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Is Dvorsky Getting Paid? April 9, 2014

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Technology, Transhumanism.
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Yesterday George Dvorsky published another bit of propaganda for U.S. military, this time entitled “Watch the U.S. Navy Blow Shit Up with Its Futuristic Railgun” and without any critical commentary whatsoever. As a gamer and science fiction writer I grasp the appeal, but celebrating high-tech weapons has profoundly pernicious implications in the current context of U.S. imperialism and military recruiting. Dvorsky’s title reminders me of lines I once overheard a Navy recruiter use; shooting really big guns was a central part of the pitch. Here transhumanism literally does the work of the military. I hope Dvorsky’s at least getting paid for eir recruiting efforts.

Death to Empire

DARPA’s Evil Geniuses Keep Doing Their Thing April 2, 2014

Posted by Summerspeaker in Science Fiction, Technocracy, Transhumanism.
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DARPA and Google should join forces and conquer the world.

This comment on George Dvorsky’s lasted io9 piece epitomizes corporate-militarist side of transhumanism that Dale Carrico ably critiques. I’d do my own critique if I had the time, but Dale’s should suffice. I’ll just point out the grim hilarity of Dvorsky’s two closing sentences:

With its launch of BTO, DARPA says it also wants to consider the implications of what it’s doing. To that end, DARPA will periodically converse with experts in these issues to discuss relevant ethical, legal, and social issues.

If there’s one thing the U.S. military has a flawless track record on, it’s ethics! They’re going to make sure they continue the program of world domination in an ethical fashion.

Anissimov and Company Declare Themselves Reactionary December 1, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Despair, Evo psych, Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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so it has come to this

See Klint Finley’s take on this new movement:

So what exactly is the Cathedral stopping neoreactionaries from talking about? Well, the merits of monarchy for starters. But mostly, as far as I can tell, they want to be able to say stuff like “Asians, Jews and whites are smarter than blacks and Hispanics because genetics” without being called racist. Or at least be able to express such views without the negative consequences of being labeled racist.

Speaking of which, neoreactionaries are obsessed with a concept called “human biodiversity” (HBD) – what used to be called “scientific racism.” Specifically, they believe that IQ is one of – if not the – most important personal traits, and that it’s predominately genetic. Neoreactionaries would replace, or supplement, the “divine right” of kings and the aristocracy with the “genetic right” of elites.

To call these claims “controversial” would be putting it lightly, but they underpin much of anti-egalitarian and pro-traditionalist claims neoreactionaries make. Delving into the scientific debate over race, genetics and IQ is beyond the scope of this article, but I’ve included some links on the topic in the reading list.

It’s not hard to see why this ideology would catch-on with white male geeks. It tells them that they are the natural rulers of the world, but that they are simultaneously being oppressed by a secret religious order. And the more media attention is paid to workplace inequality, gentrification and the wealth gap, the more their bias is confirmed. And the more the neoreactionaries and techbros act out, the more the media heat they bring.

I don’t have time to address this in any detail, but it’s worth being aware of. These folks literally want closed hierarchical societies in the mold of nineteenth-century Europe but with super tech. It almost seems like self-parody or trolling.

P.S. Check out Michael Anissimov’s Twitter feed if you really want to be horrified.

P.P.S. Also see Rick Searle’s take.

Posthuman Gender: A Non-Binary Future October 11, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Feminism, Queer politics, Technology, Transhumanism.
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Though still decidedly secondary, the dream of transcending biological sex and established gender norms occupies a key place transhumanist in thought. Transhumanists extoll transgender people as prescient pioneers of morphological freedom and technological enhancement. This article explores the problem of gender – yes, it is a problem – in relation to feminist theory and proposed transhumanist solutions. I simultaneously critique and embrace visions of transcendence.

Read it over at IEET.

Musings on Morphological Freedom and Feminist Revolution September 12, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Feminism, Science Fiction, Transhumanism.
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Read it over at IEET.

Ethical Technology Article Up at IEET July 6, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Environmental justice, Primitivism, Technocracy, Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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At present iconic modern technologies – computers, cars, phones, etc. – entail environmental devastation and vast human suffering. The harm caused by actually existing industrial manufacturing and resource extraction constitutes a core dilemma for transhumanist and technoprogressive thought. Assuming that innovation within the capitalist context will resolve the problem strikes me as far too sanguine. I argue for taking the horrors of technological production seriously and for using combined technical and social approaches to create genuinely ethical technology, ever acknowledging the uncertainty and difficulty involved.

Read it here. Also check out this lively comment thread.

“The Specter of Eugenics” Up at IEET June 5, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Epistemology, Evo psych, Transhumanism.
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The recent controversy surrounding Jason Richwine’s Havard dissertation “IQ and Immigration Policy” serves as an opportune point of departure for reflecting on biological determinism in transhumanist thought. Are transhumanists, as Michael Anissimov says, eugenicists without the coercion? What does channeling eugenics in a white-supremacist society mean and do? Why the obsession with IQ among various transhumanists, particularly AI enthusiasts? I argue that the scientific racism of Richwine and company, with all its elaborate statistical wizardry, functions first and foremost as rationalization of inequality and privilege. I call on transhumanists to reject to biological determinism and struggle for social justice in social terms.

Read it here.

New Article Up at IEET May 1, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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Read it here.

Happy May Day!

Dale on Zuckerberg’s Dream April 25, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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This is good stuff. Dale critiques Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s one-identity mantra as simultaneously creepy and confused. Particularly when coming from governments or corporations like Facebook and Google, I find the relentless drive to know everything deeply troubling. As Jaron Lanier writes, attempts to make us comprehensible to search engines and marketers entail an extreme reductionism that potentially negatively affects how we understand ourselves.

“Cautiously Toward Utopia” Up at IEET April 4, 2013

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Environmental justice, Technocracy, Technology, The Singularity, Transhumanism.
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The longstanding and growing concern over structural unemployment caused by automation highlights the absurdity of capitalism. Like homelessness caused by too many houses, poverty from mechanization looks perverse and nonsensical from system-optimization standpoint. This article briefly sketches the history of both fears and hopes surrounding automated labor in order to argue against economic status quo of coercion, inequality, and inefficiency. I recommend distributing and/or socializing the twenty-first-century’s increasingly robotic means of production while simultaneously troubling sanguine post-scarcity dreams through attention to uncertainty, ecology, and pluralism.

Read it here.

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