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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Robot Cultist Giulio Prisco Has Belated Transcendence Sadz... from The Future!

We haven't heard from terminally idiotic Robot Cultist Guilio Prisco for a while, but he sends his warm regards in a "timely" review of the must-miss feel-bored film of the summer, the feeble flop Transcendence.

For Prisco, Transcendence is substantially transhumanoid singularitarian agitprop capable of "persuad[ing]" some lucky moviegoers that "mind uploading and superAI are not only possible, but desirable and perhaps inevitable." Prisco expresses surprise at the film's many negative reviews and declares it "solid, thoughtful, and entertaining, much better than the average science-fiction film," no doubt because he believes palpably batshit crazy things such as that "mind uploading and superAI are not only possible, but desirable and perhaps inevitable."

I cannot express surprise at Prisco's expression of surprise, which can be best explained by pointing out that in a world that agreed with Prisco that the film was solid, thoughtful, and entertaining, Prisco would be regarded as solid, thoughtful, and entertaining as well. In this world, the real world, however, Prisco is merely entertaining, and not in a good way. I especially enjoyed his insistence that were Transcendence expanded into a dozen episodes it would become, unaccountably, good instead of bad. No doubt True Believing Randroidal Objectivists keep thinking much the same thing as each execrable installment of Atlas Shrugged is deposited for its worldchanging run in theaters.

Of the negative reviews that have disappointed Prisco, it seems that I myself have provided the one he regards as "really stupid." Turnabout is fair play, so fair enough, I say. After all, in my piece io9 Has the Transcendence Sadz I pretty much declared the movie really stupid and, by implication, Prisco really stupid in advance for liking it. "[T]his is an epic story of ideas," Prisco wails at one especially piquant point in his review, proving it.

Prisco goes on to describe my critique as part of a "currently fashionable fake-liberal PC War on Imagination." Newcomers to the blog unaware of Giulio Prisco may find all this quite odd (scroll down to his entry in The Superlative Summary for hours of reading pleasure). After all, laughable trumped up Faux News-esque crusades against a "War on Imagination" and charges of "PC"-ness are not exactly reliable signals of the True Liberalism, generally speaking. And I fear that even my friends are little likely to attribute "fashionableness" to me or to my views.

All of this is silliness of course, Prisco is not a serious person. But his views in their bald credulity provide an illuminating window onto Robot Cult futurology (which is also mostly silliness, but provides in turn an illuminating window onto more prevailing futurological discourses playing out in the deceptive, hyperbolic advertizing norms and forms of technofetishistic consumer culture as well as in the eugenic/technocratic rationales for global corporate-militarist incumbent elite exploitation and rule offered by neoliberal/neoconservative think tanks, for all of which the techno-transcendental assumptions and aspirations of the Robot Cult are a clarifyingly bonkers extremity and, usually, execrescence).

Given this, I will say quickly what I have said at excruciating length elsewhere: First, people who talk about "superintelligence" should be able to talk about intelligence first, and though no one can do so adequately yet, we can be sure that those who speak about intelligence in ways that denigrate or disavow the facts that intelligence as it actually exists in the world so far has always been incarnated in bodies and in social practices are almost certainly on a catastrophically wrong track (which helps account for the reason that AI dead-enders who often talk just this way are serial failures who never seem less confident in their expectations despite always being only wrong about everything). Second, you are not a picture of you, even if the picture is a really good picture or a "scan" of you; further, computers and software and networks tend to be crufty, brittle, bloated, and shorter-lived than the people who use them, and so it is hard to see why even a picture of you that could be you (though it cannot) would be "immortalized" by being "migrated" "transferred" "translated" or "uploaded" (all of which, by the way, are metaphors rather than scientific theories) onto realizable, rather than idealized, computers, software, or networks. If calling bullshit on conceptually incoherent pseudo-scientific poppycock is "PC," let me add that my PC crusade includes criticisms of homeopathy, antivax and chemtrail conspiracists, and anthropogenic climate change denialism. I also feel fairly confident that one can distinguish science from pseudo-science, science practice and policy from science fiction, and consensus science from for-profit paid-expert spin-doctoring (from fundamentalist zealots peddling bogus "creation science" to corporate criminals peddling "safe cigarettes") and still have a wonderful and fruitful imagination, nefarious anti-imagination warriors of the world notwithstanding.


Athena Andreadis said...

In all dimensions (intellect, knowledge, outlook, sensibilities), Prisco belongs with Correia et al.

jimf said...

> Robot Cultist G[iu]lio Prisco. . . sends his warm regards
> in a "timely" review of the must-miss feel-bored film
> of the summer, the feeble flop _Transcendence_.

And we're all looking forward to his review of

jimf said...

Athena Andreadis wrote:

> In all dimensions. . ., Prisco belongs with Correia. . .

This guy?

> . . .knowledge. . .

"Correia used to be an accountant, as well as a
part-time firearms instructor. . ."

I don't know if Prisco claims to know anything about
guns, but he's supposed to know something about
big telescopes. Probably accounting too, since he
(Prisco) was a manager.

> . . .outlook, sensibilities. . .

"Correia's works use strong magical themes and often
include mythical monsters, such as vampires and werewolves.
His stories are typically action-oriented and are noted
for the detailed accuracy of firearms usage."

Yes, they both seem to be big into magic. Don't know if
Correia actually **believes** it it, though. ;->

Chad Lott said...

That movie is Battleship Earth for transhumans.

jimf said...

> This guy?

Ah, I see. There's been a Controversy.

"I’ve said for a long time that the awards are biased against
authors because of their personal beliefs. Authors can either
cheer lead for left wing causes, or they can keep their mouth shut.
Open disagreement is not tolerated and will result in being
sabotaged and slandered. Message or identity politics has
become far more important than entertainment or quality. . .

We always hear about how fandom is supposed to be inclusive…
Only apparently my fans are the wrong kind of fans. They don’t
care about the liberal cause of the day. They don’t care about
Social Justice. They like their books entertaining rather
than preachy. . ."

Ehh. . . John C. Wright seems to do OK. Not to mention
Orson Scott Card. Of course, that's not to say the latter
two aren't **preachy**. ;->

jimf said...

> . . . John C. Wright . . .

Hm. It seems he's unhappy too.
Instead of receiving aid to my writing career, I find organized
attempts to harass my readers and hurt my sales figures.

Instead of finding an organization for the mutual support of
Science Fiction writers, I find an organization for the support
of Political Correctness.

Instead of friends, I find ideologues bent on jihad against
all who do not meekly conform to their Orwellian and hellish

Politics trumps Science Fiction in the modern SFWA. . .

Dale Carrico said...

From Dispatches from Libertopia:

LVII. The intolerant always demand tolerance for their intolerance. Bigots always decry as violence and as bigotry the restraint of their bigotry from the worst of its violence. Racists always declare racist the exposure and denunciation of their racism. This is all very clever, if you are very stupid.

Dale Carrico said...

Worth reminding the Moot that in the post itself I point out that Guilio Prisco specifically decries as "Political Correctness" my exposure of pseudo science and illogic. Amazing how often those who would police the "PC-Police" are openly battling for the right to be bigoted and deceptive -- very inspiring!