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Having a Cell Phone Does Not Make You a Duke September 8, 2011

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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This post comes as a response to Brian Wang’s comment over on Anissimov’s blog. Wang’s assertion that many of today’s poor are better off than medieval royalty comes from an awfully selective reading of history and betrays a reductionist view of human experience. Even if we put aside the matter of being waited on by servants vastly more intelligent and physically capable than the best modern digital systems, social status proves key in determining happiness. Having a cell phone and laptop doesn’t magically pay my rent or give me meaningful decision-making power in my workplace. Power relationships count regardless of the shiny toys involved. I want more than improvement in material conditions. I want genuine liberation.

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1. richard holt - September 16, 2011

We can easily envisage scenarios where transhuman technology leads to irreversible dystopia. If one accepts the premise that the technology is coming, regardless of how loudly people cheer or boo, this leads to a clear political imperitive.

As a left libertarian I absolutely agree that relative poverty, low social status, insecurity and powerlessness are good predictors of misery. We should be pouring money into research on zero carbon energy, positive psychology, peace studies, and human-centred developmental economics. But equally research to avert existential risks and techno-dystopias seems just as important to me.


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