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Sunday, September 02, 2012

If You're A Robot Cultist "There Is No Such Thing As Bad Press"

Here's Giulio Prisco on Cryonet, using his inside voice among other Robot Cultists:
There is no such a thing as bad press. Dale is working for us, and for free. We just have to stimulate him now and then, and he will work nights to tell people about our ideas. Some of his readers won't like us, but some will.
While it is certainly true for flim-flam artists and guru wannabes and sideshow impresarios that it's all about attracting as many marks to the scam as possible and so that "there is no such thing as bad publicity" -- this is farthest thing from true if you are a serious scientist or thinker or policy maker.

He is right by the way: Robot Cultists who say batshit crazy things in public places are indeed liable to attract my attention and get exposed to ridicule. To the extent that "singularitarians" and "enhancement" advocates are now seeking to sanewash their Robot Cult for corporate dollars and mainstream academic interest I'm sure that they will be very encouraged about Prisco's attitude.


Anonymous said...

Yes, folks, it's time for another installment of Fun With Cryonics Irony!

In the immortal words of (mortal) Max Planck:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die....

The fact is, and Max Planck would agree, the last best hope for the blossoming of cryonics into the mainstream of scientific consensus and the opening of the floodgates of research and funding to conquer death is - wait for it - death itself! Maybe once enough of the scoffers are dead, cryonics will finally catch on.

So, cryonaughts, keep working on your indefinite lifespans and overcoming death, but don't work too hard! Death is on your side!

Dale Carrico said...

Definitely once all the mortals are dead only not-mortals will be left.

jimf said...

Another Mike Darwin observation. (He has an interesting
perspective on things.)
Among the most clueless of the clueless are the Transhumanists.
I like Danila Medvedev (the father of the Russian TH movement) –
he is smart, full of ideas, interesting and passionate.
On a long train journey from Moscow to Voronezh we were
arguing about the role of emotions in cognitionm and about
their utility in daily life, and Danila took the position
that emotions were deleterious – something to be gotten rid
of so that clear, rational thinking was possible. This led
me to me to observe that the core problem with Transhumanism
is that has neglected the very important reality that in
order to become trans human, it is first necessary to master
being human. It is in the very nature of Transhumanism
that it selectively filters from the population people who
have been frustrated in their task of learning to be human.
It’s very appealing to be told that your failings are virtues,
and that you can skip ahead in evolution from being untermensch
to being ubermensch. There is charm in this, because is it
the essence of boyish desire to awake one day and find that
you are Superman.

jimf said...

And another:
[O]ne class of people cryonics filters for with exquisite precision
is the sociopath. IMO Robert Nelson was the first of these (and the
most visible) to do great harm, but there have been many others,
and the damage they’ve wrought has arguably been just as great,
if almost invisible to the pubic, and to cryonics community itself.
Beyond this extreme type, there is the more general problem of lack
of diversity and a monoculture of people who are “information handling
types” who are largely divorced from handling matter and the problems
that attend thereto.

I must give Jerry Leaf great credit for seeing this years before
I did. He was very unhappy with the introduction of Nanotechnology
into cryonics and he had considerable contempt for the kind of people
it attracted. He would not infrequently express his feelings with
a snort and shake of the head, but he was never either able,
or willing to articulate his reasons at length. I know he thought
the idea of Nanomechanical cell repair machines was so much hokum,
because we did have discussions about the limits of reversible damage,
and how repair might be undertaken, when possible. But what I failed
to grasp was his distaste for what the ideas of Nanotechnology in
cryonics were doing to the composition of people being recruited.
On the other hand, it was those very ideas that were in part
responsible for the expansion in recruitment – which had been
slight prior to their introduction. This experience has served
to make me achingly aware that the message can and will shape the
medium you find yourself immersed in. That’s one of my core
objectives here – to recast the message in a way that is at once
more honest and more effective at recruiting the kind of people
cryonics needs if it is to prosper – and that we personally need
if we want to survive. As it is, cryonics is a uni-dimensional
and inhuman thing which makes most people with empathy and feelings
uncomfortable to be involved with. It also disproportionately
empowers people who are just plain deadly and dangerous to deal with.

What’s more, the concentration of such “weirdness,” to use your
adjective, is self-sustaining and off-putting.

jimf said...

One more:
"More now than then, I understand that religion was and still is
an invaluable coping tool for our species. It contains elements
important to the retention of our sanity in the face of great
loss and hopelessness, which cannot simply be discarded absent
replacement technology. If we fail to adapt and craft viable
replacements for those invaluable elements of religion, we will
fail when subjected to the extreme stressors that religion has
classically helped human beings to survive. Travel to horribly
insecure and chronically dangerous places in the world and what
you will see in almost everyone’s hands at almost all times when
people are not engaged in labor is some kind of prayer technology.
It’s a distraction and stress relieving device. In cultures
where it is permissible, you will often see this technology plus
one or two pharmacological stress relieving technologies,
such as alcohol and/or tobacco – and sometimes three – or four in
combination (i.e., betelnut and caffeine)! Devices to inflict
pain on a chronic basis, as well as hunger are also used.
Almost no one thinks of these things as “coping technologies,”
but that, and the belief structures that accompany them, are
exactly what they are. . .

The problem with immortality is that it is not really immortality.
Immortality is an illusion or an ideal, depending upon your
perspective – it’s really a constant battle of life against
death – extended indefinitely. That sounds great, and it is,
but you must realize that once you expand your timescale
indefinitely, problems that were invisible suddenly become of
great concern. Today, everyone is focused only the fact that
their contemporary problems will vanish: no more wrinkled skin,
no more cancer… but what they don’t realize is that by expanding
their timescale to “forever” they have widened the event
horizon of their problems and exploded the degree of the
uncertainty they will have to deal with. In fact, they increased
it infinitely. Whilst their uncertainty will be infinite,
at any given moment their time and resources will always be
FINITE. In short, they’re gonna need some mighty big worry
bead technology."

From the same comment thread:
"Best anxiety reduction can be obtained by lots of little calculations
and speculations about uploading and the singularity."

> The problem with immortality is that it is not really immortality.

"What had seemed to us at first the irresistible march of
god-like world-spirits, with all the resources of the universe
in their hands and all eternity before them, was now
gradually revealed in very different guise. The great advance
in mental calibre, and the attainment of communal mentality
throughout the cosmos, had brought a change in the experience
of time. The temporal reach of the mind had been very
greatly extended. The awakened worlds experienced an aeon
as a mere crowded day. They were aware of time's passage
as a man in a canoe might have cognizance of a river which in
its upper reaches is sluggish but subsequently breaks into
rapids and becomes swifter and swifter, till, at no great
distance ahead, it must plunge in a final cataract down
to the sea... Comparing the little respite that remained with
the great work which they passionately desired to accomplish,
namely the full awakening of the cosmical spirit, they saw
that at best there was no time to spare, and that, more
probably, it was already too late to accomplish the task...

The sense of the fated incompleteness of all creatures and
of all their achievements gave... a charm, a sanctity,
as of some short-lived and delicate flower."

-- Olaf Stapledon, _Star Maker_
Chapter X, "A Vision of the Galaxy"

jimf said...

> Here's Giulio Prisco on Cryonet. . .

Oh dear. From the same comment thread:
Re: [New_Cryonet] Amor Mundi discussion
Posted By: [Eugen Leitl]
Fri Aug 31, 2012

On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 06:20:39PM -0700, Max More wrote:

> Yes, I know, I know. I shouldn't have bothered to comment on Carrico's
> crap. He's consigned me to his imaginary "Robot Cult" (a phrase he repeats
> over and over and over again like... a robot) and won't actually ever
> engage in productive discussion. Anyone who has read even a few pieces by
> him knows what a nasty piece of work he is. As a professional rhetorician,
> he's much more interested in looking clever and putting down his opponents
> than seeking truth.

It's useless to wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.

I used to have a high opinion of Mr. Leitl.

Dale Carrico said...

I had the exact same thought about Leitl. He's spending too much time in bad company.

Summerspeaker said...

Hi Dale,

What about if you're a criminal queer bent on making total destroy? Does bad publicity exist then? (Yes, I've been reading Queer Ultraviolence: A Bash Back! Anthology.)

Wishing you a super serious evening,

Dale Carrico said...

As a fellow queer who is a believer in and teacher of nonviolent revolution I have to say there are more constructive, expressive, joyful, effective ways to resist evil than in exhausting ultimately ineffectual usually narcissistic quests for total destruction. That said, I'm not gonna lie, I get real mad sometimes, too.