the io9 sub-basement of the Gawker empire has rendered itself ridiculous by allowing a futurological fraudster fandom to colonize what was an enjoyably polycultural sf-fandom, whereupon the Gawker parent-site has been posting more critical and intelligent and qualified technoscience/digimedia content that is too serious sensible for what io9 has allowed itself to become. Any tent big enough to hold Robot Cultists is soon enough a tent empty of anybody but Robot Cultists. Annalee Newitz is absolutely smart enough to know better, but she chased Robot Cult eyeballs anyway with Dumb Dvorsky and comparable pseudo-scientific techno-transcendentalist digi-topian crapola -- so, live by the dumb-dumb Robocult, die in the dumb-dumb Robocalypse.It would appear that, if anything, Newitz is doubling down on the stooped footure. I don't think I've ever encountered a grammatically legible sequence of words that consisted of literally nothing but oxymorons. But Annalee Newitz, slathering her usual love on the pseudo-intellectual pseudo-scientific Robot Cult, has indeed managed this feat, beginning a sentence with the breathtaking phrase: "Transhumanist philosopher Natasha Vita-More thinks..."
Philosopher Natasha Vita-More?
Natasha Vita-More thinks?
(For more Vita-More, do scroll down to her entry in the Superlative Summary. Much hilarity ensues.)
Here is a more extended snip, revealing that when it comes to Natasha Vita-More one can count on plenty of the moronic when the oxymoronic well runs dry:
Transhumanist philosopher Natasha Vita-More thinks these oldagers are going to be even weirder than tomorrow's eyeball-removing teenagers. They'll be backing their brains up onto computers all the time, so they will exist simultaneously in the real world and in digital simulation space. She told io9 that in a century, this kind of backup technology will put us in the strange position of being able to choose to die when we want -- or to die for just a little while, like taking a much-needed vacation: "All indicators are pointing toward people living well past 100 years," [declares Vita-More] "and in good health and vitality. Aging is slowing down and will be reversed to a large degree . . . And during this timeframe, it will be not only customary but highly consequential to back up our brains on a moment-to-moment basis. Further, transferring and/or copying a person’s brain, including consciousness and mind, onto computational systems will become a trend. At this juncture, it will be optimal for a person to co-exist in real time (the physical world) and within simulations (virtual environments, for example)."It should be needless to say, that there are actually no indicators anywhere at all that people in general are living past 100 years, let alone well past 100 years in any available sense. To say that "aging is slowing down and will be reversed" is a lie, possibly a matter of lying to oneself, but certainly endlessly repeating such statements in public places where one is surely at least occasionally confronted with the overwhelming evidence to the contrary is lying in the conventional sense as well.
Most increases in human longevity are, of course, a statistical artifact of improvements in prenatal care, childbirth, and diminishing infant and childhood mortality. Human longevity at retirement age is scarcely improving (although futurological hype has provided the false rationale used by plenty of pampered the Senators in the US, who live as long and as well as the pampered Senators of Rome, to champion the reactionary evil policy of raising the retirement for everyday people who actually work for a living). While it is true in much of the over-exploiting rather than over-exploited regions of the world the proportion of the population at retirement age is growing somewhat -- plummeting birth rates are as much a part of this story as modest but welcome medical treatments for heart disease and some cancers -- there is no compelling evidence that the number of folks living well past a hundred is rising in any noticeable way (ancient literature records these flukes much the same way the popular press does today) and no evidence at all, compelling or otherwise, that any nutritional, hygienic, or therapeutic development has had ANY impact at all increasing the upper bound of human longevity.
That human beings don't want to get sick, age, or die has not changed from the first syllable of recorded time, but that wish-fulfillment fantasizing has no power to change these facts has not changed either, so sorry about that, folks. And denying such facts isn't "philosophy," it isn't "science," it isn't "policy," it isn't "serious," it isn't "daring," it is hardly even "thinking."
I won't even dwell for long in the usual idiocy of mind-uploading techno-immortalization mumbo-jumbo that follows forth in Vita-More's crayon-scribble techno-transcendentalism: but (once more, with feeling),
ONE, your brain is much more like a gland than a computer;Natasha Vita-More is aging -- extreme exercise and pill-popping and cosmic procedures to the contrary notwithstanding -- and like everybody else Natasha Vita-More is going to die. We are all going to die. Denialism about death merely makes us a little bit more dead in our lives before we die is all.
TWO, materialism about mind actually diminishes the plausibility of any successful "migration" from one material substrate to another since the material instantiating it is non-negligible to the substance of information (or deformation, or disposition, or whatever thinking and memory and character turn out materially to be when we actually know enough about them to really know about them as we definitely do not know now, cocksure declarations of futurologists and AI-deadenders to the contrary notwithstanding -- probably that should be its own bullet point, but whatever);
by the way THREE, that word "migration" up there (like the words "transfer," "translation," "transmission," "uploading" that are also futurologically popular in moments like this) is a metaphor and not a testable scientific hypothesis;
FOUR, you are not a picture of you, and that doesn't change whether the picture is a painting, a photograph, a brain scan, or an aggregated data profile;
and FIVE, even pictures don't last forever, after all, indeed we already routinely outlast them in our poor vulnerable mortal bodies anyway -- and actual computers of all things seem especially buggy, buzzy, brittle sites to look for a nook to reside for eternity in.