[ExI] Fashion

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat May 4 22:22:22 UTC 2013

On 04/05/2013 22:41, spike wrote:
> I want a formula for coolness.

You are not alone. The fashion industry would love it too:
Looks like the industry is already trying the data mining approach.

The problem with coolness is that it is likely one of those things like 
"good taste" or "creativity" that cannot be pinned down. It is slippery 
in a social and subjective way: plenty of people have different coolness 
standards, and one of the best ways of being cool is pulling off 
something that shouldn't work but yet does it (case in point I have been 
studying: the exotic tie knots of the Merovingean in the Matrix sequels).

> Regarding hacker parties and in general every gathering of geeks, it doesn'
> t matter.  Animals, proles and geeks are free.  We never need to ponder what
> to wear at any social occasion.  In fact, society has developed to the point
> where geeks are highly esteemed, a reversal from my own youth in which we
> were disdained.  So now, ordinary people sometimes intentionally dress in a
> clumsy fashion in order to appear to be a geek.  It has gotten so that now,
> if I show up at some geek gathering wearing some geek-wannabe outfit, I risk
> having the genuine geeks point and shout "PHONY!"

Exactly. "Dress for Success", the classic style guide for the 
businessman, has a hilarious section about dressing for interaction with 
engineers and hacker types. It points out that trying to imitate their 
style will fail, so it is better to just tone things down from the 
strict business style rather than showing up with a Microsoft t-shirt. 
(It also has the invaluable advice that the real businessman buys his 
clothes at sales).

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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