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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On My Secret Belief That "We Will Leave Our Meat Bodies Behind And Become Cyber Angels"

The Robot Cultists at a transhumanoid outfit calling itself The Turing Church (not kidding) have noticed my Some Questions For A "Mind Uploading" Enthusiast piece and have this to say about it:
Spirer [the enthusiast being questioned by me --d] has earned a transhumanist badge of honor with his H+ Magazine article: he has been flamed by Dale Carrico himself, no less… I suspect that Carrico understands, as well as I do, that someday we will leave our meat bodies behind and become cyber angels. The difference is that he doesn’t like the idea, and I do.
In the piece I propose that the notion of "mind uploading" is actually conceptually incoherent and laughably ridiculous in countless different ways. What I absolutely do understand about "mind uploading" discourse is that is a farrago of ill-digested metaphors, pseudo-scientific notions, wish-fulfillment fantasies, and futurological con-artistry. I suspect that nobody who reads my critique truly suspects anything but the absolute conviction of my stated positions and my utter disdain about their techno-faithful nonsense. Now, I daresay plenty of people would agree that living forever in cyber heaven as a cyber angel might be nicer than the way reality will turn out instead, ceteris paribus, but that is surely neither here nor there? I disagree with those who seem to think there is anything particularly sophisticated or useful about spending lots of thinking how magic would be cool if it were real.

This would-be priest in the transhumanoid techno-immortalist PR con-job goes on to praise Martine Rothblatt's championing of the pseudo-scientific faith-based initiative "vitology" I critique in another piece as:
Robot Cultist Martine Rothblatt’s denunciation of what she calls the “fiction” that biology is really the scientific study of life processes and living organisms given the fact that this science (so called! Ha!) does not accommodate fictional forms of robotic and software “life” (that don’t, you know, exist and stuff)... Rothblatt has gone on modestly to propose that to avoid this “confusion” that only she feels, we all need to start using a neologism she has just now come up with -- “vitology” -- when referring from here on out to the scientific study of life. Rothblatt airily declares that “Vitology includes biological life as well as cybernetic life.” Well, Martine, you should know. You just made the term up, after all. It can mean whatever you need it to mean, dear. I am sorry to say, however, that this act of assertive stipulation in a vacuum doesn’t actually bring the “cybernetic life” presumably included within it into actual existence. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that “vitology” will take a confused world by storm, and a host of biology textbooks and biology department letterhead across the planet is even now being bagged for disposal.
Probably the Robot Cultists at the Turing Church would read this as an endorsement of their True Beliefs as well? After all, for the True Believer what wouldn't amount to such a confirmation? As it happens, of course, every robot cultist is going to die. Every one. And every transhumanist and singularitarian and cryonicist and calorie-restriction supplement nut who devotes prolonged energy to the contrary belief will not only still die just the same, but is likely to be a little more dead while still alive than they otherwise would be if they faced the facts squarely and lived accordingly.

1 comment:

jollyspaniard said...

What an argument, "he doesn't believe what he's saying, he's just being grumpy." It's reminicsent of the classic Scientology argument "why does this scare you?". Obviously you agree with us, you just lack courage!