Re: JOIN: Ralph's Intro

From: Ralph (
Date: Sun Oct 24 2004 - 17:13:14 MDT

"Damien Broderick" <> wrote...

> At 10:35 PM 10/23/2004 -0400, Ralph Cerchione wrote:
> >I suppose I may be the oldest SL4 on the list.
> Hahahahahaha! If only! (Welcome, Ralph!)
Oh, and by oldest, I meant possibly the first here to have ever shifted into
that mindset, but I will humbly accept Mr. Broderick's implication that he
and others may have me beat, one way or another, by decades.

Having said that, has it occurred to anyone trying to generate interest in
transhumanist/extropian/singulatarian ideas to try to reach out to other
groups who are interested in radical self-improvement of one kind or

I'd imagine this group has already considered the simple idea of recruiting
from "fertile fields" (science fiction fans, AI researchers, cybernetic
enthusiasts, longevity/health fanatics). But for people interested in
promoting a whole range of transhumanist ideals, perhaps there's something
to be said for forming specific alliances in order to advance specific

For example, a group focused on the benefits of meditation may have
absolutely no interest in implanting "microchips in the brain." They might,
however, be quite interested in an in-depth study of the brain in various
stages of meditation, as versus controls in normal modes of awareness.
People interested in creativity may want to see the brain in creative
states; people trying to develop lie-detectors may want to examine the
brains of accomplished (and un-accomplished) liars.

Why not work together with such groups to find support for elements of
projects such as analyzing the brain down to the cellular level as a prelude
to uploading?

Similarly, many religious or humanitarian groups may be hostile to or at
least disinterested in physical immortality. But quite a few are interested
in decreasing pain and suffering, curing illness and significantly extending
human lifespans. These are obvious potential partners for longevity-related

As others have pointed out on this list, the Transhumanist movement is
hardly overburdened with millionaires who have money to burn. But there are
plenty of wealthy philanthropists supporting other movements, and some of
them might be willing to fund what are ultimately transhumanist goals if
they were presented as the far-reaching aims of their favored cause.

I think breaking down transhumanist goals into their constituent parts and
tackling them (or having someone else tackle them) one-by-one might be a
useful to not only make progress on immediate tasks but to encourage a
groundswell of support for further, more advanced goals as the initial
research bears fruit.

Obvious areas for potential partnership include:

Expert systems -- for conducting scientific research (which they have),
detecting and repairing software problems, voice/facial/retinal
identification, etc.
Industrial and service robots
Neural networks, atomic-scale processor or chip components, etc
Any detailed analysis of the brain, but particularly anything that would
give clues as to the best way to simulate sentient thought or to upload an
existing consciousness.
Nootropic or gene therapy methods for enhancing intelligence
Any non-invasive technologies with the potential to enhance effective brain
function (sensory deprivation tanks, etc)
Accelerated learning or creativity-enhancing techniques

Etc, etc. The above may seem relatively prosaic, given the fund-raising
discussions already hosted on this list. I would suggest, however, that
there is an untapped vein of resources here -- not so much in
transhumanist-"outsider" partnerships, but by joining "outsider to
outsider." Hence, you have neurology researchers getting funded by
meditation schools to study said schools' adepts. You have disease-fighting
philanthropists funding research into drugs for the mentally disabled, or to
enhance the immune systems of AIDS victims (something Bill and Malinda Gates
might take an interest in, and which dovetails with transhumanist interests
in an expanded lifespan). You have car companies funding the next generation
of industrial robots. You have software companies exploring "smart" search
engines and other (supposedly) AI-precursor technology. (Actually, most of
those examples have already happened.)

Now obviously some of this would occur with or without outside help. But one
thing that transhumanist organizations might become effective at is helping
to organize general fundraising deals for projects of clear value to
achieving their goals. If just one organization could maintain the
professional or two needed to guide such work, they could become a means of
linking up researchers in relevant fields with funders -- be they corporate
sponsors, angel investors, government agencies, etc.

Alternatively, transhumanists could serve as an informal network of support
for these researchers, especially for those whose work is considered too
radical for many funding sources. By offering a venue where
transhumanist-related ideas can be aired in front of an intelligent and
receptive audience, international transhumanist conferences could serve as
the seed for such relationships to evolve. Indeed, if the overall movement
was consciously trying to promote these kinds of partnerships, then the
various students, supporters, researchers and other professionals could
"keep their ears to the ground" for any new opportunities and pass them
along to their contacts. This might even be a good subject for a separate
discussion group, but could certainly serve as the topic for numerous
threads on the various transhumanist lists.

Just a thought.


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