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Promises September 7, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Transhumanism.
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If you are less than 20, aging will be defeated without you. Your major risk is a global catastrophe. Work on creating the friendly AI and it’s going to solve all the problems and you will become a superhuman with capabilities that the Olympic Gods wouldn’t even dream of.

This sanguine assessment comes from Maria Konovalenko’s most recent IEET article on the immortalist project. I consider such claims wildly presumptuous. The number of assumptions involved obliterate any possibility of certainty, which one should never have about the future in any case. By definition, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Hell, we have tenuous foundations for asserting comprehension of the present or past. While fun, predictions that elide uncertainty perform the ruse of authority. Truth exercises an enduring appeal; I feel it myself. I discern in this appeal the desire to escape the messiness of skepticism and constrained, shifting knowledge. Konovalenko’s piece exemplifies this desire. Not only are younger folks guaranteed an indefinite lifespan, friend AI appears to end politics and history. Even if hard AI proves technically feasible and works as advertised, looking to the machine God to save us constitute an enormous gamble. At least as likely, the call to surrender agency to authority will empower all too human actors to pursue their own interests at the expense of the gullible. Let’s endeavor to defeat aging, yes, but with recognition that we might well fail and as part of the wider movement for health justice.

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