Progress as Entertainment

I’ve changed my mind in the last few years. I’ve always found some of the political and economic ideology of the extropians, transhumanists and their ilk objectionable but now, I think some of them are getting a little too religious.

Unlike Ray or Frank, I don’t believe that nano or braintaping will usher in heaven. And unlike Bill or Ted, I don’t think these technologies will lead to hell either.

Vernor is probably right that these new technologies will lead to a future that is incomprehensible to us but, I think things won’t get better or worse. All we can really say is that things will get different. To me progress means that in solving the problems of the old world we create the problems of the new world. We may move beyond the tragedy of the human condition but we will only be exchanging it for the tragedy of the post-human condition.

Having said that, I do not wish to give the impression that progress is pointless. My defense of technical progress is almost childish really. I defend technical progress because it makes interesting things happen–stuff that’s never happened before–this alone is justification for me. Neat stuff happens therefore progress is good.

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2 Responses to Progress as Entertainment

  1. Toby says:

    Actually your comments remind me of the sentiments of Richard Feynman in a collection of his speeches that I read recently. Have you been picking classified locks again Farlops?

  2. Pace Arko says:

    Feynman talked about the singularity? Or are you talking about his “There’s Plenty of Room…” lecture?
    So when are you going to put some entries into your web log? Surely you’ve got some weird tales of odd people in strange places?

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