Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chris Wren writes:

So it's not that I'm not interested in the futurism, just that I tend to be much more skeptical of futurist thought than I used to be. I find myself less interested in whether Ray Kurzweil is "right" or "wrong" about the future, than I am in the psychology underlying his vision. Why does he want to live forever? Why does he want to upload his consciousness into a machine? How does that psychology differ from the frame of mind that inspired Walt Disney or Gene Roddenberry's visions? Once you get past the obsession with whether this or that prediction is accurate, you get into the really interesting meat and potatoes of why that particular prediction was made by that particular person in the first place.

Chris also makes an on-the-money observation about io9, a blog whose geeky preoccupations are quickly losing my own interest:

I thought io9 was a pretty decent site at the beginning, but how quickly I tire these days of the "We're all so zany and ironic" schtick. I want more out of a site that purports to be dedicated to science fiction than geek technofetishism and the latest buzz and gossip about TV shows and comic books.

Indeed. io9's chief virtue is the sheer quantity of items on display. Transform some of that mass into energy and you just might have the best science fiction blog in the world.


Dane of War said...

I have seen that it's gone from a daily stop of mine to a "once-in-a-while" place. It's as though they're trying too hard to be the biggest and the best... and now it's all about the quantity of pop culture posts they can have.

When I start seeing celebrity posts - I doubt I'll visit again.

Anonymous said...

In regards to Wren's comment on Kurzweil, I have often wondered about the motivation to live forever and what that says about a person, if anything.

If we are interested in extending not only life, but the quality of that life, I suggest in the end we may owe Kurzweil a debt of gratitude for his investment of time and resources.


dmduncan said...

I think Kurzweil is the ultimate byproduct of materialism, and the complete absence of any kind of spiritualism. There is nothing to live for but this. When you die, you are completely gone for ever, there is nothing more afterwards, so we have to keep it going as long as possible. So he wants to enshrine his ego in a machine for ever. Personally I'm not interested. I'm personally not interested in waging a war against the universe or its seasons or the fact that I, like every one of my brothers and sisters on this planet, are embedded in those seasons and will eventually have to pass with them. So I guess you could see Ray's philosophy as a juvenile philosophy expressed out of an alienation from the universe and its processes.

Chris Wren said...

Michael, when I hit my 120th birthday, ( and I think there's a decent chance I will) I'll thank the medical professionals and researchers whose hard work made that milestone possible. I will most certainly NOT thank Ray Kurzweil who, as far as I can tell, is an author/inventor, not a scientist and who has no publication credits in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I was speaking more in the context of a man spending his resources and time and allowing himself to be a test subject and also helping to promote the transhuman agenda, if you will.

Whether his influence will be eventually judged as positive or negative, I don't know, I guess only the future holds the answer to that question, and it seems he is determined to be there to find out for himself.

Speaking for myself, I think the time will come when this body and mind of mine has had enough and I can only hope I will have the dignity to slip away with a last breath of satisfaction.



W.M. Bear said...

Anyone who claims they DON'T want to live forever is kidding both themselves and everyone else. Please think deeply about this, my friends (and you are my friends)....

W.M. Bear said...

I except suicides and those with suicidal tendencies....

Katie said...

Anyone who claims they DON'T want to live forever is kidding both themselves and everyone else.

Well, I don't necessarily want to live forever, and last time I checked I wasn't suicidal. But I do consider myself practical.

Maybe it comes from having had many a family member die at a youngish age, but I don't harbor the idea that all the ills that plague mankind will be cured within my lifetime, so why waste the time I have planning for that life that will never happen for me?

I'd rather spend my energies living the life that I have, and trying to enjoy it as much as I can, rather than sit and moon over what I'm going to be doing in a future I will probably never see.

Do I lack vision and imagination? Maybe. But, do I wish good luck to those that chase this as-of-yet unattainable dream? Absolutely.

~V~ said...

"i live the life i love
& i love the life i live..."

~ Muddy Waters

W.M. Bear said...

I meant given the chance. I don't sit around planning for extreme longevity, I just hope it will happen soon enough in my lifetime to take advantage of it. If they ever develop rejuvenation treatments, I'll be first in line. Meanwhile, like Ray Kurzweil, I content myself with OD'ing on supplements of various sorts.

I believe we pass from life to life (through thousands of lifetimes) but what a pain forgetting everything we knew and having to grow up all over again and relearn everything.