[ExI] scifi search

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Aug 21 09:45:17 UTC 2014

Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> , 21/8/2014 3:05 AM:

So you ARE making the case that things that are bad are getting worse as quickly as things that are good are getter better? 

I can look forward to being unemployed but phenomally healthy while playing the mind-blowingly awesome immersive virtual reality games at the same time the real world becomes a police state where merely leaving the house with the wrong expression on your face could send you to prison or killed by militarized police.
This is the problem with most fiction (getting back to the original topic): it has to be entirely dystopian, utopian or "normal", it cannot have a high amplitude mix of good and bad. That kind of story confuses people. James Martin definitely confused people in his books and talks by warning of a resource and climate disaster with suitcase nukes *plus* awesome ecoaffluence, a renaissance in the Siberian climate refugee cities, superintelligence and lots of other radical changes: it makes the future really strange.
If we look at the present state of the world it is this kind of awesome/awful situation. Comparing to when I grew up the world is far richer and more peaceful, there are three simultaneous huge humanitarian disasters going on, the Cold War just *ended* but an uprising in some remote country can have direct repercussions on my life, we have fantastic technological powers that also subject us to surveillance way beyond the nightmare visions in the 70s debate - and most people and governments are fine with it, health is getting better and better while practically everybody I know has a diagnosis of some kind... Yes, I think the variance is going up. 
In short, we are living in a bad scifi novel. Or an experimental one. 

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