[O]nly a minority of people in the world are in fact white guys… only a minority of people with whom tomorrow will be made and shared are in fact white guys… only a minority of people in the world impacted by technodevelopmental changes are in fact white guys… only a minority of people in the world who are well informed and have important things to say about matters of technoscience are in fact white guys and hence [the] endless ongoing parade of techno-transcendentalizing white guys fancying themselves spokesmen for "The Future" is actually an enormously perplexing thing. Of course, the public proponents of this stealth-transhumanist outfit [IEET] have far more problems on their hands than just this weirdly abiding issue of non-representativeness... Nonetheless, I do think that their apparent inability to take seriously or be taken seriously, institutionally, for long by anybody but white guys is a symptom that graphically gives the lie to their pretensions to represent anything like a serious professional academic mainstream-intelligible bioethics or technoscience policy think-tank rather than the sanewashing operation for their Robot Cult that they look to me to be.
In the Moot, Friend of blog Martin offered up some interesting points about that post I'm reproducing in the following exchange:
You point this out every week, but I think a bigger white guy problem needs to be addressed.
Even if you are right, this doesn't get the Robot Cultists off the particular hook they are twisting on. Far from it.
The technologies that will impact our lives over the next few decades will be created by scientists and engineers who are still mostly white guys. The kinds of technologies and technodevelopmental programs that will be considered worthy of pursuing will mostly be driven by the psychological and cultural peculiarities of white guys
I don't think one can say either of these things with anything like your confidence!
In saying this, however, my point is certainly not to deny the urgency of a feminist politics of science education for girls and support of women in research and an increased focus on the impacts on women and children of technodevelopmental change under conditions of patriarchy, and so on.
But I'll admit that I don't personally think my exposure of the weird white guyness of the Robot Cult is addressed by these actually mainstream feminist concerns. I think the whiteness and guyness of futurology bespeaks more than the structural sexism of our culture in general or science more specifically, at least historically, and I think its exhibition among Robot Cultists is of a different scope and shape and insistence than is playing out in the technoscience practice and policy more generally (though, no doubt, one can sketch continuities).
This is especially the case when we turn to technodevelopmental theory and policy deliberation -- the domains most relevant to the actual sorts of content (such as it is) that transhumanists are peddling and aspiring to be seen as contributors to. I personally find STS and EJ [Science and Technology Studies and Environmental Justice Movement/Critique] scholarship and activism to provide the most relevant and congenial discourse in these areas, and if you peruse the organizations and conferences and publications and course work associated with these formations you will discover that they are incomparably more diverse than the robot cultists are. Believe me, they've got their problems, too, but we're talking a whole different world here.
To me, the background of the people actually building the future is far more important than the background of activists and cheerleaders on the sidelines.
Technodevelopmental social struggle is actually articulated by regulation, funding, education in its substance. And so I would include scholars and policy-makers together with laboratory researchers and funders and so on among the ones who today are "building together" tomorrow!
There is, I agree, little use for "cheerleading" in the facilitation of equitable consensual outcomes for any of these tomorrow-building pursuits, though I understand scam artists have a lot to gain from their employment of such cheerleaders.
As I like to put the point: Mainstream futurology is just corporate-military PR/advertising discourse, while superlative futurology amplifies the advertising hyperbole into the promise of personal transcendence and the PR fraud into outright organized religiosity.
So, more women in science, then, right?
But, again, I don't think one learns much from yoking together too tightly the ways in which science and secular democracy can benefit from the inclusion of more women among its guiding voices, and the more idiosyncratic difficulties of Robot Cultists who can't seem to find ways of peddling their white-boy circle-jerks as attractions to women who know better.