[extropy-chat] Lifeboat Foundation awared to Freitas, Joy

Matus matus at matus1976.com
Wed Mar 15 00:12:37 UTC 2006

Hal Finney said:
"The Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award is annually bestowed upon
scientists or public figures who have heralded the coming of a future
fraught with danger and encouraged provision against its perils."
For some reason I find this hilarious!  The pomposity of the "revered
scientists" is juxtaposed with the image of someone cowering beneath
his bed sheets at fear of a future "fraught with danger".  


I have been an active contributor to the Lifeboat Foundation for many
years now, and in fact did all of the 3D graphics work for the web site
and the design of the ‘Ark I’ autonomous space colony.  I have mentioned
it a few times on this list, and even criticized extropians for being so
flagrantly and irrationally optimistic about the future, so optimistic
that they absolve themselves of any cautious responsibility.  A position
which it appears you embrace.  Your imagery is incredibly disingenuous
and considering some of our board members and active participants,
completely incorrect.  Ray Kurzweil for one, just recently provided
funding to sponsor an EM launch competition, and Kurzweil isn’t exactly
known for his pessimistic outlook on the future.  

I am an extremely optimistic futurist, as any perusing of my posts on
this forum or my web site will demonstrate, but being optimistic is not
a justification for irrationality.  Your imagery of someone cowering
beneath the sheets is completely ridiculous and demonstrates only the
limited skepticism you have applied to your own attitude and outlook on
the future.  

The Lifeboat Foundation is not a group of pessimistic dystopians, it is
a group of rationally optimistic futurists, which is why it is dubbed as
an ‘insurance policy’ Perhaps you should consider what an insurance
policy is and then consider how it relates to the future of humanity and
indeed all sentient intelligent life we know of to exist so far in the
universe before making blanket statements like that.  The Lifeboat
Foundation is not a group of couch potato futurists, waiting for someone
else to solve all the problems of the world and usher in this
singularitian utopia.  Pompous is presuming axiomatically that
absolutely nothing will possibly ever go wrong.  Rationality is making
reasonable plans and insurances in case something does.  It is an
attempt to mitigate the risks that could end intelligent life.

Robert Bradbury said
“My initial reaction was also "Who is Lifeboat?"  Further investigation
seemed to suggest it was an organization wanting to preserve humanity
from both natural and self-created hazards.  That in and of itself
seemed reasonable.”
Hi Robert, I have been absent from the list for a little while and last
time I was around you had left, so I am glad to see you here and posting
again.  I believe your assessment of lifeboat here is very accurate
which is why I have become involved in the project.  Far from being
dystopian pessimists most members of the lifeboat team that I have
conversed with (including the founder) are extremely optimistic and
probably consider themselves extropians (as I do)  
I can not speak for members of the board who are cited but I was glad to
see Max and Natasha on the list, as well as Yudkowsky, etc.  perhaps
they can speak of their interaction with Lifeboat.  But I have regularly
communicated with some advisory board members, Dr. Niklas Järvstråt, for
instance, offered many useful comments on my graphics / design of the
ARK I.  I communicate frequently with the founder, Eric Klein, have
worked for him for over three years, and have met him a few times.  He
has mentioned his pursuits in getting respectable scientist to give a
rational amount of concern to these things and he works very hard in
communicating with these people.  He has flown to Europe and met with
Richard Branson, who later sponsored a Lifeboat project to identify
accurate ways to combat the spreading of infectious diseases through
international flights.  Branson will be building the space port to
launch Burt Rutan's ships in nearby New Mexico.
Frankly I have been surprised for the past three years that the Lifeboat
Foundations efforts are not more prevalent among the extropy list
members, although recently it seems to have been rapidly growing.  The
times I have mentioned it (once to be add to a list of extropian themed
charities some time ago) it was pretty much ignored.  I have posted on
this list before criticizing the apparent lack of action by the
futurists lovers of this list, who even though they are extremely
intelligent seem to feel content to sit around and let someone bring the
future about for them.  That deferment combined with the irrational
axiomatic optimism present here are the two biggest factors, I suspect,
in keeping productive efforts like the Lifeboat Foundations out of this
“Being optimistic I would say we have we may have a well-intentioned
individuals with a extropian/transhumanistic perspective trying to
promote reasonable ideas in line with reducing the overall hazard
function for humanity.”
I think you would be correct in this assessment.
Bill K said:
“The Lifeboat Foundation is designing space Arks of 1,000 people each.
But I cannot find any information on how they plan to organise the
social structure of these Arks.
Are they like military ships, with a captain and crew running things?
Or are they like Israeli kibbutz?
Or, is he still going with the Libertarian mini-state idea?
Maybe it is to be decided later on, if it ever gets to the stage that
they might actually build an Ark.”
As I mentioned, those are my graphics, design, and artwork.  I and Eric
have very strong libertarian (more accurately Objectivist) leanings on
political philosophy, but as far as I understand, this is to be decided
later on.  Some arguments suggest that if such self sustaining space
colonies were profitable endeavors by private organizations than space
would be teaming with them.  I call Fermi’s paradox to counter, and I
suspect that we might be the first intelligent technological advanced
life (or the first sound of such beings) to evolve in the galaxy, and as
such the political structure of such stations would not be relevant to
the observed lack of their presence.  Either way we still have some time
to figure out the governing structure of space arks.
Speaking of the Fermi paradox, (as I mentioned the last time I brought
lifeboat up on the extropy list) I cite it as a primary reason for even
very optimistic futurists to support such insurance procedures.  There
are only 3 main explanations for the lack of observed intelligent beings
in the galaxy.  
1) none exist and we are the first (or first generation)
2) they are all around us but undetectable (indistinguishable from
magic, etc)
3) they tend to destroy themselves or get destroyed by some natural
Of these, explanations 1 and 2 require no action on our part to ensure
our continuation.  And if they are accurate then building such a space
station, or hopefully series of space stations, will not have made much
of a difference.  However if scenario 3 is correct then we absolutely
must devise such insurance policies, and if we do not than this could be
the end that befalls all intelligent technological beings.
Note I speak only of my impressions of Lifeboat Foundation and my
dealings with some members of it, I do not speak officially for Lifeboat
Michael F Dickey
(aka Matus)

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