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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Robot Cultists on the Bleeding Edge... Between Irrelevance and Infantilism

One of the key problems with the techno-transcendentalizing with-fulfillment fantasists of superlative futurology is that they typically say only two kinds of things -- commonplaces nobody needs them for and infantile impossibilities nobody in their right mind should ever take seriously.

Commonplaces nobody needs Robot Cultists to explain to them: technoscientific change can be really disruptive and impactful, turning to science to help solve those shared problems susceptible of its address is usually a good thing, all things equal and considered it is more desirable to live a longer, healthier, more capacious life than not.

Infantile impossibilities nobody in their right mind should ever take seriously but most Robot Cultists, definitively, do: a superintelligent post-biological Robot God may be on its way to end history and solve all our problems for us, our organismic brains can in principle and may soon in fact literally be "migrated" into cyberspace and this divestment of the flesh will be a marvelous thing, medical therapies are surely on the way to afford lucky people superlongevity and comicbook superpowers, possibly via scooping us up into robot bodies, constellations of programmed nanobots and software bots in immersive virtualities might soon deliver us a superabundance in which our every wish will be granted on the cheap, thus overcoming for good the impasse of stakeholder politics and, hence, yet again, ending history.

The former are near-vacuities, the latter are utter inanities, but it is also through retreat to the former that the Robot Cultists typically peddle the plausibility of the latter.

4 comments:

Summerspeaker said...

Do you consider these things literally impossible or merely implausible for the near future?

Dale Carrico said...

I am declaring these notions incoherent, I am not quibbling with charlatans about their fraudulent timelines.

jimf said...

> [W]ish-fulfillment fantasists of superlative futurology. . .
> typically say only two kinds of things -- commonplaces nobody
> needs them for and infantile impossibilities nobody in their right
> mind should ever take seriously. . . **but most Robot Cultists,
> definitively, do**: a superintelligent post-biological
> Robot God may be on its way to end history and solve all our
> problems for us, our organismic brains can in principle and may
> soon in fact literally be "migrated" into cyberspace and this
> divestment of the flesh will be a marvelous thing, medical therapies
> are surely on the way to afford lucky people superlongevity and
> comicbook superpowers, possibly via scooping us up into robot bodies,
> constellations of programmed nanobots and software bots in
> immersive virtualities might soon deliver us a superabundance in
> which our every wish will be granted on the cheap. . .

You know, if you squint out of the corner of your eye and
perform a mental exercise that the Objectivists call
"blanking out" (they consider it a vice), the above can
**almost** sound plausible to an SF-and-video-game-loving,
computer-nerd techie (young or old).

Can it be any worse than the stuff lapped up by the
less tech-savvy masses yearning to levitate their ashtrays?
(I almost said "trailer trash" but that's not a polite
phrase in politically-sensitive circles and besides, the
Hollywood types who fall for this stuff are far from
trailer trash. Um, mostly. Unless they're channeling
Anna Nicole Smith. [Shame on me! Or, as Kathy Griffin
would say. "Oooh, that's just **totally** inappropriate!"]).


http://thesecret.tv/
----------------------------
"The Secret reveals the most powerful law in the universe.
The knowledge of this law has run like a golden thread through
the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages
and saviors in the world's history, and through the lives
of all truly great men and women. All that they have ever
accomplished or attained has been done in full accordance
with this most powerful law.

Without exception, every human being has the ability to transform
any weakness or suffering into strength, power, perfect peace,
health, and abundance."


http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/Xenu/xenu-05.html
----------------------------
The next T[raining]R[outine] was called "Tone 40 on an object." . . .
"Tone 40," the Scientology dictionary explained, was
"a positive postulate with no counter-thought expected, anticipated
or anything else, that is, total control."

George sat beside me and put an ashtray in the chair across from me.
I read the instructions in the bulletin. Taking the ashtray in my hands,
I shouted in the loudest possible voice, "Stand up!" Then I raised
the ashtray off the chair and held it in midair. "Thank you,"
I acknowledged the ashtray. "Sit down on that chair!" I shouted,
lowering the ashtray back to the chair. "Thank you!" I shouted again.

"Not loud enough," George looked at me. "I don't feel your total
intention. Theoretically, if you do this drill with complete Tone 40,
the ashtray will rise by itself off the table. When you give the commands,
you can have no other intention than the commands. You're still
somewhat self-conscious."

He was right about that. I couldn't believe I was sitting here
yelling at an ashtray. . .

Khannea Suntzu said...

My theory is and remains that what you do is not as you say you do.

Dale, continue to be off the persuasion you are a hero. I think that in the past you came to an agreement with your fellow IEET friends and concluded 'yes our movement need a vocal, visible critic' ... 'someone unlikeble that would barrage away endlessly against our cause'.

After much deliberating it was then decided you to be that screeching raven on the marriage, the whining drunk uncle disturbing the wedding.

Dale, day one I read you, I loved you. You are a looker. I got the hots for you just looking at your pics. Damn, IRL I'd go down on my knees and I'd love sucking you off. You are so my type it's scary. But Dale love, I see you. I can smell you. You are scamming the place. I can see it as plainly as the wacom in front of me.

Dale you are my HERO. Someone had to do this job, and you do it with flair and charm - being the totally unlikeable half hysterical drooling critic of transhumanism. Thanks Dale. it's a tough job but someone had to do it.

Next time I am town wanna meet for coffee?