[ExI] [wta-talk] The Excitement-Disillusionment-Reorientation cycle of online transhumanism

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 01:01:09 UTC 2009

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Ralph <figment at boone.net> wrote:
> Kaj,
>   A big part of the problem in this dichotomy between the Useless
> Enthusiasts and the Serious(ly Remote) Professionals is that Transhumanism
> as it is frequently conceived often relies on the final completion of a
> single, radical technology that Changes Everything. The implications of
> having this or that particular, fully realized technology are (rightly)
> perceived as so dramatic that to some degree almost everything else becomes
> irrelevant once the Ultimate Technology arrives on the scene.
> Unfortunately, this leads to professionals intensely (and perhaps rightly)
> focused on completely the technology they perceive as the tipping point, and
> enthusiasts talking incessantly about changes they feel powerless to
> achieve, but which more than a few find reasons to believe they will somehow
> dominate despite their complete disassociation from the actual research and
> the institutions doing it (because they will be "first adopters" or what
> have you).
> So most of us are, whether professionals or non-professionals, left waiting
> breathlessly on the closing of the Final Circuit in an AI godling, or the
> First Upload, or the True Assembler. And in the meantime, the True Believers
> can seem like a particularly odd, post-modern cult (if a well-educated one),
> whose more extreme members seem to be rocking back and forth repeating the
> technobabble equivalent of "The /Paingod/! He /Rises/! /He *Rises*/!"

I don't know to what extent that is true. At its core, transhumanism
is about personal self-improvement re: overcoming limitations and
such. When I started out reading about transhumanism, I found that
many of the ideas and search queries brought back material that I
found useful. But, essentially I was a useless enthusiast. Arguably, I
(and many others) are still completely useless, but on the other hand
there does seem to be a difference between those who believe/act in
the self-improvement aspects-- even with questionable biases in
objective evaluation functions- and those who aren't willing to start
off on those particular journies. How much of an ethusiast can you be
when when it comes to transhumanism when you ignore the
self-improvement aspects?

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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