[ExI] homo sapiens as endangered species

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Sat Jun 4 15:38:55 UTC 2011

2011/6/4 Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com>:
> On 3 June 2011 15:41, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> One wonders, OTOH, whether "existential survival" vs existential risks is of
> any actual interest to our contemporary culture. This certainly used to be,
> and it was even taken for granted by the kind of SF where grand,
> single-focus societal efforts were put in place to create a few "refuges"
> (be they starships, nuclear refuges, Moon bases, even ordinary megaships)
> for a very small number of people elected to carry the torch in the
> aftermath of impending doom.
> One doubts however that nowadays most people, let alone people with any say
> as to the allocation of relevant resources, would actually make investments
> of any substantial nature that might ensure in some or other scenario the
> survival of the "species", or of its memories, but not of themselves and
> their immediate offspring, or (at the opposite end) of the terrrestrial
> ecology as we know it today.
> This lack of vision is of course the mark of decadent societies, as well as
> somewhat depressing, but the "good" angle of it is that it put in question
> the underlying "specieism" of many old views on the subject. I have for
> instance many times reiterated the concept that seeing an upcoming
> generation of silicon-based "children of the mind" taking over as anything
> different from upcoming generations of carbon-based genetic offspring taking
> over - as they have forever been doing - is a purely ideological stance. So,
> I emphatically do not consider "runaway AGIs" on any different basis than
> post-simians overcoming the old good furry, arboreous ways.

There are elaborate plans to insure the "continuity of government"
here in the United States. Some of these plans rise almost to the
level you are talking about, but I shudder to think of a future where
the only survivors are high level governmental bureaucrats. It's
almost like humanity didn't really survive, but just some human
looking thing.... ;-)

>> * Low genetic diversity is inconvenient but not a showstopper (as the
>> America example shows). Lots of women and a convenient sperm bank might be
>> ideal from a genetics point of view, but might not be practical, available
>> or acceptable to the survivors.
> Genetic wealth should however be stored and protected, as unnatural as it
> might be, for any vegetal or animal species we can still put our hands on,
> humans included, and gametes banks is the best way to make it compatible
> with breeding, selective, eugenic measures such as those adopted in
> agriculture for millennia, and which of course cannot be relinquished.

I love Svalgard!

> BTW, as genetic bottlenecks go, the "out of Africa" migration of sapiens
> should have involved a population numbering its reproductively active
> components in the hundred, or so I hear. This would imply an even more
> dramatic "insular effect" than the immigration in the Americas.

My understanding is that it was around 4000 individuals at the low
point around the eruption of the Lake Toba volcano around 60-70,000
years ago. It is a little hard to understand given that there was a
"genetic Adam" 60,000 years ago, and a "genetic eve" around 400,000
years ago. It almost seems like those are narrower points, but since
they weren't alive at the same time, I guess it works out to preserve
diversity from the other sex.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list