[extropy-chat] ANNOUNCE: Extropy Institute's Future

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Thu May 4 03:20:53 UTC 2006

I want to congratulate Natasha, Max, and the rest of the Extropy
Institute board for taking this difficult but proactive step rather than
letting ExI and its related concepts just fade away as happens with
so many institutions.  When the time has come to move on, recognizing
and accepting that fact is always difficult.  But the world has changed
enormously since the 1980s when Max and Tom invented the idea of Extropy,
and even since the early 1990s when this mailing list was born in its
earlier incarnation.  Ideas which at that time were considered too
outlandish even for science fiction are now debated regularly in the
corridors of power and on the front pages of major newspapers and other
opinion leaders.

My main concern during this time of transition is that the history
of Extropy be preserved and not forgotten.  Because of the extreme
unacceptability of transhumanist ideas in the early days (hard to remember
today), the original extropians mailing list had a policy of quasi-secrecy
with regard to list archives.  As a result, much of that free-wheeling
discussion has been lost, an information exchange which many of us
remember as among the most dynamic and engaging we have ever encountered.

It may never be possible to reconstruct and restore those lost archives,
but eventually the list policy changed, and we should make sure that
what remains is not lost.  Not only list archives, but the working
papers and other documents produced by ExI over the years, should all
be preserved for future study and reference.  It's possible that someday
this material will be seen as representing the birth of ideas which turn
out to be key to the further development of humanity.

Making data available for an indefinite period into the future will
not happen automatically.  It will take time and effort to make the
preparations, and funds will be needed as well.  If there are things I
could do to help, I hope Natasha will feel free to ask, and I am sure
that most of the rest of us in the community feel the same way.

Hal Finney

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