[ExI] Resources for a beginning transhumanist

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sun Aug 8 06:18:37 UTC 2010

On Sat, Aug 7, 2010 at 10:08 PM,  Sabrina Ballard
<sabrina.ballard at hotmail.com> wrote:


> So I was hoping that some list members might be able to point me to
> some resources for the beginning transhumanist. I am not detered my
> heavy or long reading, though I am only proficient in English (working
> on Spanish, but far from fluent).

A within the last five years there was at least one thread on this
list about the background materials that it would be really useful to
understand to take part in the discussions here.  I can't find it,
perhaps someone has a better set of search terms.

Major topics related to transhumanist thinking and the singularity
include nanotechnology and AI.  Extropy.org has a lot of material on
the origins of the philosophy.  It's useful for you to at least know
what cryonics is about as a number of the most serious transhumanists
are also cryonicists.

Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation for all the years is still one of
the best places to start.  It's online if you local library has never
heard of it.

I don't know what it the current best introduction to AI, probably
something by Elizer Yudkowski or Ray Kurzweil.



In fact, all the people on that program have interesting things to say.

I think it is really useful to understand modern evolutionary theory
and its application to human behavior and psychological mechanisms.

_Selfish Gene_ is very useful for background, though you can get it
all off the net if you go deep enough such as Hamilton's rule and
inclusive fitness.  I am partial to Robert Wright's _Moral Animal_.
Works by David Buss are good as are any of the books by Matt Ridley,
though my favorite is _The Origin of Virtue_.  Or you could read the
EP primmer http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/primer.html.

Oh my.  There is so much more.  Charles Stross was a list member back
in the very early days, over 20 years ago now.  His book Accelerando
is just full of the ideas that originated here.

Depending on where you are, you could meet some of the list members.

Best wishes,

Keith Henson

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