Extropian

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pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

"More riots on the south bank; they didn't stay to fight when I sent a guard detachment. So far, morale in the barracks seems to be holding up. Molinsk is cut off; there have been no reports from that town for the past day, and a helicopter that was sent to look in on them never reported back. The DR's are raising seven shades of merry hell around town, and so are the Radicals. I tried to have the usual suspects taken into custody, but they've declared an Extropian Soviet and refuse to cooperate. The worst elements are holed up in the Corn Exchange, two miles south of here, holding continuous committee meetings, and issuing proclamations and revolutionary communique on the hour, every hour. Encouraging people to traffic with the enemy." "Why haven't you used troops?" rumbled Politovsky. "They say they've got atomic weapons. If we move in—" He shrugged.

Instead, the Critics had to make do with their own devices; a clumsy network of spy-eyes in low orbit, winged surveillance drones, and precarious bugs planted on the window ledges and chimney pots of significant structures. The Critics watched, with their peculiar mixture of bemuse-ment and morbid cynicism, while the soldiers of the First and Fourth Regiments shot their officers and deserted en masse to the black flag of Burya Rubenstein's now-overt Traditional Extropian Revolutionary Front. (Many soldiers burned their uniforms and threw away their guns; others adopted new em-blems and took up strange silvery arms churned out by the committee's replicator farm.) The Critics looked on as peasants greedily demanded pigs, goats, and in one case, a goose that laid golden eggs from the Festival; their womenfolk quietly pleaded for medicinal cures, metal cutlery, and fabric.

"Riddle me this: an unknown expansion pod in an engineer's luggage. I wonder what it is?" he said aloud. Then he plugged the pod into his own interface and started the diagnostics running. A minute later, he began to swear quietly under his breath. The module was totally randomized. Evidence of misdoing, that was sure enough. But what kind of misdoing? Burya Rubenstein sat in the Ducal palace, now requisitioned as the headquarters of the Extropians and Cyborgs' Soviet, sipping tea and signing proclamations with a leaden heart. Outside the thick oak door of his office, a squad of ward-geese waited patiently, their dark eyes and vicious gunbeaks alert for intruders. The half-melted phone that had started the revolution sat, unused, on the desk before him, while the pile of papers by his left elbow grew higher, and the unsigned pile to his right shrank.


pages: 252 words: 79,452

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

Early in his time at USC, he met a young law student named Tom Bell, a fellow libertarian who shared Max’s vaulting optimism about subjects like life extension, intelligence augmentation, and nanotechnology. They started putting together a magazine called Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought, and soon afterward set up a nonprofit they called the Extropy Institute. Although Max is the figure most closely associated with Extropianism, which is generally seen as an early version of the transhumanist movement, it was Bell, he says, who coined the term. In those days, he went by the name T. O. Morrow, but since the late 1990s he has reverted to the less hurtlingly dynamic Tom W. Bell. Max maintains that a document he wrote in 1990 called “The Extropian Principles”—laying out the movement’s ideals of “Boundless Expansion,” “Self-Transformation,” “Dynamic Optimism,” “Intelligent Technology,” and “Spontaneous Order”—constitutes the “first comprehensive and explicit statement of transhumanism.”

I was on my way to see a neuroscientist whose long-term project was the exact future for which the cephalons of Alcor remained in suspended hope: the uploading of human minds into machines. * * * *1 For what it’s worth, he gave a slightly different reason for the name change at the time, in an announcement about it in the Summer 1990 issue of Extropy magazine, the house publication of the Extropian movement: “I am no longer ‘Max O’Connor.’ I’ve changed my name to ‘Max More’ in order to remove the cultural links to Ireland (which connotes backwardness rather than future-orientation) and to reflect the extropian desire for MORE LIFE, MORE INTELLIGENCE, MORE FREEDOM.” *2 In the 1970s, while incarcerated for a range of drug offenses, Leary developed a set of futurist principles under the snappy rubric SMI²LE (Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, Life Extension). He was a long-standing member of Alcor, active to the point of hosting, on several occasions, the foundation’s annual turkey roast at his home; but when the time eventually came to make the necessary arrangements, he went for the more show-stopping option of having his cremated ashes shot into space from a cannon.

And the irony with which I found myself most immediately preoccupied was the situation of Max himself, or the picture of that situation I could not help but cultivate in my mind. This was a man who had dedicated his life to the idea of transcending the limitations of our natural condition, to a vast expansion of the range of human experience and potential. This was a man who, before he left Britain for the U.S. in his twenties, started the Extropian movement, named in defiance of an entropic principle whereby all that exists tends toward disintegration and disorder and decline, in a universe in which the center cannot hold. This was a man who had dedicated himself to what he called “perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and possibilities as individuals, as organizations, and as a species.” This was a man who changed his name, in a youthful gesture of radical self-invention, from Max O’Connor to Max More because, as he once put it in an interview with Wired magazine, “it seemed to really encapsulate the essence of what my goal is: always to improve, never to be static.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

He authored Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind (Oxford University Press, 2000); and Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence (Harvard University Press, 1990). Max More, PhD, is President of Alcor Life Extension Foundation and Co-Editor of The Transhumanist Reader. He authored “The Overhuman in the Transhuman” (Journal of Evolution and Technology 21, 2010); “True Transhumanism” (Global Spiral 2009); and “The Extropian Principles” (Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought 8). Michael Nielsen is one of the pioneers of quantum computing. He is an essayist, speaker, and advocate of open science. His most recent book is Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science (2012). Ravi Pandya is Systems Software Architect, Microsoft. He co-authored with Sergey Bykov, Alan Geller, Gabriel Kliot, et al.

The growth of transhumanism as a movement and philosophy means that differing perspectives on it have formed. Despite all the varieties and interpretations we can still identify some central themes, values, and interests that give transhumanism its distinct identity. This coherence is reflected in the large degree of agreement between definitions of the philosophy from multiple sources. According to my early definition (More 1990), the term refers to: Philosophies of life (such as extropian perspectives) that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values. According to the Transhumanist FAQ (Various 2003), transhumanism is: The intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally improving the human condition through applied reason, especially by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

Creatures with similar levels of sapience, sentience, and personhood are accorded similar status no matter whether they are humans, animals, cyborgs, machine intelligences, or aliens. Yet the meta-­ethical basis for making moral decisions and according rights can be consequentialist, deontological, or virtue-based. A genuinely pure deontological ethics appears to be uncommon. At least since the advent of the extropian transhumanism, many transhumanists have established their morality on a virtue foundation. In recent years, some prominent transhumanists have assumed a consequentialist foundation, in the form of various kinds of utilitarian – most radically in David Pearce’s “hedonistic imperative.” Transhumanism supports a rich diversity of political perspectives. Given shared goals, it is unsurprising that transhumanists all support personal choice in the use of self-directed technological transformations, including anti-aging treatments and cryonics, cognition-enhancers, and mood-modifiers.


pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles

business cycle, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, MITM: man-in-the-middle, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K, zero-sum game

Dreadlock nods. "You're Macx? I figured it was about time we met." "Sure." Manfred holds out a hand, and they shake. His PDA discreetly swaps digital fingerprints, confirming that the hand belongs to Bob Franklin, a Research Triangle startup monkey with a VC track record, lately moving into micromachining and space technology. Franklin made his first million two decades ago, and now he's a specialist in extropian investment fields. Operating exclusively overseas these past five years, ever since the IRS got medieval about trying to suture the sucking chest wound of the federal budget deficit. Manfred has known him for nearly a decade via a closed mailing list, but this is the first time they've ever met face-to-face. The Suit silently slides a business card across the table; a little red devil brandishes a trident at him, flames jetting up around its feet.

He's the enemy of those Stalinist deviationist running dogs in Conservative Party Central Office who want to bug your bedroom and hand everything on a plate to the big corporates owned by the pension funds – which in turn rely on people dying predictably to provide their raison d'être. And, um, more importantly dying and not trying to hang on to their property and chattels. Sitting up in the coffin singing extropian fireside songs, that kind of thing. The actuaries are to blame, predicting life expectancy with intent to cause people to buy insurance policies with money that is invested in control of the means of production – Bayes' Theorem is to blame –" Alan glances over his shoulder at Manfred: "I don't think feeding him guarana was a good idea," he says in tones of deep foreboding. Manfred's mode of vibration has gone nonlinear by this point: He's rocking front to back, and jiggling up and down in little hops, like a technophiliacal yogic flyer trying to bounce his way to the singularity.

"I've been telling him it's just what he needs." "I do not want my father bugging me. Or my mother. Or Auntie 'Nette and Uncle Gianni. Memo to immigration control: No entry rights for Manfred Macx or the other named individuals without clearance through the Queen's secretary." "What did he do to get you so uptight?" asks Monica idly. Amber sighs, and subsides. "Nothing. It's not that I'm ungrateful or anything, but he's just so extropian, it's embarrassing. Like, that was the last century's apocalypse. Y'know?" "I think he was a really very forward-looking organic," Monica, speaking for the Franklin borg, asserts. Amber looks away. Pierre would get it, she thinks. Pierre would understand her aversion to Manfred's showing up. Pierre, too, wants to carve out his own niche without parents looking over his shoulders, although for very different reasons.


pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Speakers at the 2011 summit in New York City included science legends, like Mathematica’s Stephen Wolfram, Peter Thiel, a dot-com billionaire who pays tech-savvy teens to skip college and start companies, and IBM’s David Ferrucci, principal investigator for the DeepQA/Watson Project. Eliezer Yudkowsky always speaks, and there’s usually an ethicist or two as well as spokespeople for the extropian and transhuman communities. Extropians explore technologies and therapies that will permit humans to live forever. Transhumans think about hardware and cosmetic ways for increasing human capability, beauty, and … opportunities to live forever. Standing astride all the factions is the Colossus of the Singularity, a cofounder of the Singularity Summits, and the star of each gathering, Ray Kurzweil. The 2011 summit’s theme was IBM’s DeepQA (question answering) computer Watson, and Kurzweil gave a rote presentation on the history of chatbots and Q&A systems, entitled “From Eliza to Watson.”

climate change cloud computing cognitive architectures OpenCog cognitive bias Cognitive Computing Coherent Extrapolated Volition (CEV) Colossus “Coming Technological Singularity, The” (Vinge) computational neuroscience computers, computing cloud detrimental effects from exponential growth in power of see also programming; software computer science consciousness creativity cybercrime Cyc Cycle Computing Cycorp DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Darwin Machine Deep Blue de Garis, Hugo Dennett, Daniel Dijkstra, Edger DNA-related research Dongarra, Jack Drake, Francis drives creativity efficiency resource acquisition self-preservation Dugan, Regina Duqu Dyson, George ecophagy efficiency Einstein, Albert emotions energy grid Enigma Enron Eurisko evil extropians Fastow, Andrew Ferrucci, David financial scandals financial system Flame Foreign Affairs Freidenfelds, Jason Friendly AI Coherent Extrapolated Volition and definition of intelligence explosion and SyNAPSE and Future of Humanity Institute genetic algorithms genetic engineering genetic programming George, Dileep global warming Global Workspace Theory Goertzel, Benjamin Golden Rule Good, I.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

“gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations” Anne Wojcicki et al., U.S. Patent 8543339 B2, December 5, 2008; Karen Kaplan, “23andMe’s Designer Baby Patent Is ‘a Serious Mistake,’ Critics Charge,” October 3, 2013, latimes.com. endorsed the Singularity sect Lev Grossman, “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal,” February 10, 2011, time.com. an online forum of futurists who called themselves extropians. Max More For more on cryonics and the extropians, see my report, “Everybody Freeze!,” 2016, Baffler (no. 30). a procedure called parabiosis Jeff Bercovici broke the news of Thiel’s quasivampirisim in an August 1, 2016, Inc. magazine story titled “Peter Thiel Is Very, Very Interested in Young People’s Blood.” Breitbart News would months later dismiss Bercovici’s report as “fake news” after his key source clammed up, though he and the magazine stood by the story.

Anissimov at the time was employed as the advocacy director at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, funded by Peter Thiel, whose own ideas, buoyed by money, were gaining prominence. Thiel’s support for technophilic extremists did not stop with Anissimov. The billionaire was, for example, among the most important clients of an outfit called the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which promised to freeze the dead for later resuscitation. Max More, an Alcor employee and self-proclaimed guru of “extropian” futurism, had given a presentation on “cryonics as a bridge to an indefinitely extended life” at the same BIL conference where Thiel donee Curtis Yarvin appeared. The bearded British life extension researcher Aubrey de Grey spoke at BIL that year about his work in “anti-aging bioscience.” De Grey whiled away most of his days at the Thiel-funded, Mountain View–based SENS Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization also dedicated to the quixotic cause of achieving human immortality.


pages: 331 words: 47,993

Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider

artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Elon Musk, Extropian, hive mind, life extension, megastructure, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, silicon-based life, Stephen Hawking, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons

Defense Department agency has funded a program, Synapse, that is trying to develop a computer that resembles the brain in form and function.8 Ray Kurzweil has even discussed the potential advantages of forming friendships, Her-style, with personalized AI systems.9 All around us, researchers are striving to turn science fiction into science fact. You may be surprised to learn that I consider myself a transhumanist, but I do. I first learned of transhumanism while an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley, when I joined the Extropians, an early transhumanist group. After poring through my boyfriend’s science fiction collection and reading the Extopian listserv, I was enthralled by the transhumanist vision of a technotopia on Earth. It is still my hope that emerging technologies will provide us with radical life extension, help end resource scarcity and disease, and even enhance our mental lives, should we wish to enhance. A FEW WORDS OF WARNING The challenge is how to get there from here in the face of radical uncertainty.

See also AI consciousness, problem of; consciousness engineering; testing for consciousness in machines concept of, 2 human moral systems and, 5, 39, 40–41, 110 mind-body problem and, 127–28 in new versus experienced drivers, 35–36 phenomenal versus cognitive or functional, 49–50, 51 reasons behind, 17 consciousness engineering, 4, 33–45 astronauts and conscious AI, 41–43, 42, 103 to avoid conscious AI, 4, 39–40 consumer desire for, 41 economics and practicalities of AI production and, 37–39 human-machine mergers, 44–45 outmoding of consciousness in superintelligent AIs, 35–36 reasons for creating conscious AIs, 40–43 as safety issue, 37, 40–41 Contact (film), 2 control problem AI consciousness and, 4–5 alien/extraterrestrial AI and, 104–5 cryonics, 120–22, 121, 145–47 cyborgs, 12, 72 Cylon Raider, 99 DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), 157n4 Data from Star Trek, 135–37 Davies, Paul, 43 decomposition, functional, 118, 159n9 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), 157n4 Descartes, René, 57, 129, 140 Dick, Steven, 101 dynamic systems theory, 161n11 Dyson, Freeman, 41 Dyson spheres, 107, 108 essential properties, 75, 85, 142 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (film), 90 ethics. See also morality consciousness and human moral systems, 5, 39, 40–41, 110 creation of AIs with uncertain conscious status, 68–69 Precautionary Principle, 66–69 slavery and AI consciousness, 4, 39 treatment of conscious/potentially conscious AIs, 39, 67–69, 149 Ex Machina (film), 9, 149 excluded middle, principle of, 68–69 extraterrestrial intelligence. See alien/extraterrestrial AI Extropians, 14 Facebook, 4, 120, 131 Francis (pope), 110 Freaky Friday (film), 51 functional decomposition, 118, 158n9 functional immortality, 8, 135, 137 functional or cognitive consciousness, 49–50, 51, 67 fusion-optimism, 73, 80–82, 87–89, 92, 95, 119, 122, 125, 133–34, 138, 163n11 Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University, 13 Garza, Mara, 68 Gates, Bill, 4, 105 global workspaces, 117–18 Go (game), 9 Google, 4, 9, 10, 12, 39 HAL 9000, 53 Harmon, Amy, 122, 145 Hawking, Stephen, 4, 41, 104, 120, 122, 124 Hayworth, Ken, 126 Her (film), 9, 10, 14, 19, 37, 41, 46 Heraclitus, 143 hippocampus, artificial, 12, 44, 69, 145 Hopkins, Anthony, 33 “hot zone” of sensory processing, 38 Hughes, James, 161n10 Hume, David, 76 Huxley, Julian, 13 I, Robot (film), 149 IBM True North chip, 64 idealism, 130, 163n17 IIT (integrated information theory), 61–65 illusion, self viewed as, 76, 77, 137, 161n10 immortality, functional, 8, 135, 137 Independence Day (film), 107 instantiation of software program, mind viewed as, 134–44 Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 6, 41–43 instrumental convergence thesis, 113 integrated information theory (IIT), 61–65 isomorph thought experiment, 26–31, 57, 158n10, 159nn11, 13, 14 Jackson, Frank, 159n5 Jeopardy (TV show), 9 The Jetsons (TV show) and Jetsons fallacy, 12, 69 Kaku, Michio, 77 Kernel, 12, 58 Knowledge Argument, 159n5 Koch, Christof, 63–64 Kurzweil, Ray, 10, 14, 16, 33, 73, 75–76, 77, 80, 85, 143 language-like mental representations, 116–17 The Late Lessons from Early Warnings Report, 66 Locke, John, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 161n8 “locked in” patients (conscious but unable to communicate), 63 Lowe, E.


pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, longitudinal study, low earth orbit, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

High-minded and earnest, they have meetings to determine “the goals of humankind,” and to advance worthy causes such as feminism, multiculturalism, and a world free from hunger. The distinguishing trait of futurismists is that they have an agenda: something they want to have happen or something they want to prevent from happening in the future, often based on a particular ideology, political bent, theory of history, or special interest. Some hive off into sectlike groups, such as the Extropians—a 01990s California enclave of bright and enthusiastic Singularity advocates who could hardly wait for the techno-Rapture. They have a classic case of what Paul Saffo calls macro-myopia: “we overexpect dramatic developments early, and underexpect them in the longer term.” Futurismists are predictable once you know their agenda, whereas futurists are not. Herman Kahn, inventor of scenario planning in the 01960s, was a conservative and proud of it, yet he could always startle an audience with a new perspective.

Diamond, Jared Digital information and core standards discontinuity of and immortality and megadata and migration preservation of Digital records, passive and active Discounting of value Drexler, Eric Drucker, Peter Dubos, René Dyson, Esther Dyson, Freeman Earth, view of from outer space Earth Day Easterbrook, Gregg Eaton Collection Eberling, Richard Ecological communities systems and change See also Environment Economic forecasting Ecotrust Egyptian civilization and time Ehrlich, Paul Electronic Frontier Foundation Eliade, Mircea Eno, Brian and ancient Egyptian woman and Clock of the Long Now ideas for participation in Clock/Library and tour of Big Ben Environment degradation of and peace, prosperity, and continuity reframing of problems of and technology See also Ecological Environmentalists and long-view Europe-America dialogue Event horizon Evolution of Cooperation, The “Experts Look Ahead, The” Extinction rate Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence programs and time-release services Extropians Family Tree Maker Fashion Fast and bad things Fault-tolerant systems Feedback and tuning of systems Feldman, Marcus Finite and Infinite Games Finite games Florescence Foresight Institute Freefall Free will Fuller, Buckminster Fundamental tracking Future configuration towards continuous of desire versus fate feeling of and nuclear armageddon one hundred years and present moment tree uses of and value Future of Industrial Man, The “Futurismists” Gabriel, Peter Galileo Galvin, Robert Gambling Games, finite and infinite Gender imbalance in Chinese babies Generations Gershenfeld, Neil Gibbon, Edward GI Bill Gibson, William Gilbert, Joseph Henry Global Business Network (GBN) Global collapse Global computer Global perspective Global warming Goebbels, Joseph Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Goldberg, Avram “Goldberg rule, the” Goldsmith, Oliver Goodall, Jane Governance Governing the Commons Government and the long view Grand Canyon Great Year Greek tragedy Grove, Andy Hale-Bopp comet Hampden-Turner, Charles Hardware dependent digital experiences, preservation of Hawking, Stephen Hawthorne, Nathaniel Heinlein, Robert Herman, Arthur Hill climbing Hillis, Daniel definition of technology and design of Clock and digital discontinuity and digital preservation and extra-terrestrial intelligence programs ideas for participation in Clock/Library and Long Now Foundation and long-term responsibility and motivation to build linear Clock and the Singularity and sustained endeavors and types of time History and accessible data as a horror and warning how to apply intelligently Hitler, Adolf Holling, C.


pages: 387 words: 112,868

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buy and hold, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, QR code, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks

Eventually he would pay to have his and his family’s bodies put into Alcor’s frozen vaults near Los Angeles. The advent of the Internet had been a boon for Hal, allowing him to connect with other people in far-flung places who were thinking about similarly obscure but radical ideas. Even before the invention of the first web browser, Hal joined some of the earliest online communities, with names like the Cypherpunks and Extropians, where he jumped into debates about how new technology could be harnessed to shape the future they all were dreaming up. Few questions obsessed these groups more than the matter of how technology would alter the balance of power between corporations and governments on one hand and individuals on the other. Technology clearly gave individuals unprecedented new powers. The nascent Internet allowed these people to communicate with kindred spirits and spread their ideas in ways that had previously been impossible.

But the potential import of the technology became apparent when federal prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into PGP and Zimmerman. The government categorized encryption technology, such as PGP, as weapon-grade munitions, and this designation made it illegal to export. While the case was eventually dropped, Hal had to lie low with his own involvement in PGP for years and could never take credit for some of his important contributions to the project. THE EXTROPIANS AND Cypherpunks were working on several different experiments that could help empower individuals against traditional sources of authority. But money was, from the beginning, at the center of their efforts to reimagine the future. Money is to any market economy what water, fire, or blood is to the human ecosystem—a basic substance needed for everything else to work. For programmers, existing currencies, which were valid only within particular national borders and subject to technologically incompetent banks, seemed unnecessarily constrained.

See George, Jacob Dimon, Jamie, 303–306 Dixon, Chris, 181–182, 186, 294 Dodd, Nigel, 16 Donahoe, John, 262 Donald, James, 24 Draper, Tim, 353 Dread Pirate Roberts [DPR] (screen name), 118, 121, 168–169, 171, 213, 225, 227, 248. See also Ulbricht, Ross drugs/drug trafficking. See Silk Road eDonkey (file sharing website), 50–51 Ehrsam, Fred, 334–336. See also Coinbase (Bitcoin service) Electronic Frontier Foundation, 80, 270 Eleuthria (screen name), 195 encryption technology, 8–12. See also Public-key cryptography exchange-traded funds (ETF), 222, 250 Extropians, 11 Facebook, 145 Faiella, Robert (aka BTC King), 130, 138, 299 The Far Wilds (online game), 50–51 FBI. See U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Reserve. See U.S. Federal Reserve Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit [FinCen] (Treasury Department), 138, 196–197, 201, 234–235, 266, 325 Financial Times, 262, 317 Finney, Fran, 3 Finney, Hal defense of Bitcoin system, 24–27 introduction to Bitcoin, 3–8 Lou Gehrig’s disease diagnosis, 27 return to Bitcoin community, 59–60 role in PGP, 10, 13 Finney, Jason, 27 FirstMark Capital, 144, 147–149, 176 Forbes, 80, 96 Fortress Investment Group, 180, 217–219, 252, 272–273.


Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy

Albert Einstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Donald Knuth, Eratosthenes, Extropian, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knapsack problem, Marc Andreessen, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Network effects, new economy, NP-complete, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web of trust, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise

Unlike the Birkenstocked academics and rubber-necking spooks who met at the Crypto conferences, the twenty or so in attendance were people who saw cryptography totally outside the context of their own careers (if indeed they had one, as some did not). Their main concern was how people would and should use crypto tools. Their politics were heavily libertarian; more than a few were also self-proclaimed Extropians, whose philosophy merged an extremist view of individual liberties with a loopy belief that the far fringes of scientific research would soon accrue to our benefit. (Topics that made Extropians giddy included nanotechnology, cyborgs, and cryogenics; some Extropians had signed up to have their heads posthumously frozen, to be thawed and revived in some distant century.) But it would be a mistake to misjudge this group by their peccadilloes or by the modest turnout at this first meeting. In fact, they would wind up becoming so influential that their grandiose fantasies would be vindicated.


Toast by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

That was back when his home town (Buttfahrk, Ontario) was trying to prosecute him for attempting to assemble a fissile device within city limits—of which charge, incidentally, he was found not guilty—and it struck me as unusually harsh that a local prosecutor was calling for a twenty-four year sentence on a guy who was still, basically, a kid. Since then the Dok has done some growing up, and I can safely say that if he wasn’t a menace to society then, he certainly is now. Or he’d like us to think he was. That’s the way it is. The nerds are on parade. They’ve always been sensitive about the way outsiders see them. First it was SF fans. Then computer hackers and phone phreaks. These days it’s extropians, roboticists, and hard physics geeks. But the character type is the same: very bright, highly strung, defensive about their hobby, competitive within their field. They realize it’s not something the rest of society understands or cares much about, but THEY care and that’s what makes the difference. I staggered out of the café with my lungs on fire and my eyes streaming and headed for the swimming pool.

Manfred slides the chair open then realises that the other guy -- immaculate double-breasted suit, sober tie, crew-cut -- is a girl. Mr Dreadlock nods. “You're Macx? I figured it was about time we met.” “Sure.” Manfred holds out a hand and they shake. Manfred realises the hand belongs to Bob Franklin, a Research Triangle startup monkey with a VC track record, lately moving into micromachining and space technology: he made his first million two decades ago and now he's a specialist in extropian investment fields. Manfred has known Bob for nearly a decade via a closed mailing list. The Suit silently slides a hardware business card across the table; a little red devil brandishes a trident at him, flames jetting up from the gigabytes of detail around its feet. He takes the card, raises an eyebrow: “Annette Dimarcos? I'm pleased to meet you. Can't say I've ever met anyone from Arianespace marketing before.”


pages: 87 words: 25,823

The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism by David Golumbia

3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, crony capitalism, cryptocurrency, currency peg, distributed ledger, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, jimmy wales, litecoin, Marc Andreessen, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, smart contracts, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, Travis Kalanick, WikiLeaks

Yet we need to reach back deeper into history to grasp Bitcoin’s complete political and intellectual contexts. Most of those involved in the development and early adoption of Bitcoin were and are part of several intersecting communities who have long put a huge amount of faith into very specific technological–political orientations toward the world, ones grounded in overtly right-wing thought, typically coupled with myopic technological utopianism. These include movements like Extropians, cypherpunks, crypto-anarchists, political libertarians with an interest in technology, transhumanists, Singularitarians, and a wide swath of self-described hackers and open source software developers. Sometimes the politics of these individuals and the groups in which they travel are inchoate, but often enough they are explicit (see Carrico 2009, 2013a, 2013b for detailed discussions of these various movements, focusing in particular on their politics).


The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World by John Michael Greer

back-to-the-land, Black Swan, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, David Strachan, deindustrialization, European colonialism, Extropian, failed state, feminist movement, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, hydrogen economy, hygiene hypothesis, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, mass immigration, McMansion, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, post-industrial society, Project for a New American Century, Ray Kurzweil, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

The fate of the neoconservative movement, in turn, echoed that of its Marxist equivalents: just as Marxist regimes claimed to ride the wave of the future, only to learn that every wave crests and then flows back out to sea, neoconservatives’ bluster about their place as “history’s actors” gave way to frantic excuses and finger-pointing against a background of military stalemate, political failure and economic catastrophe.2 The same interlacing of theoretical inevitability and practical failure can be traced in other movements that have claimed that history was on their side. Such movements have never been in short supply and there is certainly no shortage of them now. The claim that an evolutionary leap will take care of all of today’s problems has already been discussed in this book. The so-called Extropian movement insists, along the same lines, that science will shortly know everything that matters, technology will gain unlimited powers and they will be able to upload themselves into robot bodies and go zooming off to the stars.3 Religious teachings that announce the imminent arrival of a new world by divine fiat, neoprimitivist theories insisting that the downfall of industrial society will force humanity back to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle forever and many others all insist that the existing order of things is about to give way to a new world from which history in the ordinary sense will be banished forever.

Ziarek, Ewa Plonowska, An Ethics of Dissensus: Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy, Stanford University Press, 2001. 261 Index A advertising, 155–156 agriculture, 25–28, 30, 147 amateur radio, 156–157, 216 anacyclosis, 231 Anderson, Sherry Ruth, 200 appropriate ecology, 215–216 Aristotle, 214 Augustine of Hippo, 207 B Bacon, Francis, 214 Bateson, Gregory, 222 bats, evolution of, 58–61 Bell, Daniel biodiesel, 106, 116, 151 biodynamic agriculture, 103 biointensive organic gardening, 103 biophobia, 114–115 Black Death, 87 bog iron, 72 Brand, Stewart, 121–122 brewers, 147 Brown, Lester, 94–5 Burke, Edmund, 79 C Carson, Rachel, 11 Catton, William, 41 ceramics industry, Roman, 135–137 cities in the deindustrial world, 182–186 263 264 T he E cotechnic F u t u re climate change, 41, 50–54 climax community, 21–23, 25, 29–30 cob building, 123 composting, 107–112, 113, 115 Condorcet, Marquis de, 228 conserver society, 12 Costanza, Robert, 15 “crackpot realism,” 16 Crimean War, 80 CTL (coal-to-liquids) fuel production, 161–162 “cultural creatives,” 200–201 culture death, 49–50 culture wars, 191 D dark age(s), xiii, 150, 184 Darwin, Charles, 193 decline and fall of civilizations, 17, 38, 150, 243 deep time, 62 democracy, 186–188 depopulation, 39, 41–43 Dijkstra, Bram, 193–194 disintegration, political and cultural, 40, 46–50 dissensus, 96–99, 246 draft horses, 116–117 E Easter Island, 20, 89 ecology, 3, 17, 187, 215–216, 221, 240ecosophy, 221–222, 241ecotechnic trades, 149 education industry, 153–154 emergy (embodied energy), 71 energy flows, 4–5 energy slaves, 142–144, 152–153 energy subsidies, 165–166 ethanol, 13–14, 106 evolution, 35, 57–62, 96, 192–193, 237–238, 243–244 external proletariat, 195 Extropian movement, 226 Index F farmer’s markets, 24, 127–128 feces as fertilizer, 112–115 feminism, 131–133 Ferguson, Marilyn, 201 fossil fuels, 8–12, 33, 61, 69–70, 134, 159, 164 Friedman, Thomas, 53 Friedrichs, Pete, 156 Fukuyama, Francis, 225–226, 229 fundamentalism, Christian, 205–6 G Gentile, Giovanni, 229 ghost acreage, 41, 42 Ghost Dance, 63 Gibbon, Edward, 54 globalism, 64 Google, 37–8 Gould, Stephen Jay, 62 Grafton, Anthony, 232 H hedgerows, 216 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 229–230 Holmgren, David, 103 home economics, 131–133 homeostasis, 84–88 household economy, 128–130, 133–134, 138–139 Hubbert, M.


pages: 309 words: 54,839

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts by David Gerard

altcoin, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Extropian, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, index fund, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Kickstarter, litecoin, M-Pesa, margin call, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, prediction markets, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Satoshi Nakamoto, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, slashdot, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, tulip mania, Turing complete, Turing machine, WikiLeaks

Most concepts later used in Bitcoin originated on the Cypherpunks mailing list in the early 1990s. The ideology was libertarian right-wing anarchism, often explicitly labeled anarcho-capitalism; they considered government interference the gravest possible threat, and hoped to fight it off using the new cryptographic techniques invented in the 1970s and 1980s. They also tied into the Silicon Valley and Bay Area Extropian/transhumanist subculture. Tim May’s “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” a popular document on the list, is all about the promise of money and commerce with no government oversight, and anticipates many of the future promises and aspirations of cryptocurrency.14 Chaum’s DigiCash was not acceptable to the Cypherpunks, as a single company confirmed every participant’s signature. They wanted something that didn’t rely on a central authority in any way.


pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin

affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, information asymmetry, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Robert Bork, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

Property rights are placed first, and enforced in ways that encourage the clandestine caching of information away from public view. The aim is no longer to enhance the sharing of learning and skills, or even to maximize economic benefit to owners. Rather, the law is used in these cases to ensure that citizens of a free commonwealth will be prevented from knowing certain things, whether they would be willing to pay for the information or not. Lee Daniel Crocker, a member of the Extropians futurist society, typified this view when he recently suggested that true accountability can take place only if “tag commentary” is taken to its logical conclusion. People who criticize a specific work on the World Wide Web should be able to “tag” that site with a compulsory “back-link” that will notify any future visitor about the criticʼs censure—whether or not the author wants his Web page to carry any disparaging tags.

This is precisely the tempting, but stupid, “fallacy of security” that the likes of Karl Popper, Edward Teller, Arthur Kantrowitz, and others have been fighting for years—a self-defeating program that prevents these companies from hiring valuable expertise from other companies, stifling the overall flux of useful innovations and skills, thus destroying the health of the entity it was meant to protect. (See later discussions of how the West barely avoided this trap in the Cold War.) An interesting case in this area is PepsiCo, Inc. v. Redmond, 54 F.3d 1262 (7th Cir. 1995). Or see Mark Halliganʼs trade secrets home page at http://www.execpc.com/~mhallign/doctrine.html. 102 ... propose ending the “fiction” of copyright ... See Lee Daniel Crocker, EXTROPIANS commentary: http://www.piclab.com/lcrocker.html. Robin Hanson of the University of California at Berkeley dealt with similar ideas as far back as 1987. See http://hanson.berkeley.edu/linktext.html and http://hanson.berkeley.edu/findcritics. html. 102 ... Give it your best shot ... This is said with a smile ... and acknowledging that book reviews are already a simple implementation of “tag commentan.” 104 ... look foolish trying to charge for songs played ...


pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, different worldview, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

One flavor is based on the idea that a sufficiently voluminous computation will take on the qualities we associate with people—such as, perhaps, consciousness. One might claim Moore’s law is inexorably leading to superbrains, superbeings, and, perhaps, ultimately, some kind of global or even cosmic consciousness. If this language sounds extreme, be aware that this is the sort of rhetoric you can find in the world of Singularity enthusiasts and extropians. If we leave aside the romance of this idea, the core of it is that meaning arises in bits as a result of magnitude. A set of one thousand records in a database that refer to one another in patterns would not be meaningful without a person to interpret it; but perhaps a quadrillion or a googol of database entries can mean something in their own right, even if there is no being explaining them.


pages: 237 words: 74,109

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener

autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, basic income, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, charter city, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Extropian, future of work, Golden Gate Park, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, means of production, medical residency, new economy, New Urbanism, passive income, pull request, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, union organizing, universal basic income, unpaid internship, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

How else to understand the deliberately amplified identities, ideologies, and investment strategies of the people transforming society—the people I was helping make rich? * * * The intellectual culture of Silicon Valley was internet culture: thought-leadership, thought experiments. Message-board intellectualism. There were economists and rationalists; effective altruists, accelerationists, neoprimitivists, millennialists, objectivists, survivalists, archeofuturists, monarchists, futarchists. Neoreactionaries, seasteaders, biohackers, extropians, Bayesians, Hayekians. Tongue-in-cheek and deadly serious. Witting and unwitting. It did leave something to be desired. At a party in Noe Valley, I fell into an argument with an enthusiastic participant in the online rationality community. Rationalism was considered a truth-seeking movement, at least by its practitioners. In an effort to see the world more clearly, rationalists sampled from behavioral economics, psychology, and decision theory.


pages: 311 words: 94,732

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross

3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing

Death is obviously the enemy of humanity and God, so the Prophet says we’re first going to make ourselves immortal, then we’re going to resurrect everyone who has ever lived, and simulate every human who ever might have lived so that we can incarnate them too. And we’re to colonize space—” Huw is zoning out at this point. Because she has a very funny feeling that she’s heard it all before. This is the religious wellspring of the whole extropian transhumanist shtick, after all: the name’s on the tip of her tongue— “Federov,” she says. “Whut?” Sam sounds suspicious. “An early Russian cosmist, sort of a fossil transhumanist mystic. My dad was a big fan of Federov,” she adds. “Was he a Commie?” Doc asks. “What’s he got to do with the Kingdom of God?” “Tell me.” Huw has a feeling that if she can fake it well enough, Sam and Doc might just let her go: “Your Prophet.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

We have no morality separating us from brute nature or even lifeless matter, so we humans may as well be walking dead. TRANSCENDING HUMANITY For all the flesh eating going on in the zombie genre, there’s something positively flesh loathing about the psychology underlying it. People are the bad guys. Apocalypto seems less about transforming the human species than transcending it altogether. In neither the hallucinations of psychedelic 2012 end-of-worlders nor the scenarios forecast by techno-enthusiast extropians do we humans make it through the chaos attractor at the end of time—at least not in our current form. And why should we want to, when human beings are so loathsome, smelly, and inefficient to begin with? The postnarrative future belongs to the godhead, machines, cockroaches, planetary intelligence, complexity, or information itself. Of course, it’s not really the future, since—according to a good many of these apocalyptans—time will have stopped entirely.


pages: 345 words: 104,404

Pandora's Brain by Calum Chace

AI winter, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Extropian, friendly AI, hive mind, lateral thinking, mega-rich, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing test, Wall-E

A blast of cold air made him shiver and he looked over to see the families in the doorway of the cafe, collecting their boots and coats. The waitress started clearing the window table and as the door swung closed the noise level dropped several decibels. ‘Tell me why this is irritating you.’ Carl was looking down. He flicked a tiny ball of paper along the table, away from them. ‘Because it’s so stupid!’ he said, sulkily. ‘It’s intelligent design for smart people. These Singularitarians, Transhumanists, Extropians, whatever they call themselves, they are all just guilty of a massive amount of wishful thinking.’ Carl leaned back, paused, and smiled sheepishly. ‘End of rant.’ Matt smiled. ‘No, it was a good rant. You give good rant, Carl. And as it happens I partly agree with you. There is a bit of a self-satisfied feeling about it all, as if they are initiated into a secret which no-one else knows, but everyone will be jolly grateful when they unveil it and bestow their blessings upon the world.


Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold

A Pattern Language, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business climate, citizen journalism, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, experimental economics, experimental subject, Extropian, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telephone, inventory management, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, more computing power than Apollo, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, pez dispenser, planetary scale, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, slashdot, social intelligence, spectrum auction, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, web of trust, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game

As medical technology provides more and more intimately bio-connected mechanical life-support systems, and more people spend more time in communication with mechanical thinking aids, an entire literature of cyborg criticism has grown up.49 One critic, Mark Dery, argued in his 1996 book, Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, that certain cyborg subcultures who call themselves “extropians” or “transhumanists” actively seek to transcend the flesh, projecting a quasi-mystical faith onto the scientific whiz-bangery of technology.50 These extreme technophiles ask why we should put up with the messiness, mortality, limitations in intelligence and physical power that accompany the human body as it evolved biologically, now that we seem to be on the verge of building more effective substitutes for vital organs.


pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Charles Lindbergh, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kubernetes, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, The Hackers Conference, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

The mysterious anonymous voice gave a fictional address: “BlackNet <nowhere@cyberspace.nil>.” That was obvious geek irony: .nil didn’t exist as a top-level domain. But the e-mail then ominously added, “We can be contacted (preferably through a chain of anonymous remailers) by encrypting a message to our public key (contained below) and depositing this message in one of the several locations in cyberspace we monitor.” These locations were two Usenet groups—alt.extropians and alt.fan.david-sternlight—and of course the cypherpunks list itself. This didn’t look like irony. The idea for BlackNet was to remain “nominally” nonideological. But the author of the ominous passage made clear that he considered nation-states, export laws, patent laws, and national security “relics of the pre-cyberspace era.” These things simply served one nefarious purpose: to expand the state’s power and to further what the BlackNet pioneers called “imperialist, colonialist state fascism.”61 The curious e-mail pamphlet then made clear that BlackNet would currently build up its “information inventory,” and that it was interested in acquiring a range of commercial secrets.


pages: 571 words: 162,958

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel

back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day

Manfred slides the chair open then realizes that the other guy—immaculate double-breasted suit, sober tie, crew-cut — is a girl. Mr. Dreadlock nods. “You’re Macx? I figured it was about time we met.” “Sure.” Manfred holds out a hand and they shake. Manfred realizes the hand belongs to Bob Franklin, a Research Triangle startup monkey with a vc track record, lately moving into micromachining and space technology: he made his first million two decades ago and now he’s a specialist in extropian investment fields. Manfred has known Bob for nearly a decade via a closed mailing list. The Suit silently slides a business card across the table; a little red devil brandishes a trident at him, flames jetting up around its feet. He takes the card, raises an eyebrow: “Annette Dimarcos? I’m pleased to meet you. Can’t say I’ve ever met anyone from Arianespace marketing before.” She smiles, humorlessly; “that is convenient, all right.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Furthermore, it reveals more virtue to act courageously to save one life than to save the world. (Although if you have to do one or the other, of course you should save the world.) But let’s be more specific. John Perry was a New York City police officer who also happened to be an Extropian and transhumanist, which is how I come to know his name. John Perry was due to retire shortly and start his own law practice, when word came that a plane had slammed into the World Trade Center. He died when the north tower fell. I didn’t know John Perry personally, so I cannot attest to this of direct knowledge; but very few Extropians believe in God, and I expect that Perry was likewise an atheist. Which is to say that Perry knew he was risking his very existence, every week on the job. And it’s not, like most people in history, that he knew he had only a choice of how to die, and chose to make it matter—because Perry was a transhumanist; he had genuine hope.


pages: 1,280 words: 384,105

The Best of Best New SF by Gardner R. Dozois

back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Columbine, congestion charging, dark matter, Doomsday Book, double helix, Extropian, gravity well, lateral thinking, Mason jar, offshore financial centre, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent, Y2K, zero-sum game

Manfred slides the chair open then realizes that the other guy – immaculate double-breasted suit, sober tie, crew-cut – is a girl. Mr. Dreadlock nods. “You’re Macx? I figured it was about time we met.” “Sure.” Manfred holds out a hand and they shake. Manfred realizes the hand belongs to Bob Franklin, a Research Triangle startup monkey with a VC track record, lately moving into micromachining and space technology: he made his first million two decades ago and now he’s a specialist in extropian investment fields. Manfred has known Bob for nearly a decade via a closed mailing list. The Suit silently slides a business card across the table; a little red devil brandishes a trident at him, flames jetting up around its feet. He takes the card, raises an eyebrow: “Annette Dimarcos? I’m pleased to meet you. Can’t say I’ve ever met anyone from Arianespace marketing before.” She smiles, humorlessly; “that is convenient, all right.