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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Space Hotel!

Upgraded from the Moot:
OK, so you and I agree then, we should expose, condemn, and ridiculed [sic] such claims and aspirations like space hotels and cloning Neanderthals (though let's not expose, condemn, or ridicule establishing universal health insurance, or sustainable energy, even though it's anyone's guess which are more unlikely). If you are saying that we should ridicule merely because something is extremely unlikely, and not make a judgment on the wisdom of the idea itself, then you are falling into their game of talking about how feasible it is. And when there are more important things to worry about, it's important to get us (as many of 'us' as possible) working on the right things and not on the wrong things, not based on what's feasible, but on what is good.

What is infeasible is never "good" in any sense that makes any sense to me, so I fail to see your point. And I am forever exposing the wrongheaded deeper assumptions and aspirations that underlie the arrant foolishness at the surface of futurological discourses, so I fail to see your complaint.

Be that as it may, there are many socially democratic countries with something like single-payer healthcare and there are any number of actually existing LEEDS-certified and/or perfectly functional off-grid residences and buildings that might reasonably be described as sustainable by my lights. There are no space hotels or cloned Neanderthals, nor will there be either of these before something much more like single-payer healthcare in the US and an order of magnitude more residences and buildings in the US deserve to be described as sustainable will come into existence. Yes, we can ridicule the one and not the other.

There is little point in pretending to have an "opinion," properly so-called, about non-existing nor even actually practically hypothecized space hotels or cloned Neanderthals in my view, because few to none of the actual details on the basis of which informed and relevant opinions would be proffered have any substantial existence in respect to these at this time.

At this point, all such discussions, "pro" and "con" -- whatever that is even supposed to mean in respect to space hotels or cloned Neanderthals -- seem to me to function essentially as indulgences in wish-fulfillment fantasy and dread-dullard paranoia, and are of little practical use to anybody while they are clearly distractions from matters of actual concern in the actual world, while at once being prejudicial without cause and hence obfuscatory to any eventual developments that come to be connected to them should they actually come to be matters of actual concern in the actual world.

Well, come to think of it, I guess I should take that back a bit, since I suppose such crap-talk does seem to provide media attention and even fair to middling bucks to certain unscrupulous dunderheads who are willing and eager to unload a line of hype in this mode to fleece the rubes (among the lower reaches of the Robot Cult archipelago of transhumanists and techno-immortalists and digital-utopians) and suck a little elite corporate-militarist cock (among the higher ranks where the more mainstream neoliberal/neoconservative futurologists and unthinking think-tankers make their various plays).

And so, I guess that sort of thing is of something like "practical use" to a limited few people, but, after all, nobody with any real dignity or sense wants to be those guys.


John Howard said...

So far the "actual details" on which to base an opinion are that it would cost money and time and effort and fossil fuels, and have unknown benefit and high risks of catastrophic failure. That's enough for me to have an opinion about whether it should be done, in fact, I can't help but have an opinion after just catching a whiff of the idea that someone might be thinking of doing something. Depending on the sum total of my worries and fears and hopes about the general idea being discussed, I can't help but have an opinion on whether it should be allowed, banned, taxed, subsidized, enforced, limited, etc. I don't understand how you are able to pretend not to have an opinion just because it isn't a hundred years in the past and is finally a settled matter of factual concern, safe to say what we should have done.

Dale Carrico said...

Dude, nobody's building a space hotel. Pretending otherwise, even to complain about it, makes you as imbecilic as the futurologists who are waiting for the nerd rapture.