Re: Transhumanist Community

From: David Picon Alvarez (
Date: Thu Dec 08 2005 - 08:51:36 MST

From: "Chris Capel" <>
> The availability of resources is much less relevant than group
> dynamics which, in this case, place strong bounds on the kind of
> resources that do end up producing publicly visible discussion, and
> not just a lot of silence. The "valuable and limited" resources you
> probably have in mind are people who often wouldn't really be
> interested in popularizing, and fighting the consequent popular
> mischaracterization, of transhumanist ideas. Other people with more
> time, less expertise, and a willingness to do this sort of thing can
> more than make up for that.

Sure, but what is the point? There's, from a singularitarian standpoint, one
fundamental criterion to use when judging the utility of something: is this
likely to increase the probability of FAI? In my view, unqualified
visibility isn't necessarily useful from this standpoint.

Visibility among technical people likely to contribute, though, is. But
that's an entirely different matter, and in fact popular mischaracterization
of transhuman/singularitarian ideas might be counterproductive, driving
people away.

> So, you disagree with the basic premise of the post I was responding
> to, that transhumanist causes are rather improverished as far as the
> public visibility of the debate over those issues? You think that our
> current visibility is enough? Well, then, it doesn't really matter
> what we do one way or another to increase it. But I think you'll find
> many people here that disagree with you.

It might matter if transhuman ideas, the singularity, the whole field of AI,
become popularized in such a way that they drive tehcnically-minded,
intelligent people away, because the popular understanding thereof is
clearly bogus. I'm not saying a visibility campaign has such an inevitable
result, but it is one of the possible ones.

> To limit one's audience to those with a lot of intelligence and who
> are conversant in the technical language used by transhumanist
> advocates is to effectively seal debate about transhumanism from the
> public sphere. I think Brandon Reinhart realizes this, and it bothers
> him.

Well, I am not qualified to debate superstring theory, much as I would like
to think otherwise, and a good proportion of the public is not qualified to
debate FAI, the singularity, effects of MNT, etc.

On the other hand, the good thing is, if I wanted and I took the time I
could make myself capable to debate superstring theory, and if a member of
the public feels compelled to get informed they can as well get ready to
debate transhuman issues, in principle.


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