An Open Letter To Robot Cultists

Via amor mundi, Dale Carrico hopes to douse some sober reality onto those awaiting a transhumanist, technocratic future:

Any child can indulge in wish fulfillment fantasizing. It’s not a philosophy [or] a movement. And the way you Robot Cultists do it makes you a kind of techno-transcendental New Age cult too hype-notized to notice you are functioning as a crowdsourced cheerleading squad for celebrity CEOs and ramped up gizmo consumerism at a time when the world is literally perishing from extractive- industrial- petrochemical- consumer- indebted- corporate- militarism.

The digital revolution is a lie. Cyberspace isn’t a spirit realm. It belches coal smoke. It is accessed on landfill-destined toxic devices made by wretched wage slaves. It abetted financial fraud and theft at every level of society around the world. Its “openness” and its “freedom” turned out to be targeted marketing harassment, panoptic surveillance, and zero comments.

Your Robot Cult — whether in its eugenicist transhumanoid sects, or in its dead-ender AI (artificial imbecillence) Singularitarian nerd-rapture sects, or in its vitamin supplement replacement parts shiny robot body soul-migration techno-immortalist sects, or in its nano-santa nano-genies-in-a-bottle nano-cornucopiast sects, or in its greenwashing hyper-denialist “geo-engineering” sects — your Robot Cult, I say, takes all the lies of crass commercialism — it takes all its infomercial boner pills and anti-aging kremes and endless promises of consumer ecstasy — and then sets the volume dial on eleven, turning what was just ugly stupid embarrassing commonplace circus-barker deception and crack-pottery into full on fulminating faith.

Read the rest at amor mundi

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  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.fischer.73 Eric Fischer

    Well that was a pretty brutal bitchslap to techno-fetishists.
    I like it.

    • Lower H8

      If your definition of “brutal bitchslap” is “shrieking limp-wristed freakout lacking any sort of appeal to reason,” then maybe.

      • Jose Garcia

        I don’t think we read the same article

      • Dale Carrico

        “Limp-Wristed”? Interesting.

  • Tchoutoye

    Is it too early to nominate this for best article of 2013?

    • Lower H8

      Yes.

  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    People actually believe this stuff?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

    frankly i think the people he is attacking are the true thinkers and pioneers of the current age sounds to me that he is just another fuckn hippie bashing technology and i dont vibe with that being a old school cyberpunk head from the neuromancer days… though i do agree that E waste is a real problem , we need to do something other then simply going back to an age before modern tech… this kinda shit always comes from some hippie type that bases these kinda criticisms what goat herders in mid east/far east said in various books. earth in Gene Roddenberry’s star trek is amazing and evolved place where abundance and peace abound and every ,i assure you not the the case in any point in human history. up untill now (and i would argue that we still act like barbarians today)its been pretty brutal. time for new ideas

    • alizardx

      Can you pick up a soldering pencil without burning yourself? What’s your favorite Electronic Computer Aided Design software package? Are you a Windows user?

      I make technology. I don’t worship it. Nor do I worship the “wise men” of techno-capitalism your movement is designed to support, both in terms of their egos and protecting them from being taxed like ordinary mortals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

    its statements like” cyberspace is not the spirit realm”that makes me think he is a hippie techno phobe ,those that love “cyber culture” are no longer seeking the “spirit realm” we have found peace in contemplating “do androids dream of electric sheep”

    • jnana

      “do androids dream of electric sheep” is a critique of technology and it’s inherent lack of empathy, and how people become like what they use. In the book, hope was expressed by the mercer movement which is very much a messianic-type movement akin to Christianity, who PKD was a follower of, though heretical.

    • jnana

      Some of us don’t want to live in a robot world, either. Some people have empathy for all forms of life including plants and animals. CPUs don’t share the true spark of life. And that spark is being dimmed in a technophilic world. that is what PKD was talking about in “Do Androids dream of electric sheep” It was a satirical critique of technophilia, not an advocate of it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.fischer.73 Eric Fischer

      Love the book and the movie, but that question’s been answered, Androids dream of whatever their programmers tell them to dream of.

      • alizardx

        that book / movie is SF, not a documentary. We have no idea what AI sentient beings are going to be like and anyone who thinks they know THE TRUTH about this are either trying to sell you something or have advertised their ignorance.

        We might know in 20 years when the state of the art enables human-scale brain emulations possible, this is based on Moore’s Law projections of the recent IBM/Google work. If the software is ready in time, which I wouldn’t bet on.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          The existence of functional AI to the level people dream of requires a couple assumptions to be true

          • alizardx

            none of which are really testable without ~1500x the CPU capacity available today. (based on IBM / Google recent work) So I don’t really get excited when I’m told what AIs of the future are going to be like. We can’t even predict what a human being is going to be like before it;s born, and we have actual experience with them.

        • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire
      • Lower H8

        Fronkensteeen!!! It’s alive!! Oh No!!!

    • Jose Garcia

      He’s a blogging addict what makes you think he doesn’t love cyber culture too

  • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

    , i found it funny he posted on the internet or as he referred to it the myth of technology hippies crack me up , always hating on technology but never have any real solutions to real problems just opinions about how other people should live in harmony with the earth (SOME OF US DONT WANT TO LIVE IN A CAVE)but never any real solutions ever just generic staments like “You could have been something better, you could have done something else, but you didn’t. It’s not too late to wake up and help out.” who is he talking to how does he know that they are not something better already ,and help out how? this is just rhetoric ,the rantings of a techno phobe, with no real substance…

    • Jose Garcia

      You’re observing the irony inherent in your own straw man argument. That’s ironic in itself.

    • Dale Carrico

      So, everybody who doesn’t believe the corporate-military status quo is going to provide a way to buy your way to techno-transcendence and techno-immortality as a cyberangel upload in Holodeck Heaven or in a shiny robot body wallowing on a magic nano treasure pile should live naked and cold in a cave? Robot Cultists have never made a single contribution to actual science or real social progress. “No real substance,” indeed. I champion actual consensus scientific research and the equitable distribution of its costs, risks, and benefits to the diversity of its stakeholders, and I champion actual education, agitation, organization, legislation to solve our shared problems and facilitate progress toward equity-in-diversity. “Rantings of a technophobe”? You decide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

    this is the kinda thinking that jello biafra was talking about in california uber allis ,eco fascists … you can see the hippy rhetoric clearly in statements like ” It belches coal smoke. It is accessed on landfill-destined toxic devices made by wretched wage slaves. It abetted financial fraud and theft at every level of society around the world. Its “openness” and its “freedom” turned out to be targeted marketing harassment, panoptic surveillance, and zero comments.” E waste is a serious problem but if this guy wants to help maybe he should sell his pc or what ever device he is using to blog on the net ad move to the woods or maybe start an E recycling project !

    • alizardx

      Funny that your movement is financed by the mainstream GOP funders. What’s the futurist vision of Koch Oil? Peter Theil puts his political money into electing Republicans. The people who want to cut science and educational budgets. The people who paid for the anti-science and anti-woman and anti-gay GOP 2012 political campaigns.

      The problems he accurately cites are the problems of industrial capitalism in general, which come down to short-term profit at the expense of everybody, and the way it’s operating is indeed a threat to humanity including the superwealthy themselves. The mess has to be cleaned up before it puts an end to technological civilization. There won’t be sentient AIs or life extension after a technology collapse.

      The political message of the Singularity/US Transhumanist movements is that we need do nothing, the natural workings of the techno-capitalist system will bring to us free REALLY expensive things like bioenhancement and all we have to do is BELIEVE. And that the news aggregators of Kurzweil AI and the Singularity Hub describe accurately THE FUTURE!!! in the press releases they repost. Anybody who has actually worked in technology or science knows better. I make technology, I’ve worked at VC funded startups. Have you?

      Only hippies are supposed to be concerned about global warming? Given that most hippies aren’t going to live long enough to see its worst impacts, one would think that a rational millenial would be in the forefront of people who want to do something about it.

      The future comes out of the present, something any real Futurist should know. I’ve followed the money behind your movements. To find out what kind of future your “friends” want to see, all you have to do is follow the money they spend on politics.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

        what movement im not a futurist or a trans humanist , im a good old fashion fan of j r “bob” dobb’s church of the sub-genius ,a R A Wilson/h s thompson loving freak. i could care less about trans humanists , the technocracy or other elite groups . the hippy/hipster( in any form) are no different in my eyes just another group of people telling ya how the world is, how reality is,some cats don’t need a ridged paradigm ,and can be environmental , compassionate,hang out in the woods be self sufficient and love androids ,robots, space ,computers and gadgets at the same time ,and all with out a snotty elitist attitude

        • alizardx

          Robert Anton Wilson was considered a “conspiracy theorist” because he dug into the stories about the elites that the mass media owned by the elites weren’t covering. Did you ever go to any of his lectures? If you don’t like people telling you “how the world works”, find out for yourself or keep baaing line one of the sheeple.

          RAW knew the lesson that the futurists allegedly continuing his legacy never got. The future is a sheaf of probabilities that come from the present. If you don’t know how politics and economics and technocapitalism and technology work, you can’t talk about the future and be worth listening to. RAW’s degree was in Electrical Engineering.

          HST’s writings ripped into the elites. Is what you know of him based only on that one movie? Find a copy of his “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

            ive read everything by HST(my favorite is the collection of letters to and from him) and RAW,most of there contemporaries Leary ect just to make it clear when it comes to counter culture on the real side of things im a vet ( not blowing my horn just cutting through the BS so i can talk shop ).. im not down with any elite hip or main stream the cool game is lame. i saw raw in SF back in the 90s he is a pretty neat guy .

    • DeepCough

      “California Uber Alles” was a big “fuck-you” song aimed at Jerry Brown, governor-at-the-time of California while DK was still a band. This article is a vicious screed against the religiosity and metaphysical grandeur of robotic transhumanism and the advent of industrial technocracy which is slowly, but surely, eating away at us all by supplanting us with the unnatural and electronic, a theme very oft-expounded in a whole fuck lot of science-fiction stories.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

        “Zen fascists will control you100% natural
        You will jog for the master race
        And always wear the happy face

        Close your eyes, can’t happen here
        Big Bro’ on white horse is near
        The hippies won’t come back you say
        Mellow out or you will pay”
        clearly jello was speaking on more then just jerry brown and i understand that this guy was criticizing “trans humanism” but it all sounds like the same thing i have heard my hippy friends say for 20 years the same people that say things like we shouldnt have a space program till we solve war famine ect here at home. its bull shit , the biggest load of bull shit is the fact that he is using the same tech he is criticizing to climb up non to his high horse and spout the same” cave man talk” that all pc punks and hippies always spout. just another form of elitism …

        • DeepCough

          Lotta people use the system to criticize the system–it’s the business model of the Republican Party.

          • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

            and the Democratic party and every other political party out there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Miller/100000952005408 Bruce Miller

      China now working hard for Solar, Wind,
      Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, Biological, all domestic renewable =
      perpetual = eternal clean energy sources, and have thorium fissioning
      units online and up and running by 2017. Even CANDU reactors there
      (from Canada) running today on thorium. Quite your hearts now, the
      real revolution in energy and all it brings mankind is about to come
      onstage in Asia, not the U.S.A. – Americans are still fully blinkered
      by the Great Corporate American Propaganda Whore’s mesmerizations and
      only allowed to think in terms of 20th century internal combustion
      engines on rubber wheels, Gasoline, not even diesel engines, and oil
      intensive jet engined travel. As long as the multi national and
      plutocratic powers, (the major share holders in this world’s oil)
      control the propaganda machines, this will be the case.

      • Jose Garcia

        If they are starting five years from now they aren’t online. The history of nuclear power is replete with vapourware so I’ll believe in Thorium reactors when somebody has actually solved the fuel cycle problem with a working reactor that well.. works.

      • Dale Carrico

        I’m an advocate of renewable energy research and investment. Nobody joins a Robot Cult because they respect consensus science or sensible public policy. The futurological “environmentalist” program tends to involve greenwashing promises of corporate-military “geo-engineering” wet-dreams requiring no change in the consumer extractive industrial petrochemical status quo. More: Futurology Against Ecology.

  • DrDavidKelly

    The article seems reactionary at first but given a long-now view, it maybe onto something. When humanity is but a tick on the universe’s intentions? The ‘cyber-revolution’ is less than a fad. Besides this, who worships robotics? The dull end of technology.

  • other mr T

    Hater! Robots are our friends.

  • star0

    Dale Carrico has been critiquing transhumanism for years now. It’s nothing new. See some of his battles with Giulio Prisco:

    http://turingchurch.com/2012/08/02/socrates-had-haemorrhoids-and-diarrhea/

  • bobbiethejean

    This sounds like a fat load of fear-mongering from someone who wants to live the rest of his life in a cave without air conditioning, internet, or microwaves because those things are evil, commercialistic, anti-nature byproducts of anarcho-capitalist techno-Satan worshiping environment-haters.

    • alizardx

      The author of the original article spotted the connection between right-wing technocapitalist money who can not logically support the goals of longer-lived and smarter masses competing with them for “their” resources 4 years before I did. Remember the comment I made that you recommended I turn into an article? It was based on his earlier work. (cited in a comment in progress)

      The problems he cites are simply the problems of industrial capitalism. Our choices? Solve them or they will solve us. Imagine getting another 50 years of potential life in a world where due to ecological disaster in progress, food is suddenly a luxury for the extremely wealthy only. Technocapitalist billionaires are simply a subset of a transnational elite that is leading the world to disaster. They are not morally superior to the rest of billionaire class, despite the promotion of their images that way in the Singularity/Transhumanist media.

      • bobbiethejean

        Here’s the thing- I don’t disagree that there are serious problems with transhumanism and technology advancement and he’s right about quite a few of his points. However, his message is so badly conveyed, presumptuous, and full of fear-mongering it’s ridiculous. I am about as far left as one can get without being an actual mascot for everything the cuntservatives are terrified of but I am a HUGE proponent of transhumanism, technology, and science. I’m not blind to the troubles that may come with it. For example, we may see a class of superwealthy people becoming more and more advanced, living longer, never having to work, enjoying luxury lifestyles while the rest of us toil and die like slaves in the gutter. That’s worrisome. I don’t deny that. However, that is no excuse to stop pursuing technological advancement. We simply need to pursue socioeconomic issues at the same time. No?

        • alizardx

          Certainly. Pointed at AmorMundi because the conversion of Singularitarians / assimilation of Transhumanism into a Singularity PR machine is something discussed by practically nobody. In part, suspect that the revenue stream of any place which might logically cover this (e.g. io9 or verge) might suddenly dry up if one did… if I were to turn my collected posts on this here into an article, I doubt anybody would buy it despite my credentials as a technology journalist.

          However, the outsider among the US Transhumanist leadership, Rachel Haywire, does know about this and agrees with me that the co-opting of Transhumanism to serve a corporate agenda opposed to its nominal purpose IS a problem. Whether her running for H+ Board of Directors for the purpose of transforming the agenda is the fix, we’ll see.

        • Jose Garcia

          I am about as far left as one can get without being an actual mascot for everything the cuntservatives are terrified of

          That just means you’re slightly to the left of McCain

          • alizardx

            What does “left”-centrism v right-centrism have to do with anything? To make solving any big problem possible, the power of political centrists has to be reduced.

          • bobbiethejean

            Pfftt. :P Sad but probably not all that far off from the truth.

  • alizardx

    The US Singularity/Transhuman movement is basically a mask of the conservative corporate GOP. I fully support the ideas of smarter and longer-lived humans through bioenhancement, but this movement was never intended to achieve their nominal goals. If there’s anybody around who is actually serious about making this happen in the USA, start a new movement and call it something other than Transhumanism so as to not be confused with the astroturf using this name.

    I don’t discuss the Singularity and US Transhumanist movements separately, the Transhumanist movement in the USA has been assimilated into the Singularity and can be considered the alt-hipster culture marketing of an apolitical agenda designed to neutralize hipsters for the benefit of the “uncool GOP”.

    The origins of the Singularity movement in right-wing politics and scientific racism and Randite theology are discussed in another Amormundi article here: http://amormundi.blogspot.com/2008/03/ayn-raelians.html – here are some reviews which should tell you why you should read this:

    “Mean, but true.” – Annalee Newitz
    “Pretty breathless, but I guess it had to be said.” – Bruce Sterling
    “An essential reality check for those who are too entranced by transhumanism to notice the sordid reality behind the curtain.” – Charlie Stross

    Well-known Luddites, all, right?

    The one error in the article is the guess that part of Theil’s motivation in funding Singularity Institute is to get access to advanced AI technology. In an era where a wealthy Ray Kurzweil has moved to Google because they can afford the dedicated datacenters and hardware engineering teams required for serious AI work and he can’t, there’s no point in small players anymore. What’s left for this Theil-backed group? Politics.

    Another Theil-backed group is Humanity Plus (as in H+) – http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2010/12/08/peter-thiel-challenges-silicon-valleys-wealthy-to-back-breakthrough-philanthropic-causes/ .

    So what do the people behind the Singularity/Transhumanism put the political money they aren’t spending on the “movements”?

    Peter Theil, primary Singularity funder – http://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/donor_detail.php?cycle=2012&id=U0000004022&type=I&super=N&name=Thiel%2C+Peter+A. – what kind of Futurist vision is behind donating to anti-science / anti-gay / anti-environmental GOP political campaigns?

    Another conservative corporate link to the Singularity – http://extremefuturistfestival.com/about.html – from the Reason logo on the sponsors section to where Reason Magazine gets its money and control from: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Reason

    After seeing Reason on the sponsors list, didn’t have to look anywhere else. anyone who knows anything about politics will see that the list of its financial backers here IS the mainstream GOP ideological funding machine, I recognized almost every one of the names. (ask anybody who knows politics) Speculate for yourself as to why Reason Magazine supports Transhumanism.

    The reason for existence for the organizations behind Reason is to implement the “Futurist vision” of the Powell memo of 1971 – which basically said that the working class had too much money and power and it was time for the super-rich to do something about it. The early 70s were the best time in history for the working class, it was normal for whoever the breadwinner of a single-income household (usually the male, but not always) to be able to buy a house, have good employer-paid medical benefits, and enjoy a secure retirement.

    How many millenials who read this see this in YOUR future? The futurist vision they had in mind was an island of wealth in a sea of poor. Their vision is coming to pass. If you’re a successful hipster creative, don’t think you’ve necessarily escaped.

    Times have changed, from what I can see, the technocapitalist version is an island of immortal supersmart wealthy in a sea of short-lived stupid poor whose economic function to them has been replaced by robots.

    There is NO NEED for a movement to achieve these goals, all this takes is billionaires willing to write checks and to lobby Congress for more money to support academic research from which they only will benefit.

    Why fund a movement? If The Wonders of The Future!!! will be achieved by the natural progress of techno-capitalism, no need to organize for things. No need to join Anonymous or Occupy. No need even to vote. Just wait. So they have reason to put money into a movement spreading this message.

    Politics is the process of deciding social priorities on how money is spent on a society-wide level. R&D for major bioenhancement projects once there’s a legal and regulatory framework to make the risk believable might indeed be possible. Mass US deployment of neurotech “smartpeople” implants 300M adults x $100K (per procedure – optimistic)=$30 trillion Who’s paying?

    Note that this is almost regardless of what is *in* the device, and I’m assuming development of robotic surgery to the point where one neurosurgeon can supervise several procedures simultaneously. Lesson here – medical care is distributed on a one-to-one basis and doesn’t scale much. The only possible fix? “Government is the ultimate crowdfunding”.

    The Russian Transhumanists know this, that’s why they’re building a political party. The rules are different in a Parliamentary system, they get ONE Member of Parliament elected, the ruling and opposition coalitions WILL listen to get that MP committed to one or the other. In the US, one gets the same impact as a “special interest group” aka superPAC.

    If this is NOT the vision, the Transhumanist movement is either even less effective than the US political left is in terms of achieving its collective True Will. The Left very occasionally wins.

    What progress has US Transhumanism made towards it’s alleged goals? “Making people aware” is worse than useless if what one is “making people aware” of is a “THE FUTURE!!” that CAN NOT branch out of the probability sheaf of possible futures coming out of the world of today.

    Conservative Republican organizations and people are happy to fund “making people aware”. And nobody EVER asks why? Why would their billonaire backers want a mass of smarter, longer-lived people competing for the resources they think of as their own? Of course they don’t.

    So if anyone is serious about making everybody who wants to be bioenhanced, don’t look to any major Singularity backer for help.

    The mainstream GOP corporate backers of Singularity/Transhumanism won’t pay for political organization usable for Transhumanist goals, they are paying to sell “people high-tech pie in the sky by and by” as the inevitable result of techno-capitalism requiring no organised political action to get what we want… to suckers aka “True Believers” aka “sheeple”.

    As for the concept of the surgeon being completely replaced by robotic technology which I’ve actually seen used to support the idea that the cost of neural implants will drop to effectively zero, don’t bet on it even in 20-30 years when this becomes possible. (projecting this as requiring sentient AIs… this is a judgement as well as a data processing problem) Here, the problem would be political. Do you know what the American Medical Association spends on lobbying? Can Transhumanists beat it AND get the other laws and regs needed for serious OpenSource research R&D onto the books?

    Successful delivery of Open Source DIY-transhumanism bioenhancement technology to the masses runs up against the same problems any other R&D that gets to bioenhancement does, in order to get implanted anything into 300M people, the ONLY delivery system that can get it to them is Big Health / Big Pharma, there is NO other affordable way to get to mass access. As to why I see mass demand, the existence of “smarterhuman” neural implant (either wetware or electronic) tech means “get it or you can’t compete”.

    That means that successful experimenters will be building VC funded companies and raising money for FDA approval, most likely, turning ‘Open Source’ into proprietary technology that can be patented, and in general, acting just like any other hardware startup. In part, this is because the Open Source licensing models based on software protected by copyright break when one gets into hardware whose primary intellectual property protection is patents,

    Health care will change, but surgery is going to be delivered or at least supervised in the case of robotic surgeons by doctors. No, the Transhuman movement is NOT going to build an alternate national health care delivery system.

    Unless the bioenhancement of the future will get only to the rich and k3w1 people with the right bioh4xx0r connections. I don’t like this vision much more than I like the “rich-only” version. Maybe it’s an alt-hipster vision, but that’s a reason for buying into it?

    Whether we get mass access to bioenhancement or not is not about the technology we are told by “the movement” to look at, it’s *all* about politics. Given the money, we can buy the research and technology.

    To get this tech to mass access no matter how it is created, we in the US need a First World style national health care system with coverage for bioenhancement tech. National health care is considered “too expensive” ONLY because the transnational elite (among whom the funders of the Singularity are numbered) are tired of helping pay for it. If you disagree, let’s hear alternatives. But since I actually know something about public policy analysis and how things get done both in government and how venture capitalism and how R&D works from startup experience, your choices are to know what you’re talking about or be mercilessly shredded.

    As for the concept of the surgeon being completely replaced by robotic technology, don’t bet on it even in 20-30 years when this becomes possible. (projecting this as requiring sentient AIs… this is a judgement as well as a data processing problem) Here, the problem would be political. Do you know what the American Medical Association spends on lobbying? Can Transhumanists beat it AND get the other laws and regs needed for serious OpenSource research R&D onto the books?

    Can a program for making people longer-lived, healthier, and smarter through technology be sold to the American people? It’s my understanding that the RU transhumanists did surveys on this question in RU before they started organizing. Would this be true of the USA? We’ll never know if the question doesn’t get asked. The argument can also be made that the problems in the US and the world have gotten so big that smarter people are *needed* if we all are to survive.

    [work in progress – unless somebody would like to save me the trouble

    • Lower H8

      Great post! I really am persuaded to look more deeply into your issues with US Transhumanism. If the author of Amormundi has additional valuable points, perhaps you could also translate them for us!!

      • alizardx

        As I said, if you want to know the real Futurist vision of the funders of the Singularity/US Transhumanism… FOLLOW THE MONEY. I want this “K3w1″ stuff to really happen. But if my life is extended, I’d like to be able to breathe the air and eat the food and not have to go to the Rocky Mountains in order to find a beach that isn’t underwater. :-)

    • alizardx

      Apparently, I am NOT the only person interested in Transhumanism that thinks that the idea of a Singularity / US Transhumanist movement that exists to make mass access to life extension and bioenhancement technology impossible is a problem that needs to be fixed.

      Rachel Haywire is running for the Board of Directors of H+ in the hopes of changing Transhumanism into the movement its rank and file people want it to be. If you are a member of H+.
      you should support her. Her candidate statement is here: http://transhumanity.net/articles/entry/why-i-am-running-for-the-humanity-board-of-directors1

      Whether one believes that this movement can be changed from the inside, I am certain that she is sincere and if elected, she will try to fix it.

      • https://sites.google.com/site/themattprather Matt Prather

        “Great post” = I agree!

        I have read three posts from amor mundi now:
        1: http://amormundi.blogspot.ie/2012/08/an-open-letter-to-robot-cultists.html
        2: http://amormundi.blogspot.com/2008/03/ayn-raelians.html
        3: http://amormundi.blogspot.com/2009/01/condensed-critique-of-transhumanism.html

        and I give the author there a lot of my respect now, too.

        If I were “on the jury” deliberating the question of Haywire’s merits, we’d still be “out”. (And I waste time “out to lunch” as well.)

        I do agree with your follow-the-money analysis and I agree that techno capital elitists (Thiel, et alia) are not to be given our consent or to be empowered by us; on the contrary, they are inimical to their low-level followers as well as their opponents. They are to be opposed and run out.

        One thing that keeps me out-to-lunch and out-in-general is that . But your concerns about running out of resources is also one of my concerns. The discordance and intractability of current human opinions while we consume energetic resource reserves (without proven alternatives) is a major problem, one that cannot be gotten around no matter how many times people present their cases and explicate their considered analyses about what course of action is right. I think you think that, and I tell you I think it too. The elite’s upper hand give them an advantage over the en-darkened masses of people and everyone’s “sacred opinions”. A major problem, that. It seems they may maintain technological command over the rest of humanity if we can’t come to better consensus than we can now.

        Basically, things will go like this:
        Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Debate → Oops! → Welcome to a regression of civilization and a new dark ages OR a world run by Peter Thiel’s clique.

        I think one difference you and I have is that I fear a regression or en-darkenment (a decline in civilization, or a “dark age”) less than I fear the consequences of a premature rush to technological “enlightenment”. I think time will allow humanity to again come to a position to “reach for the stars” even if we lay waste to ourselves and blow our chance this time. As far as the question of the current financial-capital elite winning by default, I have a belief that they have “misunderestimated” humanity, and they simply cannot win because of something in humanity which they did not foresee or plan for.

        (Their ownership system may have worked for generations under certain circumstances, but it will not work coming out of the present under present circumstances)

        Perhaps in the near future I will be more influenced by what I read from you and I will come more on-board with your perspective.

        I will make another post on the Haywire-for-H-Plus discussion page here at disinfo later tonight, after I do more thinking. And then I will do the same again the next day.

    • Curtis Maxfield

      you are wrong, its mostly techno libertarians and liberals with some gop which is actually recent.

      • alizardx

        You don’t know what you are talking about, Look into where Peter Theil puts the political money he spends that does not go into your movement.

        The Transhuman concept that we’re also going to get really expensive medical stuff (bioenhancement hardware and whatever life extension turns out to be) either free or really cheap from the natural workings of the “free” “enterprise” system falls apart upon close examination. Will ObamaCare pay for cognitive-enhancement implants? Will typical corporate medical plans?

        If access to this will be limited to the people who can afford low-volume / extremely sophsiticated medical care, i.e. people with Romney-level bucks and up, just what is your movement for?

        A movement isn’t needed to make it possible for the wealthy to write checks to researchers or top hospitals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

    i am no technophile by far i spend 3-6 months a year living i national forests more then most that are “all about going back to nature ever do”. i am well aware of what PKD was talkig about in D.A.D.O.E.S ,its called a pun but i guess ya didnt catch the sarcasm…but my points still stands its rhetoric and not really that good sounds like he should start a food not bombs or maybe start a E recycle program otherwise its just another elitist vegan hippy type telling the rest of us how we should view our world . im with R A Wilson on this” i cannot say how things ARE in the world only how they seems to me” cats like this always want people to see the world exactly as they see it (you ca tell by the condescending tone ,he is mature and the “robot cultists” are childish)some of us are not married to one paradigm!

  • Lower H8

    I can’t get past the shrill, aggressive tone of this writer. Went to his blog, and found more of the same, without any attempt to document his allegations with any sort of references. I used to have the same knee-jerk reaction of venomous rage against technology. Hung out with all sorts of self-righteous critical theory types. Slowly it set in how there was no place for someone of my working-class roots in the liberal arts circles. Only the decadent, independently wealthy dilettante has any business worrying their soft little noggin about this sort of mumbo jumbo. It is only by becoming an engineering student that I have found any real value in academia. It is human nature to build and shape our environment. Yes, we make mistakes, and can even fuck up big time. However, we are empowered to use our tool-building nature to repair the damage. We’re at a decisive point in our evolution, and have a good chance of utterly self-destructing. But I’m betting we’re better than that. I’m looking forward to zipping by the author’s cranky East Bay hovel in a goddamn clean-fusion-powered-flying-fucking-car one day, absolutely glowing with the youth of extended life.

    • alizardx

      I suggest looking into who’s paying for your precious “movement” and ask yourself if their future goals match yours.

      • Lower H8

        As stated in my reply to your post, I’m interested in and appreciative of your perspective on this. You type in complete sentences, use real words, and provide links to support your statements. My gripe is with the shrill, shrieking, luddite, doctrinaire rantings of the blogger we’re discussing. He makes your argument look bad.

        • alizardx

          The AmorMundi article linked to below actually makes more sense… particularly if you go in from my link which tells you what to look for.

          The main points of the article the Disinfo post is about are:
          1. Technocapitalism is just another form of industrial capitalism. Technocapitalists are just another form of industrial capitalist. The Web is a product of industrial capitalism, making bits instead of steel using the cheapest possible methods which are extremely bad for the environment.
          2. The Singularity PR machine uses technohucksterism to protect technocapitalist business as usual and promote its financial backers’ right to avoid paying the taxes the “little people” do and to avoid regulation including environmental which might interfere with their ability to maximize short-term profits and that is its only purpose.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

      great points

    • Jose Garcia

      You speak of a lack of references, didn’t you notice the extensive quotes. He’s assuming that the people he’s quoting actually mean what they say, does he need additional references to prove that

      question mark at the end of that rhetorical sentence unavailable due to spilled can of red bull

  • alizardx

    I look forward to the creation of sentient AI life forms. Interesting people with unique perspectives are where you find them, and if somebody is worth talking to, I don’t care if that person is non-human.

    Though if the money going into this succeeds, I suspect AI labor union organizers will become A Real Thing, I don’t buy the vision of armies of robot workers happily working for free.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.fischer.73 Eric Fischer

      If it really happens, all it will do is make human life a whole lot cheaper than it is right now.

      • alizardx

        The first generation AIs are going to be full data centers… more expensive than a single person and her education and medical support.

  • alizardx

    BTW, I am not suggesting that the Singularity backers would be better people if they backed Obama. The Democratic Party has been essentially captured by the same centrist “the sole legitimate goal of government is upward transfer of wealth” ideology.

    The “anti-science” “pro-bigotry” GOP message is replaced by “left”centrists with something more acceptable because they’re marketing to a different demographic. Dig behind the hype as I did with the Singularity PR machine and you won’t like what you see, either.

    The biggest difference between “left” centrism and the right-centrism of the GOP money behind the Singularity is that “left-centrists” want to “boil the frog slower” to get maximum nutrition for their backers out and right-centrists want to turn up the heat to the point where the pot melts and the stove explodes.

    Being in that pot, the idea of getting cooked is NOT my Futurist vision.

    And no, the Amormundi articles are NOT well presented. Plow through them as I did to extract the meaning worth keeping.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pac.rat.7 Pac Rat

    the guys over at sea lab 2021 once asked “would you put your brain in a robot body” though im not sure if im up for all that. but if they could my dogs brain in a robot body cuz that is an idea i could get behind. as long as her new robot body was designed to be as snugly as she is now i wouldn’t give it a second thought ,cyber dogs for everyone…

  • DeepCough

    Well, I thought this article was a vehement diatribe about the advent of the dystopia of industrial technocracy brought about by the love of electronic materialism and fetishizing of transhumanistic robotification, things which are come off as very, very dark themes in science-fiction, like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ghost in the Shell.

  • flipdog

    maybe an unrelated side-issue, but using the word ‘Luddite’ to attack someone who questions the value of ever-changing technology actually shows complete ignorance of what the Luddite movement was about – it was about social justice (I know, that’s a dirty phrase, shame on me for using it). A much better exposition than I am capable of is ‘Rebels against the Future,’ by Kirkpatrick Sale.

    • mannyfurious

      Well, I think that’s a good point. But the term has certainly taken on new meanings as time has gone on. What bugs me about people using the term is that they feel that calling someone a “luddite” suddenly ends the debate. Like, “Ooh, bitch, I just called you a luddite and now it’s all ova!” But the fallacy is in believing being a luddite is automatically something to be abhorred. I generally wear the term with a sense of pride.

  • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

    Wonderful scathing rebuttal of a sick techno-shamanistic catch net.

    Kudos and Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

    Tom Murphy is a physicist who often blogs about energy issues. He’s illuminated many troubling aspects surrounding the predicament of peak oil. Whether you appreciate the above anti-tech letter or not, there are clear thermodynamic limitations to maintaining current technological standards, much less achieving continued technological development. Take this quote from the article I’ve posted below:

    “A primary motivation for my performing this survey stemmed from a sense
    that un-allayed optimism (“If it can be imagined, it can be done”) is detrimental
    to our successful navigation of the challenges foisted upon us this
    century. I perceive that a pervasive attitude in our society is that
    “we’ll solve any big problem that comes our way: we’ve got brilliant
    scientists working on it.” I would bet that most members of our society
    would put us living on the Moon and Mars within a few hundred years. I
    think they would be shocked to learn that the experts largely disagree.”

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/10/futuristic-physicists/

    • alizardx

      unfortunately, the real problem is no longer running out of oil thanks to “unconventional oil”, it’s that there’s enough of these sources in development to produce catastrophic climate disaster.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

        We don’t share the same assumptions. Firstly, peak oil is not about ‘running out of oil’, it’s about maxing out the extraction rate of oil (the bulk component of the total energy stock that fuels our economy) and the accompanying effects on human social systems–namely the economy and political systems, which have developed in a context of energy growth for the past 200 years, and remain stable only while such growth continues.

        Secondly, while I don’t dispute the point that the extraction of unconventional sources releases massive amounts of CO2, the extraction of unconventional sources, such as the Kanadian oil sands, is subsidized by the continued extraction of conventional oil. In fact, it takes so much energy to turn these unconventional sources into usable fuel, that the EROI rate is abysmally low. So low, in fact, that modern industrial agriculture–which takes about 10 times the amount of fossil fuel energy to produce a given amount of food energy–is unsupportable using unconventional sources. This implies that the unconventional sources are not perpetually exploitable–their yield will gradually diminish to the point where they will become energy sinks. The price indicator (if prices can even be considered to be a reliable indicator anymore in this deflationary/inflatinary fiat currency system) of oil indicates that as economic activity slumps, as it is now, the price of oil tends to go down, thus making the extraction of these high-energy-demand to low-yield unconventional sources less and less profitable–to the point that they shut down, as is happening in some places in Alberta right now.

        So, while climate change is a pressing long-term problem, resource depletion will be an even greater problem in the short- to mid-term as skillless, urban dwellers raised on the teat of a logistically-intensive civilization must come to terms with the breakdown of their precious just-in-time, credit-dependent food delivery systems.

  • Gad The Father

    everything is fuel to the machine’s metamorphosis, even this article written into the circuitry of the machine.
    run for the hills
    hide for your very lives

  • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire
  • V.V.

    Typical self-righteous human foolishly thinking they’re “Illuminated” & not seeing that they’re just another fool like the rest of us. Claiming to “worship nature” yet putting themselves above it at the same time. We are nature, therefore nothing we do or create is unnatural. Humans creating robots is just nature building upon itself & blurring the lines between the two of us by merging the organic with the mechanical is just the universe (or at the very least this planet) bringing itself closer together. Stfu, pop a chill pill, & watch it unfold. Or don’t! Hail Eris! All hail Disfnordia!

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Thats depressing, the Turing Church website uses the same icon as I do…

  • jnana

    I think Transhumanists have recognized the physical realm to be a prison, but they hope to achieve transcendence, how? Through that same physical realm. They are not applying their gift of mind to see alternative ways out of the prison of matter. The ancient mystics were no dummies like materialistic science thinks they are. Mind and Spirit has no limits and can achieve everything the transhumanists believe technology can do. Their conditioned prejudice causes them to seek the “cool” novelty of techno “solutions”. It is a very misguided immature attitude based on fear and delusion. It is right to fear death if death means separation from life and loving relations. But the solution is not technological. Salvation will not be achieved this way. And that is what their aim is. Salvation, a new world, heaven, freedom. All of which may be found within, and is never that far off.
    Nothing is new under the sun. Transhumanism is imitation of Reality. We need to wake up, not enter a dream within a dream.

  • advancedatheist

    Dale has his own load of woo-woo with his uncritical acceptance of progressive fantasies about democracy, universalism, egalitarianism and feminism. He has yet to engage with the ruthless empiricism and criticism of these beliefs coming from the school of the Dark Enlightenment.

    But no matter. He doesn’t mention cryonics in this post, but he has elsewhere lumped it in with “robot cultism.” Yet, ironically, mainstream neuroscientists have started to give cryonics a second look as a strategy to turn death from a permanent off-state to a temporary and reversible off-state. Just look up the website of the Brain Preservation Foundation. Michael Shermer, the critic of pseudoscience and editor of Skeptic magazine, serves as one of the foundation’s advisers, so he apparently considers its goals scientifically defensible.

    Confronted with the possibility that cryonics might actually have a path from here to a feasible revival technology some day, Dale has conceded that the idea rests on a “weak foundation.” Which sounds like progress from believing that it has “no foundation.”

  • http://lukeparrish.rationalsites.com Luke Parrish

    It’s one thing to note the advantages of group-minded activism — it’s another to campaign against individualism. It’s one thing to note the costs and hazards of technology — it’s another to pretend it does no good. It’s one thing to note the present limitations of technology — it’s another to wave your hands around and say that it cannot be improved upon.

    Calling the digital revolution a lie just because it has costs is telling a lie of your own. The addition of smartphones and internet has helped progress around the world tremendously. Problem-solving software, disability-reducing cybernetic limbs and implants, health-extending therapies such as printed organs — these are valuable, and will become more so over time. Sure, we need rants against specific corrupt practices. Apple’s use of slave labor to produce smartphones, as well as their lack of open source software deserves criticism. However, Dale’s run-on-sentences-full-of-free-association-insinuations are probably the worst way to advocate his cause.

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