[ExI] Social justice and transhumanist

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 05:20:17 UTC 2012

On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM,  Joseph Bloch
<seculartranshumanist at gmail.com> wrote:


> Third, bear in mind that transhumanism does not necessarily equal "the
> singularity." Transhumanism is, at its heart, the use of technology to
> overcome the limitations of the human condition.

It would be scary if we were to list out the "limitations of the human
condition" and start thinking about what the consequences are.

Having been called (by RU Sirius no less) an ur-transhumanist, I am
trying not to come across as a Luddite.

But I think there are *real* problems coming along with removing the
limitations.  It's not things like population, any technology able to
keep us alive indefinitely would be up to solving any resource problem
you could name at least if you were not using it to print off more
copies of people.

One batch of trouble comes from the new state of people *also* having
limitations.  There is a whole ecosystem that will rapidly emerge with
many places for people to screw up like messing with the state of
their reward systems.

> That does not require
> some sort of "singularity" (although it does not discount it).

It's really clear that the historical trend is for technologies to
come faster and faster and to last shorter and shorter times.  Where
this leads is hard to say.

> Especially in the context of a discussion of how to make transhumanism
> more palatable and popular, singularitianism has a tendency to veer
> towards the apocalyptic, which turns off quite a number of people (if
> for nothing more than its religious millenarianism).

Those movement have also been highly influential in the past.  The
trouble with the singularity is that the more people grok it, the more
ambivalent they feel about it as well as the strong tendency to
consider it inevitable and most likely in the next few decades.

> The impulse to
> define transhumanism by any single technological innovation (whether
> it be artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, uploading, etc.) should
> be guarded against. Especially as transhumanists, we should be aware
> that we don't know exactly what the future will look like.

That's certainly true, but on the other hand, AI and nanotech will
tend to happen almost together because advances in one will drive the



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