Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"MrSingularity," Indeed

An exchange from the Moot:
MrSingularity said...
Dale, I have three questions for you.

1. Why do keep insinuating that life extension is impossible?

2. Why do you think that life extension is undesirable and/or immoral?

3. What exactly is wrong with wishing for a longer lifespan? For instance, if I want to live a thousand years, on what grounds would you object to that wish?

To which I replied (willing to give this about two minutes of effort, no more):

1. To the extent that real medicine cures disease and extends the lives of those with access to it, clearly I don't say (or "insinuate") such things are impossible at all, indeed I advocate strongly for wider access to healthcare and more public investment in legitimate medical research. Most of what futurists mean by life extension is con-artistry about digital uploading and nanobotic wish-fulfillment and overpromising based on fraudulent extrapolations from qualified research results in various biomedical fields, etc. Con artists don't extend lives.

2. It has already occurred to every child of two that a healthy life is better than an unhealthy one and that curing diseases and improving quality of life are good things -- futurists like to pretend that those of us who do not fall for their scams somehow disapprove of obviously good things like healthcare and living well. The thing is, futurists contribute little to nothing to good things like healthcare or living well and disapproving of their scams is hardly the same thing as claiming good health and efforts to facilitate it are undesirable or immoral, rather than suggesting that con-artistry is undesirable and immoral.

3. I don't care how many of the eighty or so years of life you will likely live (if you are lucky enough not to be poor or marginalized or living in an over-exploited region of the world) wishing you could live a thousand years instead -- but if you lie about the likelihood of your wish coming true or about the scientific status of your faith-based pronouncements about magic sooper-techs rendering the likelihood estimates of your living a thousand years plausible (or, even more hilariously, inevitable) don't expect me fall for it or to congratulate your (at best) credulity or (at worst, and much more likely) willingness to deceive to score some quick cash or be self-deceived for fear of the fact of your mortality.

These days I don't spend much time explicitly decrying futurological bullshit -- the useful idiots of transhumanism have by now mostly been discredited and banished back to the alt-reich and other cul-de-sacs, while the VC tech-bazillionaires have distilled that sad sub(cult)ure to its money-grabbing re-feudalizing sociopathic essence for the whole world to see and recoil from... Possibly it is too late to halt the reactionary "technoprogressive" march to that dreary death-dealing re-feudalizing result, which constitutes the actual historical substance of "the singularity" with which you seem to want to identify -- but I am beginning to think not. The days of free passes for the digital disruptors, VC-heroworship, racist eugenicists, neoreactionary clowns, and the rest of the futurological garbage posse seem, at long last, to be in eclipse.

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