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July 29, 2009

Phil Bowermaster on Transhuman/Futurist Political Discussion

Phil Bowermaster who blogs at the Speculist has a good comment at Michael Anissimov's Accelerating Future.

The article is in response some posts from John Hughes and Mike Treder.

John Hughes
Peter Thiel, the 99% funder of SIAI, is a raving right-wing anarcho-capitalist, who supports Republicans for public office and sits on the Hoover institution board, and that your founder and head guru, Eli, is also a libertarian of some vague sort


Mike Treder slams libertarians, Peter Thiel and Libertarianism in an article at the blog of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

The IEET is pro-human enhancement and "technoprogressive"

Mike Treder's article was a reaction to this piece by Peter Thiel

In our time, the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms — from the totalitarian and fundamentalist catastrophes to the unthinking demos that guides so-called “social democracy.”

Peter Thiel describes using cyberspace, seasteading and outer space as technological means to achieve escape (or perhaps a means to get to small groups that unanimously choose to have a particular system) from politics.


My comment in the Accelerating Future thread was to indicate that Peter Thiel is the largest donor to SIAI but not anywhere near 99%.

Libertarian defined at wikipedia shows that there are many flavors of libertarian and some of those are not compatible.

Mike Treder seems to have a beef with propertarian libertarianism.

From Phil Bowermaster:
The rise of the blogosphere and sites like Daily Kos and Free Republic have established a new “accelerated” rhetorical framework for politics which now seems to be more or less universally applied. The basic assumption behind the framework is that there is Our Group and then there is the Other. Any ideas from the Other are subjected to a three-step analysis and response:

1. Hysteria / overreaction

2. Vilification

3. Condemnation

Personally, I’d like to see a group such as IEET take a different approach. Maybe they could look for some kind of, oh I don’t know, Middle Way that transcends opposites?




Forgive my reductionism, but there will always be tension between those who believe that the good of the individual is primary and that the good of the group must be subordinated to it, and those who believe that the good of the group is primary and that the good of the individual must be subordinated to it. A working system (as opposed to a lofty set of ideological propositions) will inevitably consist of a series of trade-offs between those two. Technology has the potential to ease the impact of some of these trade-offs, and even replace them with new trade-offs, but the tension will never completely go away.

Even without Michael’s super-intelligences (which will show up sooner or later) the introduction of an open-source universal assembler enabled by nanotechnology and potent narrow AI could do significantly more to liberate the world’s poor than any trickle-down economic growth model or redistributionist scheme. When technology trumps political theory, I go with the technology. The vital question: would such technology be made available through some big government push or through private efforts?

Either. Both. Neither. Take your pick. Maybe if we find a way to talk with each other about these things like reasonable people we’ll come up with a completely new model that’s better than anything we’ve tried before.


It would be better to find ways to use technology to cut Political Gordian Knots.
If the american political spectrum has the left 10% and right 10% virtually unable to talk to each other then then it seems good to use technology to enable them to not agree. There are wider political gaps in the world than the left and right of American politics. Requiring unanimous agreements is unworkable.

FURTHER READING

Noam Chomsky at wikipedia.

Peter Thiel at wikipedia

Note: The debate in the comment section and the comment section of the IEET post by Mike Treder seems to be irreconcilable in regards to Hard left and hard left american and libertarian socialist/liberal democrat versus libertarian capitalist. This reinforces the suggestion to try to use technology within social systems that enable peaceful agreement to disagree.

Glenn Reynolds, instapundit, also wrote a response to Mike Treder's piece.

Libertarian Transhumanism at wikipedia. Note: Glenn Reynolds is listed as a primary advocate of this position.

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