the King" post which was the last straw.

I assume you mean this: The story [Michel] Foucault tells... should be one especially interesting to the transhumanists who read Amor Mundi, as it happens, because his account of power is bound up in what Foucault calls "biopower" and "biopolitics" (terms he delineated in enormously sophisticated and illuminating accounts decades before more facile formulations under these terms by certain "liberal eugenicist" bioethicists were trumpeted as novel interventions in recent years) what he describes in especially his books Discipline and Punish and The Will to Knowledge as the taking up of living bodies into the dynamic of public life, the play of mechanisms for fostering of "optimality" and "normality" in the social administration of human populations.

Do you really think so? I must say that I would find that perplexing indeed.

The fact is that the title of that post was a reference to a famous formulation of Foucault's already, one that most academics who think about biopolitics would already have in mind.

The reference to "Liberal Eugenics" is the citation of a larger discourse than "transhumanism," certainly, one that "transhumanism" might be seen to be subsumed under in some respects.

Some "transhumanists" might want to pretend that these references amount to "name calling," but, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised at all to discover that some "transhumanist"-identified writers explicitly and cheerfully affirm that liberal eugenic discourse, and certainly I think many of them sympathize with the Nicholas Agar volume of that title which provides a so-called "Defence of Human Enhancement" but which is not, as far as I know, an explicitly "transhumanist"-identified text. Maybe it is?

The fact is that in certain sectors of the academy there is a vital and burgeoning conversation about genetics, bioethics, and biopolitics involving a direct engagement with Foucault's work on this topic, some of it mentioned in that post, but frankly scarcely scratching the dust off the surface -- and the excitement around the publication of the recently translated series of College de France lectures on these and other related topics -- one finds this in Butler, Agamben, Zizek, many others.

It is a sign of flabbergasting cluelessness more than anything else that "transhumanist" "luminaries" would fail to grasp that I am citing these conversations -- all of which are much larger than "transhumanism" certainly and none of which would ever take "transhumanism" of all things as their target -- except to treat it as an especially clear illustration or symptom of larger more prevailing currents in the neoliberal or North Atlantic or Late Industrial technodevelopmental and bioremedial imaginary.

Linda W. said...

I agree with most of the earlier comments, Dale. It was your continued association with IEET and their publication of your articles challenging the more radical transhumanist elements within IEET that gave the organization a sense of legitimacy (for me). While I've enjoyed some of the discussions, I will now stick with Amor Mundi and some of the other links on your blog. Linda W.

jfehlinger said...

Dale wrote:

> [De Thezier wrote:]
>
> > I may be wrong but I think it was a particular incisively
> > critical comment in your "We Already Cut Off the Head of the King"
> > post which was the last straw.
>
> . . .
>
> Do you really think so? I must say that I would find that
> perplexing indeed.

I think it must have Dale's crack about Michael having a "widdle crush"
on me that did it.

;->

Dale Carrico said...

Although they have published a few of Michael's pieces over at IEET -- as they have other unaffiliated but incandescently brilliant thinkers like Natasha Vita More -- I don't think he has any official connection with that organization. Since he is a Good Soldier of sub(cult)ural transhumanism and singularitarianism, of course, that may change soon enough.

Eric said...

I remember when you were first invited to IEET, you said to me:

"Have they read my stuff?"

Then you went on to wonder how long until they got tired of your criticism of transhumanism and kicked you out.

Well, now you know. :)

jfehlinger said...

Let's give them credit for keeping their Web site
up to date.

Before:
http://209.85.207.104/search?q=cache:MucJQa9lUiQJ:ieet.org/index.php/IEET/staff+http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/staff&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

After:
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/staff


"'By 2050 earlier, probably -- all real knowledge of Oldspeak
will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will
have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron --
they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into
something different, but actually changed into something contradictory
of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will
change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan
like 'freedom is slavery' when the concept of freedom has been
abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact
there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means
not thinking -- not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.'

One of these days, thought Winston with sudden deep conviction,
Syme will be vaporized. He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly
and speaks too plainly. The Party does not like such people.
One day he will disappear. It is written in his face.

. . .

Syme had vanished. A morning came, and he was missing from work:
a few thoughtless people commented on his absence. On the next
day nobody mentioned him. On the third day Winston went into the
vestibule of the Records Department to look at the notice-board.
One of the notices carried a printed list of the members of the
Chess Committee, of whom Syme had been one. It looked almost
exactly as it had looked before -- nothing had been crossed out --
but it was one name shorter. It was enough. Syme had ceased to
exist: he had never existed."

Dale Carrico said...

They've been struggling to get back online after computer problems this weekend, I wouldn't be surprised if that rather creepy vaporization was just an artifact of difficulties they are still having getting changes to take as they get back up and running.

jfehlinger said...

Dale wrote:

> I wouldn't be surprised if that rather creepy vaporization
> was just an artifact of difficulties they are still having
> getting changes to take as they get back up and running.

Not a chance.

They've also eliminated the "Former Fellows" list -- maybe
just for your benefit.

Dale Carrico said...

Oy.

Dale Carrico said...

Well, it's not like they have any obligation to list formerly affiliated people.

It's fine, let's move on.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said: I have been thinking a little whether I will have an obligation to point this ejection out in some way in future references to techno-utopian and especially transhumanist politics, discourse, and organizations and especially IEET...

In the interest of full disclosure, I think you should point this ejection out only when you are specifically criticizing the IEET.

jfehlinger said: They've also eliminated the "Former Fellows" list -- maybe just for your benefit.

Dale Carrico said: Oy. Well, it's not like they have any obligation to list formerly affiliated people.

Actually, despite the "Former Fellows and Staff" section having been eliminated, your IEET Fellow bio page can still be found at http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/bio/carrico

Dale Carrico said: It's fine, let's move on.

Let's.

jfehlinger said...

> Actually, despite the "Former Fellows and Staff" section having been
> eliminated, your IEET Fellow bio page can still be found at
> http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/bio/carrico

Including -- wait for it -- the RSS-provided headline "Unperson"

That really is too hysterically funny -- Winston's employer,
Minitrue Recdep, would **never** have allowed such a thing to
happen!

You should grab a JPG of it before it disappears down the memory
hole.

Marc_Geddes said...

Hey join the club man,

I was kicked from extropy_list AND SL4 and wta-talk.

Not before my nose had been pushed into the dirt of course .

All I ever got from the transhumanist lists was general meanness. Glad to be gone, will never be back.

jfehlinger said...

"Wipe off that 'full of doubt' look,
Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy face!"

We're so sorry, uncle albert,
We're so sorry if we caused you any pain. . .

So long and thanks for all the fish.

cc to C & C:
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/kudoscc08/

One's jaw drops at the sheer grown-up sleaziness
of the smarm.

AnneC said...

Just to dispel any potential rumors/confusion: I did actually resign of my own accord from the IEET. I realized their priorities were somewhat more different from mine than I'd previously thought, and I have been wanting to reclaim some bandwidth for a while now anyway.

Dale Carrico said...

Anne, I was very surprised to find your name together with mine in the "sad report" (with its awful, chirpy, faux "thanks" at the end, ugh) that we weren't going to be "part" of IEET in the future. ("You are not of the body!" as that classic old Trek ep put it.) But I'm very relieved to hear that you did this on your own and weren't pressured to leave or anything, especially on account of some fallout associated with my recent unpersoning. Come what may, I'm sorry if this has been distressing for you, and hope you know how valuable I have always found your writings and perspective to be personally.

De Thezier said...

Dale said:

Anne, I was very surprised to find your name together with mine in the "sad report" (with its awful, chirpy, faux "thanks" at the end, ugh) that we weren't going to be "part" of IEET in the future. ("You are not of the body!" as that classic old Trek ep put it.)

From PSB American Experience Frontline: The Mormons: Interview Margaret Toscano:

the first thing that the stake president said to me is, he said, "I want you to know that the high council was very impressed with you." [Laughs.] And he said, "They were all amazed at how articulate you are and how passionate you are and what a nice person you are." ... So he started out with giving me all of these compliments.

Then he said: "However, you are excommunicated. We have found you to be an apostate." ... I'm a nice apostate, I guess, right? [Laughs.] I'm a nice apostate. ... Then he proceeded to explain to me what that meant, what the consequences of that are. And then at the end -- and this struck me as extremely bizarre on one level, that after he made the pronouncement and told me what it meant to be excommunicated, and the fact that you're not allowed to wear your temple garments, that you're not allowed to participate in meetings, that your name is no longer on the church records and all of your church ordinances are cancelled and so forth -- then when it was over, everybody got up. In fact, they were just always so concerned about being polite to me, and they all wanted to shake my hand. It just struck me as so bizarre on one level, that here you've excommunicated me, which means that I no longer can go to the celestial kingdom and be part of the community of Saints, and yet you want to shake my hand and tell me I'm a nice person and that you really weren't trying to do me any harm. It just struck me as so -- [Laughs.] -- ironic on a certain level.

Then I left, and they wanted to make sure they walked me out to the parking lot, because it was 10:30 at night, and so there was this politeness. ... In fact, I afterwards talked about sort of the horror of niceness -- that on the one hand they're cutting me off from eternal salvation and telling me that I'm this apostate, which really is considered very bad in Mormon culture, and then I'm this nice woman that they're going to shake my hand. There's something vicious about niceness that struck me in this -- that the niceness covered over the violence of what was being done, because, in fact, excommunication is a violent action. And yet you had this veneer of niceness that covers it over. That was horrifying to me. Afterward it almost made me shudder, that incongruity between the violence of that excommunication and the niceness of the discourse that went on.

De Thezier said...

AnneC said:

I did actually resign of my own accord from the IEET. I realized their priorities were somewhat more different from mine than I'd previously thought, and I have been wanting to reclaim some bandwidth for a while now anyway.

Hello Anne. Probably more than anyone, I understand and respect your decision. I therefore wish you luck in your other and new endeavors.

jfehlinger said...

De Thezier quoted (an excommunicated Mormon):

> I afterwards talked about sort of the horror of niceness --
> that on the one hand they're cutting me off from eternal salvation. . .,
> and [on the other that] I'm this nice woman [and] that they're
> going to shake my hand. There's something vicious about niceness that
> struck me in this -- that the niceness covered over the violence. . .
> That was horrifying to me. Afterward it almost made me shudder, that
> incongruity. . .

The image that comes to my mind is of a ship from which somebody's just
been cast overboard, yet there are Munchkins jumping up and down and
leaning over the railing and squealing "G'bye! Bye-bye!"

But no -- actually they're doing you a favor here! After the Singularity,
you must realize, the transhumanists of today will be revered as the
Saviors of the Universe, and their early texts will be revered as Holy
Writ (and needless to say those of their critics will be utterly
expunged from the Universal Megatext).

So you certainly don't want to have been mentioned unfavorably in that
Great Book in the Sky.

They're just making sure you'll be able to get a job, after the
Singularity. You should be grateful.

:-0

Marc_Geddes said...

>But no -- actually they're doing you a favor here! After the Singularity,
you must realize, the transhumanists of today will be revered as the
Saviors of the Universe, and their early texts will be revered as Holy
Writ (and needless to say those of their critics will be utterly
expunged from the Universal Megatext).

Oh I don't that. It wasn't enough for Eliezer to have his name up in lights for all eternity. He had to push the faces of all critics into the dirt and jump up and down on them with jack boots.

Anonymous said...

Whether the friendliness in the kudos is genuine or not is up to your interpretation but there remains the fact that it has two links, one to Amor Mundi, the other to Existence Is Wonderful. It also has a recommendation which makes it more likely than not that those readers who don't know about IEET internals take a look at the two blogs.

Just saying to give a bit of balance to other, rather dramatic takes on this "affair".

FrF

Dale Carrico said...

Yes, a good point. I was glad of that.

Marc_Geddes said...

Heads up chaps. Smile. Laugh.

*Geddes launches into a waltz and twirls his arms around*

tra la la...

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

De Thezier said...

One of my colleagues just informed me that some of you might be interested in reading the Wikipedia article on the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies now that it has been updated to reflect the fact that Dale Carrico is no longer an IEET Fellow:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_Ethics_and_Emerging_Technologies

Dale Carrico said...

I wrote a very critical reply to Saletan's review, quoted in that "revised" Wikipedia article (which I certainly don't expect to remain as it is for long, nor should it), which everybody can read here, and I still stand behind what I wrote there.

I disapprove of Saletan utterly, I disapprove of his view that transhumanists are to be repudiated because he finds them "weird." I daresay he might very well find a non-racist pro-choice queer like me "weird" too, even though I am not a transhumanist.

My problem with transhumanism is that it is too techno-utopian, too eugenicist, too reductionist, too complacently neoliberal, and I offer reasons for saying these things and reasons for disapproving of them. Reasons, not parochial complaints about "weirdness."

True, I ridicule the ridiculous, but in the context of a deep, wide-ranging, years-long substantial critique. I have no interest at all in being corralled into the company of Saletan, any more than corralled into the company of Robot Cultists.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said :

I wrote a very critical reply to Saletan's review, quoted in that "revised" Wikipedia article (which I certainly don't expect to remain as it is for long, nor should it), which everybody can read here, and I still stand behind what I wrote there.

Although everyone (including people attached to the IEET) are free to edit this article, no one can edit it in order to suppress critical views of the IEET. If anyone does that, the content will be restored.

I disapprove of Saletan utterly, I disapprove of his view that transhumanists are to be repudiated because he finds them "weird." I daresay he might very well find a non-racist pro-choice queer like me "weird" too, even though I am not a transhumanist.

Hmmm... I got a different impression reading that quote from Slate's article: Transhumanists may be weird but they might be on to something.

True, I ridicule the ridiculous, but in the context of a deep, wide-ranging, years-long substantial critique. I have no interest at all in being corralled into the company of Saletan, any more than corralled into the company of Robot Cultists.

Despite the "corralling" nature of a Reactions or Criticisms section in a Wikipedia article, I don't think anyone reading that article will come away thinking that Saletan and you are on the same side. Sections like these are only meant to present a wide range of reactions or criticisms from different quarters.

Dale Carrico said...

Although everyone (including people attached to the IEET) are free to edit this article, no one can edit it in order to suppress critical views of the IEET. If anyone does that, the content will be restored.

Hmm, interesting.

I don't think anyone reading that article will come away thinking that Saletan and you are on the same side.

Thank heavens!

I think some people (I don't mean you, Vladimir) are caught up in the rather silly perspective that one must be either transhumanist or biconservative on these questions, and since I'm so clearly anti-transhumanist now (why anybody would only have grasped this in the aftermath of the IEET incident is beyond me!) they think this means I'm cozying up to bioconservatives. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

I am equally displeased with bioconservatives as with transhumanists -- actually, bioconservatives may appall me a smidge more than transhumanists do -- and just as I don't agree one must be either a technophile nor a technophobe, I don't agree one must be either transhumanist or bioconservative.

Indeed, I tend to think of these as (on the one hand) clarifyingly extreme symptoms of more complex prevailing views on technodevelopmental issues and as (on the other hand) discursive cul-de-sacs that close off our access to more sensible perspectives.

I think that anybody who wants, as I do, to advocate legibly dem-left technoscience politics and participate in the process of democratizing technodevelopmental social structure and striving to ensure fairer distributions of technodevelopmental costs, risks, and benefits to the diverse stakeholders of those developments needs to set aside Hyperbolizing, Superlative, and Sub(cult)ural lenses for thinking of these issues, whether bioconservative, transhumanist, singularitarian, technocratic, neoliberal, or what have you.

Dale Carrico said...

Geddes, please don't spam the Moot with links to your own sooper brain theory to out sooper brain the sooper brains, please. I'm asking nicely. You'll also notice I deleted the post in question.

smartypants said...

WTA is to PIRA as IEET is to Sinn Fein.