[ExI] Isn't Bostrom seriously bordering on the reactionary?

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Wed Jun 15 10:27:09 UTC 2011

On 15 June 2011 01:16, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:

> I have been in the thick of this stuff for since the mid 1970s.  It's
> my opinion that the human species, _as we know it today_ will be
> extinct not much later than mid century.  But unlike any other
> extinction a lot, perhaps most, of us may exist in a conscious form
> right though the extinction.

My personal view is that the only plausible definition of "exinction" is the
fact of not not leaving anything behind. Unless we believe that humankind
goes extinct at each generation there is no really plausible argument to
claim that the australopithecus went extinct but my grand-grand father did
not. Of course, I have more in common with the latter, but there is no real
threshold where the increase in difference justify such a definitory leap.

On the other hand, everything is subject to *change*. We can certainly have
preferences as to the direction of change (I have for instance a strong
preference for a change in *multiple* directions), but to concern oneself
with the indefinite preservation some "essential" trait of simianity, or
humanity for that matter in Bostrom's style, IMHO is both futile and prone
to make *real* extinction more likely. *Mutare o perire*, "To change or to
perish?", the title or Riccardo Campa's book on transhumanism summarises
this point well enough.

As to speeding it up or slowing it down, I doubt there is much that
> Nick or anyone else can do to affect the course of technology
> development.
> I only hope it is fast enough to prevent a massive die off.

Mmhhh. I am inclined on the contrary to think that the course of technology
development is a fragile thing entirely dependent on cultural and societal
prerequisites that I see currently threatened. In any event, to think so
would be to keep on the safe side for those who are keen on technology
development (if the Rapture is going to take place inevitably irrespective
of the faith and the good work of its believers, nothing wrong in keeping up
the good work anyway, right?).

But I fully agree upon the fact that the slowing down, or insufficient
acceleration, of technological progress is probably a higher risk (in *my*
sense) than the contrary.

Stefano Vaj
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20110615/4cddd548/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list