[extropy-chat] future-sceptic jibes in the press

Bret Kulakovich bret at bonfireproductions.com
Thu Aug 17 18:57:39 UTC 2006

Hype and credibility are inversely proportional. It may sell more  
movies or books, but you will suffer either on the social/societal  
side or the professional side. I see a lot of what Ray Kurzweil is  
doing as helping to popularize memes in modern science and technology  
in a way that Carl Sagan did for astronomy and astrophysics/general  
science. It is, imho, all good, but people see you doing stuff and  
they are going to take their shot. Even if they like what you are  

If you look at the simplest terms - Singularity - when technological  
advancement accelerates to the point of infinity/unpredictability...  
well it is sort of that way now, isn't it? Just because we think  
there is going to be a better mousetrap/iPod/802.11q doesn't mean  
that we are predicting anything. We're just comfortable with the  
obvious. Toyota releases a personal air transport with a Thorium  
reactor tomorrow, and there is your surprise and unpredictability.

Armageddon/End Days/Singularity? If you are taking one as the other  
or talking in similar terms with each topic, see your doctor or  


On Aug 16, 2006, at 7:50 AM, kevin.osborne wrote:

> coming after the 'transhumanist nut jobs' comment from Wired that was
> noted on the list recently, here's a little nugget buried in a 9/11
> counterhistory piece from New York magazine
> (http://newyorkmetro.com/news/features/19147/):
> "Now, let's be clear, we're well aware that the dangers of
> counterfactual speculation ... are almost as grave as those of
> unbridled futurism."
> Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the positions staked out on  
> this list.
> Are the press actually quite right to call *bulls--t* on us
> 'transhumanist nut jobs'? are our attempts to piece together
> predictive insights into a singularity path just as flaky a house of
> cards as second-coming foreseers?
> Maybe it's time for a bit of searching introspection to ask if our
> assumptions are junk, whether we are 'Crazy People', and maybe find
> out what it is about our message that seems to have such a whiff.
> Is our 'The Singularity Is Near!' hype-train just as nutty as the
> wackos with 'The End is Nigh'  body hoardings?
> Are we being just as foolish as christians since year dot thinking
> that 'Judgement Day' will be in their lifetimes? Like the early
> christians who rutted and stole so badly in their belief the that
> jesus was coming back next tuesday that the early church was forced to
> include the 'ten commandments' into the christian doctrine?
> (supposedly in about A.D 80, for the history curious). 2000 years
> later and they're still playing "Where's Waldo".
> I remember seeing a black and white 1940's era movie as a kid in 1983
> that had the hero driving a flying bubble-mobile circa 1980; I
> remember thinking the eight year-old equivalent of 'what a bunch of
> jackasses'
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