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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Like Kurzweil, Techno-Immortalist Peter Thiel Is Revealed To Be More Sad-Quack Than Sooper-Genius

Tech-Celebrity-CEO (hence skim and scam artist), Peter Thiel has attracted attention lately for telling a Bloomberg interviewer that he is taking human growth hormone to increase his lifespan. Thiel is a well-known well-heeled Robot Cultist who believes that sooper-geniuses are in a race to code a friendly sooper-intelligent Robot God before somebody else codes a satanic sooper-intelligent Robot God instead -- that "somebody else" probably being somebody in the Big Bad Government he hates as a libertopian ideologue who owes everything he has to the good fortune of being born in a reasonably well-ordered society with the institutional and infrastructural affordances that are the furthest thing from libertopian.

Yes, all this is exactly as at best stupid and at worst insane as it seems to be.

Thiel is not just a True Believer in the Singularitarian sect/doctrine of the Robot Cult, which is the word for the nonsense I just mentioned, but also indulges in the faith-based initatives of the Techno-Immortalist sect/doctrine, which means he believes we are on the verge of reparative or rejuvenation therapies involving robot replacement parts or therapeutic/enhancing nanobotic swarms or some combination of these, or that, failing to arrive in time (as they won't, if they ever do, and it is, again, at best stupid and at worst insane to pretend otherwise) he can have his brain hamburgerized in a deep freeze to await nanobotic resurrection or the eventual uploading of his info-soul into Holodeck Heaven (on the obviously idiotic premise that a scan of you is you -- which is no more true than that a picture of you is you -- and that cyberspace is eternal, rather than made of buggy fragile perishable tech which is the furthest thing from eternal in any sense).

From the parentheses you will gather that Peter Thiel, like most of the futurological faithful, believes in a whole slew of obvious idiotic nonsense, probably because he is scared to die or is scared of the contingency of human existence more generally or because he wants to get revenge on all the politically correct liberals who point out that he is an ugly bigot for all the sexist racist views he used to crow about, or because he wants to really believe he is special enough to deserve all the money he lucked into. Who knows why Peter Thiel believes all the crazy stupid shit he does?

The greater question, however, is that given how obviously crazy and stupid his beliefs have always been, why are so many people willing to go along with the self-promotional hype that declares Peter Thiel a sooper-genius entrepreurial-innovatorial risk-taking thought-leader blah blah blah, when he is so obviously a sad sociopathic crank in a Robot Cult hyping and then taking personal credit for comparatively modest and in any case collective technological accomplishments?

Some people, it seems, are taking note of the fact that with this growth hormone business Thiel is advocating a dubious health supplement regimen with little likelihood of benefit and with conspicuous cancer risks which he dismisses because he declares cancer will be cured in ten years anyway -- which techno-utopians have been saying pretty much every year by the year for about half a century. As if this is the first sign that Thiel might not be quite the Big Brain he is taken for? As if this is the first time it occurs to people that techno-transcendental wish-fulfillment fantasizing might not be Thought Leadership (whatever the hell that is supposed to be anyway)? As if up to now people were ready to declare Thiel the Randian Fountainhead and protagonist of techno-utopian history Robot Cultists fluff him for as they pass the collection plate?

Like Ray Kurzweil with his mountain of pills and alkaline water advocacy, Peter Thiel turns out to be another modestly accomplished inventor/investor turned singularitarian techno-immortalist robocultic guru-wannabe who looks for all the world like a superannuated boomer tragically pining for eternal adolescence via herbal penis enhancement and anti-aging skin kreme offered up in religious cadences in the livid radioactive glow of a late-nite informercial on the big screen tee vee in a lonely living room under a snuggie.

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