Encircled by Armageddon

by rsbakker

Aphorism of the Day: Holding a fool accountable is like blaming your last cigarette for giving you cancer. Behind every idiot stands a village.

This is a horse I’ve been flogging for several years now, the way that the picture(s) offered by the technological optimists seem to entail our doom as much as the pictures(s) offered by the pessimists. To crib a metaphor from Marx, we will be hanged by the very rope that is supposed to save us.

It seems to me that the two best ways to attack the argument from the two previous posts are to argue that the biological revolution I describe simply won’t happen, or that if it does happen, it doesn’t entail the ‘end of humanity.’

My argument for the first is simply: in the absence of any obvious and immediate deleterious effect, any technology that renders competitive advantages will be exploited. My argument for the second is simply: identity is not conserved across drastic changes in neurophysiology.

The inevitability of the former entails the ‘drastic changes’ of the latter. Even though ‘loss of identity’ counts as an ‘obvious deleterious effect,’ it does not count as an immediate one. Creeping normalcy will be our undoing, the slow accumulation of modifications as our neurophysiology falls ever deeper into our manipulative purview.

The question of whether we should fear this potential likelihood is the same as asking whether we should fear that other profound loss of identity, death.  Either way, whatever the paradise or pandamonium that awaits us on the other side, it ain’t human.

POST-SCRIPT: Here’s an interesting little tidbit from The Atlantic that a buddy just sent me. We’re standing at the wee beginning of Enlightenment 2.0, and we’re already talking about overturning the entire foundation of our whole legal system.

POST-POST-SCRIPT: Here’s another interesting tidbit I came across correlating personality types and the propensity to believe in free-will…