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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Re-Public Piece

The journal Re-Public has published a piece of mine called Superlative Futurology. Most of the arguments there will be quite familiar to readers here. The piece appears together with a number of others that are considerably more sympathetic to transhumanism and futurology than I am myself, and I will be reviewing each of the other contributions as time allows.


Anonymous said...

From Mark:

Hi Dale,

I support your criticism of Transhumanism but I still support a Transhumanist organisation with a mandate to support and influence the achievement of the following goals:

Freedom: of scientific research on human enhancement. (Due to conservative resistance to such goals)

Development: of targeted feasible and practical research programs that have maximum impact on improving societal and individual conditions. (Due to misplaced focus of limited resources)

Access: of all global stakeholders to the process of technological development and its outcomes (Due to the existing inequalities both within and between countries)


Dale Carrico said...

Commitment to safe, accountable technoscience research, public investment in useful sustainable development, and equitable distribution of developmental costs and benefits (your three "goals") are completely mainstream progressive attitudes. You don't have to join a Robot Cult to support these attitudes, and the fact is that nobody actually does join a Robot Cult for these reasons, however often they get trotted out in the glossy Robot Cult brochures to whomp up support in the general public.

The overabundant majority of people committed to these mainstream notions are not transhumanists nor will they ever be, meanwhile the overabundant majority of people who actually identify as transhumanists have in common instead highly idiosyncratic views about personal transcendence through technology, parochial ideas about what constitutes "enhancement," and attitudes about the urgency and proximity of superintelligent Robot Gods, prosthetic or genetic superlongevity techniques, or automatic superabundance.

Add to all this the actual lingering impact within transhumanist sub(cult)ures of influential market-fundamentalist ideologues who disdain the very values in whose name you claim to endorse transhumanism, add to this the structural tendencies to anti-democracy in technocratic elitism, and also in the fetishization of megascale engineering and geoengineering preferentially benefiting incumbent corporate-militarist constituencies, and also in the glib depoliticized deployment of the contested term "enhancement" as though it were technical or neutral, and in so many other way...

I must say, I cannot quite understand where you are coming from here, Mark.

RadicalCoolDude said...

If anyone thinks Carrico is exagerating in his critique of transhumanism one simply needs to read Giulio Prisco's "Ten Cosmist Convictions". All doubts will be erased and laughter will ensue.