[ExI] Human extinction

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Thu Aug 14 11:30:46 UTC 2008

On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 7:59 PM, hkhenson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> On another list I said.
>> >My best guess is that physical state humans will not exist long
>> >after the singularity--something I can't see holding off even half
>> >way to the end of this century.
>> >Then the question becomes how our intellectual descendants deal with
>> >the problems. I suspect at best humans will have the status of
>> >cats--in some ways an unnerving prospect considering what we do to
>> >cats.

What is really "human" and what is "extinction" or "survival"?

After a fashion, a measure of how successful a species is in Darwinian
terms is how fast it "disappears" - being replaced by its evolutionary
successors. Nietzsche himself says: "The species, seen from a
distance, is something as insubstantial as the individual. The
'conservation of the species' is only a consequence of the growth of
the species, that is of a victory on the species, in the path towards
a stronger species. [...] It is exactly with respect to every living
being that it could be best shown that it does everything that it can
not to protect itself, but to become more than what it is".

Accordingly, there is no real reason why we should not reserve our
emotional investment in the human *clade* rather than, and as opposed
to, the "mankind" at any given moment of time. And again, it is at the
end of the say arbitrary to limit our vision of such clade in terms of
an uninterrupted sequence of DNA replicators, the "children of the
mind" being conceivably deserving to be considered as our children as
well as our biological offspring.

Thus, I am always dismayed to see high-profile... transhumanists, of
all possible thinkers, seeing the advent or success of general AI as
some kind of existential risk.

Existence of whom?, one wonders, given that our own existence is
facing the much more urgent risk (or rather certainty) of
ageing-induced death. Unless of course one really believes one's
personal survival to be about to be directly threatened by giant
Robot-Gods in the business of stealing one's steaks or hunting down
old-fashioned "human beings" for sport's sake,

Stefano Vaj

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