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Friday, May 25, 2012

Robot Cultist Admits He's A Robot Cultist

I've been pointing out the obvious for years and he's been whining about me calling him mean names for all those years, but Giulio Prisco has now proudly declared that he is a full on fulminating wish-fulfilment fantasist skimming a few hyperbolic tech company press releases and some new agey pop-tech journalism clichés and some hoary science fiction conventions and mixing them into a faith-based initiative dreaming of Making It Big and becoming Raelianism or Scientology or Mormonism some day. The Very Serious Futurologists at the would-be stealth Robot Cult outfit IEET, the so-called "Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies" (of which Prisco is a Director) have published Prisco's declaration and it has attracted enormous positive comment there, exactly as I would expect. For more on the transhumanoid, singularitarian, techno-immortalist, nano-cornucopian, digital-utopian varieties of Robot Cultism, take a look at my Condensed Critique of Transhumanism.

1 comment:

jimf said...

> Giulio Prisco has now proudly declared that he is a full-on
> fulminating wish-fulfilment fantasist. . . [whipping up]
> a faith-based initiative [and] dreaming of Making It Big and
> becom[ing] Raelianism or Scientology or Mormonism some day.

Yeah, he's been tipping his cards on an out-and-out Transhumanist Religion
for some time now.

E.g., I mentioned, in the comments to
Some amusing remarks from the comment thread of
"Three arguments against the singularity"
by Charlie Stross

. . . Short version: **Santa Claus doesn't exist**. . .

Giulio Prisco
June 25, 2011

. . .In reply to: "I can't disprove [the Simulation Argument], either.
And it has a deeper-than-superficial appeal, insofar as it offers
a deity-free afterlife... it would make a good free-form framework
for a postmodern high-tech religion. Unfortunately it seems
to be unfalsifiable, at least by the inmates (us)."

My question is, what is wrong with this. Some persons function better
_in this life_ if they can persuade themselves to contemplate the
possibility of an afterlife compatible with the scientific worldview.
They become happier and better persons, help others, and try to make
the world a better place.

In other words, the pursuit of personal happiness without harming
others. Charlie, what the fuck is wrong with this?

Charlie Stross
June 25, 2011

Nothing's wrong with that particular outcome.

Where it goes wrong is when the belief system in question acquires
a replicator meme ("tell all your friends the good news!"),
a precedence meme ("all other beliefs are misguided!") and finally
goes on a bender and turns mean ("unbelievers are soulless scum!
Kill them all before they pollute our children's precious minds
with their filth!").

That's why I take a negative view of religions in general.
It's not what the founders say or think, it's not about what
the mild-mannered ordinary folks who use it as a compass to
guide them through life's heartache think ... it's all about
the authoritarian power structures that latch onto them for
legitimization, and the authoritarian followers
(_pace_ Altermeyer et al) who take their insecurity out on
the neighbourhood.

Giulio Prisco
June 25, 2011

Of course I totally agree with this, which why I also take a
negative view of _traditional_ religions. Yet, I keep hoping
that we can find ways to use the positive aspects of religion
(relief from life's heartache) without falling into the negative
aspects. . .

Charlie Stross
June 25, 2011

I have a nasty cynical suspicion that the gap between an intriguing
speculative belief system and a traditional religion is about
one generation.

(Today's Christian baptist fundamentalists are only 100 years removed
from their founders, who were a much more flexible and free-thinking
group. They went from questioning and skeptical reformists to doctrinaire
authoritarians in just two generations, as I understand it.)