Transhumanity, like it or not? (was: Prince Charles gets
jbone at deepfile.com
Mon Apr 28 14:12:34 PDT 2003
On Monday, Apr 28, 2003, at 12:05 US/Central, Russell Turpin wrote:
> The problem with the argument above is that it
> essentially closes the option for people who DON'T
> want to become trans-human.
Russell, they close the option for themselves. Or rather, the option
closes itself for them.
> You almost seem to say
> that they are doomed to extinction, in the not too
> distant future, or at least, that you view the
> latter as a sort of lifeboat to that probability.
Yes, I do. (If I'm parsing you correctly.)
> For much of humanity the continuation of humanity
> -- meaning primates like you and I now are -- will
> remain qualitatively more important than the
> propagation of its "intellectual descendants."
I'm not sure what you're arguing about, here. If the choices are
strictly "continuity in any necessary form whatsoever" vs. "no
continuity at all" then IMHO only an irrational nihilist (who we can
probably ignore, easily refute if necessary) argues for the latter.
The prospect of any sort of current-model humanity getting (in
significant numbers) off-planet, out-of-system, and safely ducking
various kinds of existential risks seems, by turns, increasingly,
vanishingly unlikely --- belonging in the realm of what will eventually
be viewed as quaint, even pre-technological (relatively speaking)
There will be no Star Trek; that meme set represents a *failure of
imagination* over the long haul. (Low shock level.) It seems very
likely that we either move to "silicon" (metaphor) (at least for
transit purposes) or all humanity will likely die on this mudball / in
orbit around our particular fireball etc.
Why bother to build giant, expensive, slow ships when just a few grams
of even moderately efficient computronium can (a) carry millions of
minds, (b) be accelerated to much higher speeds much more efficiently,
and (c) travel much more safely given a lower impact profile? And even
despite "why bother" arguments, the "economics" of macro-scale ships
carrying corporeal entities and all their needs are unfavorable to the
point of physical impracticality for most interstellar travel. (And
almost every solution to making the economics tenable leads also to
If you upload folks for the purpose of interstellar transit / diaspora,
well, I submit that they're transhuman whether or not they ever
> If you say the latter isn't possible, they will say:
> let's work on it more. Regardless, they do NOT view
> the latter as an acceptable alternative to the
So the key to winning the day in this is to produce iron-clad,
convincing arguments that it truly is an either-or scenario: either
transhumanity, or extinction. Or, perhaps: either transhumanity in
myriad flavors or no humanity of any flavor. Note that "yes to
transhumanity" does not imply forced transhumanity for any single
individual, so the neo-Luddites can obey their death-memes while the
rest of us watch their little die-off.
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