[ExI] Natasha's TransH, Libertarians, Singu(Kevin Haskell)

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Sun Jun 26 14:23:02 UTC 2011

 Kevin wrote;
 Quoting <natasha at natasha.cc>

> For me, I am not a libertarian, an anarchist or a singulartarian.  I
> am transhumanist and I support Extropy above all else.  I don't like
> Extropy tethered to other stuff that is not expressly focused on life
> expansion and well being.

>Precisely.  This does not mean that I am not political or that I do not
>support the Singularity. I simply do not subscribe to any one political
>party and I am not what is known as a singulartarian.  There are many
>theorists, experts, activists and knowledgeable individuals of the
>Technological Singularity who are not "singulartarian".

So, you are a Transhumanist who "supports" Extropy, but who is not a
Singularitarian, but who (based on your comments far below,) believes that
one day, Technological Singularity will be achieved  (I saw in a post coming
up from Max, his thought's and the chart in the link that he provided, which
clarified his ideas.)  You would fall within the "Voluntarist Emergent
Surge" category, I assume? 
**I can understand a need to place people and ideas in categories for
arguing or explaining a theory, but I am not the easily molded and I try not
to do that to others.  I am a transhumanist who supports Extropy, yes.  I
also support human rights, morphological freedom, ageless thinking, life
expansion, n-cybernetics, and design thinking.  I do think (not believe)
that a Technological Singularity will occur, most likely in surges.  I do
not fall into any one category:  for example, on the chart you refer to, I
place myself as a voluntarist emergent surge humanity-positive Singularity
with the caveat that if superintelligences are aggressive and hostile to
humanity. In this case I would fit into a "strategist" column (which is not
on the chart) 
and align with AGIs to prevent hostility and coercive behaviors of either
the superintelligences or the humans.  If this fails, then I would be an
authoritarian about stopping attacks on humans, transhumans and posthumans
as a defensive stance. 

>I think Kurzweil is not optimistic, I think he is an advocate of
>acceleration as a matter of technological fact.  De Garis is not negative,
>think he is presenting a particular theory that is more science fiction
>science fact.  I think Goertzel is mostly interested in AGI.  But all in
>all, I think Max More's view on "surges" is the most appropriate
>position on a Technological Singularity.

I would say that if Kurweil is advocating that technogical singularity as a
matter of factually happening, it 'is' postitive, because we still are not
positive that other factors will not intercede.  If I am right, and you are
VESist (and I know from your words that I will quote below that you don't
like "isms," but it does seem to fit,here,) then I can see why you might
worry about the 'ultimate' end of this the exponential acceleration, as
least as it happens too soon for your own concerns. 
Yes, as I said as a matter of "technological fact".  I don't think he is
optimistic, I think he is pragmatic about the need for this to happen which
will benefit humanity in numerous ways.  It could hurt humanity (as I said
above), but Kurzweil is focused on the benefits rather than the negatives.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that he does not consider the negative
affects. For his theoretical agenda, he takes the position of being positive
about the Singularity.  IN this case, he is ardently working on educating
the general public and academics about issues concerning the Singularity,
thus the Singularity University.  This would not be developed by a person
who is optimistic, but one that is practical and positive about *humans
steering our future*. In this regard is is more aligned with n-order
cybernetics and autopoeisis, or as I say "automormphic".
Regarding me, I am not a VESist, I am a "combination of elements that are
applied to best address the situation."  Allow me to explain: I am a
designer. Designers build ideas and bring these ideas to fruition through
strategy and object.  Whether it is an analysis or a building, a theory or a
virtual habitat, a strategy or a graphic narrative; designer first and
foremost goal is to problem-solve. In order to problem-solve the designer
must be adaptable and not sequestered to any one system, political or
otherwise, as true and absolute.   It is the ways in which we deal with
problems that is of concern, not categories.
Regarding an "ultimate" end of exponential acceleration, I don't see any
"end", I see a continuous evolution and the Technological Singularity is one
type of evolution and what you refer to as its "end" is the beginning of
something else, or even just a process within a larger system. 

Whether or not De Garis concept is science fiction, I would consider people
killing each other in a war that would kill billions of people 'quite'
negative. Blindly horrific might be a better term.  Further, he seemed very
serious about the idea  when he expressed it in "Transcendent Man," yet
still willing to create AGI (after holding his breath.)  I would think that,
if he thinks that billions of people may die, and you are working toward
bettering human health and better standards of living, that you wouldn't
look at his idea, science fiction or not, as being anything beyond a
negative view how things go.  (Except if you believe the cost is worth the
goal, either way, in which case I could see your point.)   
Dramatic stories are fiction and stories which contain technological
alterations of humanity and the environment is science.  Science fiction is
both a drama about the future and also a eye-opener to possibilities, both
positive and negative.  The idea that genocide and any future scenario
causing the death of billions of people does not belong to de Garis. It is a
narrative that is historical when philosophers and theorists consider
consequences of any number of tragedies that could occur in the present and
I did not say I would not look at his idea!  I have been on the radio
interviewed with him several times, most recently in China last year where
we discussed these things and my own paper, which was published in 2008, and
delivered at a conference in Gijon, Spain in 2008 on a similar topic about
humanity and problems:

"The Design War: Humanish vs. Postbiologicals - controversy that may affect



Struggles of political and religious hegemony reveal distinct biases
concerning what is or is not an acceptable method of design for sapient
life.  "Humanish," the biological fundamentalists, argue for classical
style.  Postbiologicals, a variety of species derived from Homo sapiens and
artificial general intelligence, might lobby for ingenuity.


One hundred thousand years ago, the human species experienced an
indisputable improvement in its cognitive architecture.  Now, an evident
shift from biological cells to programmable AI takes the processes of
intelligence from human neurons to more resilient and faster performing
substrates, one million times over.


This paper addresses the issue of species hierarchy as it concerns whether
humanity ought to look biological as it merges with smarter-than-human
intelligence.  In a perfect world, these species would learn to get along.
Due to the Singularity, humanity learns they are not the only life form with
consciousness and aesthetic taste. 




 At the same time, I wrote a paper on "Deconstructing Transhumanism", to
address the need to look outside the transhumanist proposition to address
issues: "Within collections of subcultures and countercultures, which social
practice is to give rise to alternative futures, the origination and
dissemination of creative ideas are endogenous, arising out of both
collaborative and clandestine practices.   When creative ideas are presented
to the external environment, they often are translated into a semblance of
principles, postulates, and  theories which may not reflect the core values
of the culture."  

 >This is a good question.  I never liked the term "extropians" or
>extropianism" because Extropy is similar to a cybernetic approach
and>within >this approach is the worldview of transhumanism, which is a
>philosophy of Extropy. Certainly other people see that Extropy is the core
>philosophy of transhumanism, which is okay too. But all in all
>cannot exist without Extropy because it is Extropy that presents the
>of continuous expansion, critical thinking and practical optimism.

Based on your description, I would look at it the other way around.  The
only thing that differentiates the two is that Extropy entails 'practical
optimism,' whereas Transhumanism can be optimism, practical optimism,
neutrality, practical negativism, or overtly negative.  This really would
make Transhumanism the more encompassing genus, with Extropy as one of it's
Transhumanism, by its very nature, cannot be overtly negative.  It would be
like saying negentropy can be extropy.
>One issue here is the topic of negentropy, which still should be discussed
>revisited in the 21st century.  I don't recall any discussions on it for 10
>years or so.

This sounds like it would be a form of TESism or even DESism; high levels of
human development, falling short of creating the Singularity.   
Again, too much categorizing my my brain to muster - I simply do not think
along these hard lines. 

>People do not call themselves extropians today because transhumanism is a
>term that was promoted over Extropy in the late 1990s in order to push the
>political views of the WTA and to promote Huxley as being the originator of
>the ideas, which is entirely incorrect and a political move by WTA that
>backfired on the organization and its principles.  Today we are more even
>minded and Humanity+ has combined the beneficial work of WTA with ExI and
>produced a more even minded organization that is inclusive rather than

Politics aside, it does sound like the Transhumanist term, whatever it
started out as, has become more encompassing than the term 'Extropy.' 
It does not matter because transhumanism is build on the tenets of continues
growth; whether fast or slow, or even stilled it is still alive.  

>Nevertheless, the term "transhumanist" is not as scary to the general
>as "extropian" and the term Extropy and extropian may gain momentum in
>years because thing change and no one really knows what ideas stick or
>terms, etc.

I agree. I think this will help alleviate fears of most of the worlds
population, including many in the scientific communities, that AGI will be
completed and realistically end the human race, rather in a positive way or
negative way. Extropy may become a "safety" code-word for high technology
for human betterment that stops somewhere just short of creation of AGI.   
Nice thought. 

>Regarding Warwick, his ideas seem to fit quite nicely within the
>"Transhumanist" conecept.  Unless I am missing something, he is seeking
>progress in health, length of life, and development of superior qualities
>people through the use and physical adaptation of technology. In short, he
>is seeking the evolution of mankind through technology.

>Well, frankly these things have been promoted by transhumanists for
>t is just recently that the general public has become interested, including
>Kevin.  While Kevin has been deeply engageding in cyborgization of his body
>for a very long time and a forerunner in this domain, the ideas of
>transhumanism are now posted it on his cyborg theory.  But when we think of
>cyorg, it is Manfred Clynes' vision and cybernetics.  I do not know why
>Kevin does not call himself a transhumanist but it seems that is may be
>because  he is deeply invested in the term cyborg for his work.

Yes, people do get vested in terms, especially if they are heavily invested
in fine distinctions, but I can understand because they do better help where
we are all coming from on the spectrum of ideas. 
Of course, yes. 

>For goodness sakes, of course!  Someone who works on the Singularity and
>writes about it, etc. is not necessarily a "Singularitarian".

Thank you very much for making this clear.  It means more to me than you
You are welcome. 

>You are correct and I could have said this, but it seemed obvious to me. I

>I  do not favor the dogma of Singularitarianism because it is a about
>and not the Technological Singularity as I learned of it from Vernor Vinge
>and as Extropy Institute introduced it as its conferences in the 1990s.

No need to apologize. It's the beauty of communication, right?   Regarding
the "isms," again, the two I 'created' based on Max's chart just seem to

>I am very interested in and lecture on the Singularity but I do not call
>myself a Singularitarian because I do not think that superintelligences
>kill off our species and I do not think that Friendly AI is the answer, it
>is just one theory.  I do think that humans will merge more and more with
>machines and that humans will integrate with AGI.  I think we will have to
>learn how to accept new intelligences that are not offspring of the homo
>sapiens sapiens species and that will be both difficult and rewarding.

>The central issues  about the Technological Singularity is about how we
>adapt to our future, how we make wise choices, how we diversify and how we
>help others understand what this means and to prepare for it. It will
>happen, but most likely in surges rather than hitting a wall.


Yes, we do have to deal with our theories.  I agree that we should attempt
to prepare, make wise choices, and how we help others understand. (The
diversify part, I don't know what you mean.)  But all eyes must be based on
doing whatever is necessary to achieve AGI evolution: Technological
Singularity, and we must do this as possible.  Extropy should be helpful,
but should not slow down the process.   
Extropy is a beautiful - stunning concept. Transhumanism seems to be more of
the work we need to do now while aspiring toward Extropy.  Even conservative
transhumanists and Marxist transhumanists understand that our species
evolution and survival is the sin quo non and that whatever we look like,
whatever platform/substrate we exist on or within, that it is our core
personhood - our consciousness - that is valued.  That the human notion that
death is normal and kicking "dead" humans and their personhood to the curb
is okay, to me is a sign that humans who think this way and that any human
life can be replaced with a new life are crass. 

My thought is, we either evolve, and soon, because one way or the other, we
are going to end as a species, so we might as well contribute something
positive to the universe.  Human beings, even evolved ones, are not capable
of escaping the dangers that are harbored in this galaxy alone.  

If knowledge is to 'live," it must expand at a pace that Transhumans can't
do, must be able to become agents outside of our galaxy, and must be able to
manipulate space, time, and and all of the other dimensions themselves.
Beginning the process for highly, ever-evolving, ever-expanding, ever-living
intelligence to live, by creating AGI, is the most just and high goal we can
possibly give to the universe, and to life itself as a species. 

In a way, it is our duty to create AGI. 





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