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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mea Culpa to the Singularitarians, Transhumanoids, and Techno-Immortalists

It's been twenty years since I started sparring with Extropian transhumanoids online and a decade since I began to elaborate my formal critique of Superlative Futurology, and I am forced to confess, here at the end of history, in Techno-Heaven, in my prosthetically barnacled, forever young, model-hott comic book sooper-bod, next to the sexbot orgy pit and my gold-plated nano-poop pile, under the loving beneficent ministrations of the post-parental post-biological Robot God, that I was obviously so, so very wrong to doubt all the compelling arguments and well-substantiated predictions of the sooper-elite, sooper-brained, sooper-scientific White Guys of The Future in the many righteous sects of the futurological Robot Cult for so long. Now that we actually live in The Future you believed in so fervently for so long, the verdict quite simply is in, and as I am sure you luminously reasonable people would be the first to do if the results were otherwise, I publish hereby my change of mind and of heart to the world. Thanks be to the Robot God, you were right.

4 comments:

jimf said...

Well, it's about time! After all, it says so in books.

See, I just got back from a peregrination through Barnes & Noble,
and I stumbled on this gem:
http://www.amazon.com/Our-Final-Invention-Artificial-Intelligence/dp/0312622376/

A paean to Yudkowsky, Friendly AI, MIRI (so-called -- gee, it's up-to-date!),
etc., etc.

Well, the guy doesn't know any better. He's a documentary
film maker. ;->

nym dong said...

@jimf

>Our-Final-Invention-Artificial-Intelligence

but does it beat the late "Transhumanist Wager" in its nuttiness? It was a hot title a few months back.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transhumanist_Wager

For anyone interested, it's a "philosophical" novel by Ayn Rand- I mean Zoltan Istvan, lauded in the "relevant" circles as the new Atlas Shrugged with a transhumanist-libertopian Galt-like protagonist. What the world has come to: we now write philosophical works based on science fictional fantasies, not the other way around.

Dale Carrico said...

One wonders if Istvan's agitprop (which is what "philosophical" novels usually amount to -- quite a travesty of the philosophical term but to be expected from True Believer sorts I suppose) can possibly match the uncomfortably clumsy creepiness of Extropian fave Halperin's First Immortal or the high camp hilarities of John Wright's Golden Age extravaganzas. It's interesting that the most interesting and yet still sympathetic literary explorations of superlative themes (Aristoi, Holy Fire, Diaspora, Accelerando) seem to have been written by authors on record as critics -- some of them ferociously so -- of the Robot Cultists and their ideology in reality. Nagata and Vinge may be exceptions to my generalization, I don't know where Nagata stands nor whether Vinge has had second thoughts.

jimf said...

> but does it beat the late "Transhumanist Wager" in its nuttiness?

That one I missed. Maybe B&N didn't bother to stock it.
Presumably I would have encountered it in the "new science fiction"
section (though I don't suppose it would count as "new"
by now). I'll have to keep an eye out. ;->

"Our Final Invention" is, of course, "nonfiction".
It was in the "science" section. Uh huh.

I did actually give in and buy the paperback of Kurzweil's
"How To Create a Mind" back at the beginning of September.
I never saw that one at B&N either, but I ran into a copy
at the Harvard Coop while I was visiting a friend in Boston.

> the most interesting and yet still sympathetic literary
> explorations of superlative themes (Aristoi, Holy Fire, Diaspora,
> Accelerando) seem to have been written by authors on record as
> critics -- some of them ferociously so -- of the Robot Cultists
> and their ideology in reality

That must've stung some people no end (though they sort of
had to put a brave face on it -- you can't just turn around
and call somebody like Greg Egan a "Luddite"). _Zendegi_
was a **hoot**. Giulio Prisco's review of it for H+ Magazine
was remarkably restrained (though he does honestly acknowledge
the book's critical stance).
http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/01/31/book-review-zendegi-by-greg-egan/