For technoprogressives it can be excruciating to witness the persistence with which spurious objections to promising technologies wield massive influence over public policy, law and attitudes. This article explores what is arguably the main underlying reason for this -- namely fear -- and what are the options for addressing this underlying fear.Of course, there is no such thing as "technology in general" that it makes any real sense to monolithically "fear" or "desire" or whatever, and it is hard to know what transhumanoid types even mean when they speak of "promising technologies," since they love to pretend that things that don't exist and show no signs of existing any time soon are "promising technologies" about which this pesky relentless nonexistence then probably counts as a "spurious objection" to talking about them at all as opposed to talking about actually existing things instead. Needless to say, it is at least sometimes the case that some people who would otherwise benefit from the adoption of a new technology fail to do so out of ignorance or misplaced fear, just as at least as often some people adopt a new technology needlessly or to their actual detriment out of ignorance or misinformation or credulousness, just as others don't adopt a new technology because they actually know better. Also, needless to say: nobody ever joined a Robot Cult to gain insight of this kind. "Look before you leap" isn't exactly rocket science, after all (although it's a proverb from which rocket scientists are likely to benefit as much as everybody else).
I have observed that transhumanoids truly love to congratulate themselves on the fearlessness with which they assert how cool magic would be if it were real. They actually seem to fancy that it is the darned "deathism" of all the non True Believers out there that makes cryonic hamburgerization a scam instead of a Royal Road to resurrection in a shiny robot body or uploading as a cyberspatial sex-angel any day now, or they seem to fancy that it is the impoverished imaginations of the naysayers that are keeping those Drextech nano-genies-in-a-bottle from unleashing the superabundance that will overcome the impasse of stakeholder politics at last. And so, they actually behave as though putting on a self-esteem seminar "can do" face and clapping louder and balling up their fists with fervor actually amounts to a kind of activism or something, and as though their wish-fulfillment fantasizing constitutes earnest progressivism somehow (questions of the actually equitable distribution of the actual costs, risks, and benefits of actually existing and actually ongoing technodevelopmental changes to the actual diversity of their actual stakeholders are of negligible interest to these visionary "thought leaders," natch).
Wicks proposes that the main obstacle to progress is fear, but I would say that the main obstacle to progress is plutocracy. I think it is convenient for privileged people to attribute fears of change to majorities suffering from repression and exploitation. Usually this sort of outrageous attribution is merely a prelude to their advocacy in the name of "fearlessness" of all sorts of extraordinarily reckless behavior the costs and risks of which will thereupon inevitably be externalized right back onto those same majorities. Visionary! Brave! As it happens, there is nothing to be congratulated in a tendency to write checks your ass can't cash (three-hundred year life-spans! poverty-evaporating nanobotic treasure caves! profitable corporate-military "geo-engineering" technofixes for climate change and resource descent! and on and on and on), and everybody knows by now that the snake-oil salesmen who crow about how there are "No Limits!" are all really just assholes who believe that there will always be suckers around in the background to clean up their messes for them. In a surprise move, I do not share the view of those who want to declare this kind of dumb damned dangerous delusive distracting con-artistry as a kind of sublime insight, optimism, risk-taking, innovation, talent, beneficence or progressivism. (It's not.)