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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Stoopid Footure, It Burns!

Over at the pop-tech fanzine h+ (that stands for what Robot Cultists call "humanity plus," and if you don't know what that means, well, you're probably humanity minus), Jason Xu enthuses about a weekly "health extension salon" -- that's a PR massaged phrase for eugenic "enhancement" and techno-immortalism, a kind of Vegas-style boner pill and nutritional supplement store, ThighMaster ad, power of positive thinking cattle call, anti-aging kreme/baldness cure snake oil late nite informercial, but amplified and hyperbolized into a religious faith promising immortality, paradise, and sooper powers. At this oh so California futurological discussion group these guys are "implementing programs" for techno-transcendence. They are divided into four "action groups" (I love this part): "Biotechnology, Branding&Influence, Fundraising, and ." Yes, the last one is a blank space. Xu calls this an "exciting chance to advance longevity via science" -- but I am not sure that word science means what he thinks it does. "Branding&Influence?" Classic! I shudder to think what kind of Kurzweilian tapwater infusion and bran-scan immortalization handwaving gets enthused about in the "Biotechnology Action Group"!

I think Stoopid Footure quick hits may need to become a regular feature.


jimf said...

> "health extension salon" -- that's a PR massaged phrase
> for eugenic "enhancement" and techno-immortalism, a kind
> of Vegas-style boner pill and nutritional supplement store,
> ThighMaster ad, power of positive thinking cattle call,
> anti-aging kreme/baldness cure snake oil late nite informercial,
> but amplified and hyperbolized. . .

But where can I get an IQ-boosting colonic?
* is, according to his LinkedIn profile (which
I refuse to link here), the VP of Cloud Security at Trend Micro -
a Silicon Valley tech company. Neither he nor his employer has
any experience in human biology or nutrition. * Makes all sorts
of fantastical claims about himself: "He upgraded his brain
by >20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 lbs
without using calories or exercise." * Has an entire page of
testimonials, which he frequently cites as "evidence". * Has an
entire site dedicated to product-peddling, including the ubiquitous
six-second abs and even a $60 "earthing mat", if you can believe
that. Go ahead, see for yourself. * Is, in short, not much different
from every other con artist and MLM out there on the web selling
colon cleansers and magnetic bracelets; he just likes to use
technobabble instead of conventional pseudoscience, hoping to woo
the geeks out there who don't fall for the usual snake oil.

But, but, but. . . He's endorsed by Michael Vassar, President
of the Singularity Institute! He gives lectures at
Singularity University!

joe said...

Did they just stick glib buzzwords and pop phrases together and call it a plan?

joe said...

Oh, and a I hope everyone on here has a happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.


Anonymous said...

The Voice of the NEW generation of transhoomanusts :

Dinelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dale Carrico said...

"Dinelle" wrote (and then thought better of it while I was responding, it seems):

The Health Extension Salon is mostly made up of geneticists, entrepreneurs, molecular biologists and people who support their work. The group is simply trying to cure diseases (thus live longer and healthier lives) by better understanding our DNA and how to stop mutations that cause deadly ailments. Jason Xu (who is a proclaimed transhumanist) is one of the supporters. Most of us are not transhumanists and we do not preach about immortality. We are actual scientists who work in labs to try and cure cancer, heart disease, alzheimers, etc... This is one of our partners: We can't help it if fringe sites like H+ write about us. By critiquing this kind of work/our community with such a sharp tongue you are actually contributing to the blockages in society that prevent breakthrough medical research from getting significant funding and support. The truth is that genetic research is saving lives and there may very well be therapies emerging in our lifetimes that make it possible to be youthful at age 100. Certainly concerns emerge with that possibility, but hey... people only used to live to be 40. It's responses like this blog post that necessitate Branding and Influence brainstorming. We find ourselves often wondering "Why do people hate us even though we are working to cure the diseases that kill them and the people they love?" I respectfully ask that you take this post down. You are perpetuating negative and false myths that make it harder for us to do the work we need to do to cure diseases. Seriously. Thanks.

You respectfully ask that I take this post down? Not a chance! And I reserve my respect for the respectable. I do not "hate" you, you utterly silly person, I simply deny your hyperbole and disapprove of the line you are peddling the rubes (possibly including yourself, but I doubt it).

Conrtrary to your accusation, I have not perpetuated a single myth or falsehood in my post (anybody can follow the link, I provided it after all) -- but the same cannot be said of you, even in your little apologia there. The life expectancy of people who survived the diseases of infancy and childhood was not considerably less than our own even in medieval Europe, and the percentage of extremely long-lived humans is no greater now than it ever was nor has the upward bound of life expectancy risen at all.

Possibly you do not know this (which is hardly a recommendation of your so-called seriousness and professionalism) but it is more likely that you do know this commonplace, but you are willing to pretend an average increase in life expectancy mostly resulting from prenatal care and pediatric medicine portends a longer life-expectancy for the middle-aged and elderly death-denialists you are separating from their money.

I am a supporter of actual medical research but there is nothing the least bit scientific about California greedheads or mid-life crisis plastic surgery addicts indulging in loose talk about "genetics" delivering them youthful bodies. Actual doctors are in no danger of association with robot cultists, and I am playing the world's smallest violin for you as you pout about the difficulties of sanewashing your facile fantasies and flim-flam. I do wish your "entrepreneurs" and futurological "supporters" and "branding" experts and "influence brainstormers" (can you even hear yourself?) the best of luck. You'll need it.