Packaging the Singularity for the Masses

Transhumanism is not exactly a popular field. Viewed as an adolescent sci-fi fantasy or robot cult of Kurzweil worshipping lunatics, (thank you Dale Carrico) the Transhumanist community has fought long and hard to be taken seriously for speculating on the new evolution of our species. In an effort to receive positive mainstream attention there has been a recent attempt to package the Singularity for the masses. We have seen an increase of festivals like the Extreme Futurist Festival and Being Human which seek to give the field of Transhumanism an accessible vibe.

When does “accessible” become a dirty word?

Earlier today I came across one of the worst articles I have seen in quite some time. The Singularity as the Ultimate Culture Jam has a provocative title that appeals to a certain revolutionary urge inside of us. Unfortunately this article makes a great case for keeping the Singularity inside an ivory tower.

Jake Anderson states the following:

Occupy the Singularity. By creating an entirely new lexicon of ideas, memes, and modalities, the Singularity will be the ultimate culture jam, or, as the 60s Situationists group may have called it, an epic détournement. Everything will be turned around, rearranged, spliced and re-coded.

Now maybe it is just me, but if I am interested in reading this kind of thing I am going to leave Transhumanism out of it. Douglas Rushkoff does a fine job of advocating for a remix culture and occupying everything without degenerating into this vapid pro-everything-propaganda that seeks only to please the reader for the sake of increasing Whuffie. Not to mention that Occupy sloganeering is like so last week. (weak?)

Marshall McLuhan called and he wants his soul back.

The 60s Situationists and people like R.U. Sirius were genuine in that they advocated for a counterculture based on intellect and high weirdness without the stench of marketing to the lowest common denominator. Robert Anton Wilson provided a fresh spin on conscious evolution that spawned an entire generation of (r)evolutionary thinkers. Tool and Nine Inch Nails were gateway drugs toward higher modes of artistic expression. Accessible does not always mean herdlike.

“Accessible” only becomes a dirty word when the wrong people are given access to a topic they do not understand. From the description of the Singularity in Jake Anderson’s article, it is clear that he has not read anything about Transhumanism outside of a Gawker media site. While some people find this type of enthusiasm endearing, I am left with the concern that it will take the meaning away from the Singularity. In my own pro-everything article DIY Transhumanism I asked the following:

What would happen if a bunch of kids ran around calling themselves Transhumanists simply because it was the “cool” thing to do? What if Transhumanism developed Steampunk Syndrome and anything/everything was suddenly considered Transhumanist? What if the question: “What is Transhumanism?” was answered in cliches like “whatever we make it” or “this moment”? Would we lose our desire to evolve as human beings and would substance be replaced with style? Would we become industrialized? Would evolution simply be another festival in the desert?

I did not expect these questions to be answered so quickly, but what do you know? As a cultural critic, I am always asking the sorts of questions that get me into trouble. What happens when the Singularity is packaged for the masses? Our species stops evolving. We no longer want to upload our minds and the argument of clones being inferior rings true for the entire (trans)human race. Observe the wisdom of Jake Anderson:

But will life without sarcasm, drugs, sex and stress really be life? It’s hard to imagine that world. In that way, the coming of the Singularity could become a classic example of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Will the technological rapture be derailed by reactionary human ignorance? Life without sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll? Hell no!

I invite you to read the above paragraph one more time. What exactly does this say about the mutant subculture? It looks like we have gotten stuck in a warhole. People are starting to go to Church of the SubGenius like it is an actual church. Social media coaches should not have the right to blog. If you need to talk about “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll” in order to sell something you probably don’t know very much about the topic.

If it wasn’t already a musical genre I would call this type of thing “futurepop” yet in our current cultural climate I might as well just reappropriate the term. We should work on removing futurepop from Transhumanism because this type of accessibility is toxic. The Singularity is more than a poorly directed YouTube video and at this rate we will not even realize it is happening because of all the futurepop surrounding us.

Anderson ends his article with this statement:

Failing that, we’ll always have the dream of sexy robots.

At this point it is clear that we are not learning anything about Transhumanism or culture jamming. We are subjected to pro-everything-propaganda lacking any meaning or substance. Packaging the Singularity for the masses does a disservice to a field that is based on enhancing the human species. If we continue down this road we may never leave the Idiocracy no matter how powerful those sexy robots become.

Rachel Haywire is a writer, model, and cultural futurist. She is the founder of the Extreme Futurist Festival which is a 2 day entertainment and tech convention focusing on radical performers and voices of the new evolution. She is the editor of h+ Magazine.

41 Comments

  1. Singularity Utopia, Jake Anderson makes the statement about God because he understands the function of God. You don’t yet.

    • Hmmm, Lincoln I’m hesitant to disagree with you because you agreed with me (I’m fickle like that) but Singularity Utopia is not exactly what I imagine. That said, I think a Singularity is the only possible societal evolution that could lead to utopian conditions on Earth.

      As I’ve said before, I think it’s far more likely that the Singularity will bring about extremely chaotic conditions that, if viewed from today’s standpoints, would be labeled dystopian, though ultimately I think they are necessary.

      I am also hesitant to say I “understand the function of God,” though I HAVE taken mushrooms before.

      Out of curiosity, what do you think the function of God would be in the Singularity?

      -Jake
      Over The Moon

      • What Jake said.

        What do you think the function of God is here Lincoln?

        Is that like Santa Claus?

        • Actually I had I Divine revelation recently. It is tempting to think the so-called “God function” is a silly child’s story about Santa Claus but the reality is that God is made out of cheese. The Posthuman Cheese God said unto me:

          “The Cheese is Holy, praise the time-travelling Posthuman Cheese. All life evolved from intelligently designed cheese.”

          I then replied to the Posthuman Cheese God by saying: “We lift up our spirits to Gouda. We will return to The Garden of Edam.”

          I will publish a full explanation of Holy Cheese in the not too distant future.

    • As I said you to on Twitter Lincoln… God doesn’t exist but if God does exist then God is clearly an insane moron thus I will track God and kill God like the rabid dog that God is.

      Thankfully I won’t need to waste my time tracking God down because God doesn’t exist and God never will exist. God is simply a silly tale invented by intellectually primitive humans who were/are trying incompetently to cope with a painful world.

  2. Myself and Nikki Olson have previously written about the damaging dilution of the “Singularity” concept, where the latest iWhatever gizmo from Apple etc is deemed a Singularity.

    Currently I have an issue with religion creeping into Transhumanism-Singularity issues.

    Note the Turing Church site, terasemfaith, and the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

    Why does Jake Anderson state: “The concept of ‘God’ was created by us for a reason: we must create Him, or we will die.”?

    I say let God die, God is a useless concept with no relevance to intelligence.

    Technology does not need God. Keep God out of the Singularity.

    • Trust me, I have no intention of preserving religion. I use the word ‘God’ (which, you’re right, I should have clarified more) as a mechanism by which to view the universe as a potentially omnipotent totality.

      That is, if the Singularity comes true and we build Dyson Spheres, reengineer matter, and saturate the universe with intelligence, we will in essence be fulfilling the role traditionally allocated for a ‘God.’

      If we don’t do that, or if no intelligent civilization does, consciousness will remain under the control of physical matter.

      That was the point I was trying to make.

      -Jake Anderson
      Over The Moon

    • “I say let God die, God is a useless concept with no relevance to intelligence.

      Technology does not need God. Keep God out of the Singularity.”

      Nail on head SU.

  3. Speaking of Jason Silva here is an interview I did with him at the Singularity Summit in NYC last year:

    Rachel Haywire Interviews Jason Silva

  4. @Jake re “conversations about the Singularity and, more importantly, the impact of technology on human life and especially class warfare need to be expanded out of their esoteric academic base and inserted into mainstream culture.”

    I agree on the “out of their esoteric academic base” part (see my previous comment). But I don’t think “mainstream culture” is any better, if it means the politically correct lukewarm and ultimately meaningless soup that mainstream media (and politicians, and “intellectuals”) vomit all the time. Let’s instead create a true popular culture, and embed the conversations there.

  5. Like Ben, I don’t think Jake’s article is that bad. It is fun to read, and has some good points.

    Comments:

    “The world is indeed a cold accumulation of atoms in the void, but we may be able to wake it up. We may be able to produce a culture jam on matter itself.”

    This is a good description of an interpretation of transhumanism similar to mine.

    “But will life without sarcasm, drugs, sex and stress really be life?”

    Who said that life after the Singularity will be life without sarcasm, drugs, sex and stress? If anything, I think there will be much more of all these things. Note that each generation re-invents drugs and sex (and rock n’ roll) in ways difficult to understand for previous generations.

    “Of course, my bigger confusion, and fear, concerns the end of death as a form of parity. In a world in which humans can use biotechnology and nanotechnology to stave off death and merge with online entities, the Haves will have an even bigger hand over the Have-Nots: the ability to buy a way out of death itself.”

    Jake, I think you ruined a good article with this nonsense. With the same faulty logic, since rich people can buy better education and better health care, we should eliminate education and health care. Really now.

    I am not rich, but I would be happy if rich people could buy a way out of death itself, because I could hope to become rich and immortal.

    “mainstream entertainers trying to wax poetic with complex subjects (Jason Silva comes to mind)”

    What is wrong with making complex subjects interesting, fun and poetic? Many academicians fake expertise on things that they don’t understand by hiding their stupidity behind big words, please send them to work the fields and give me more Jason Silvas.

    • Hey, Giulio,

      I’m glad you liked parts of my article. As for the part you didn’t like, about rich people buying their way out of death, let me clarify my position.

      I’m not opposed to people extending their lives–I would just like to see some more effort put into making the initial living conditions for millions of others better. Instead of a mad scramble to live long enough to live forever, we could be leaving behind an immortal legacy of human rights, equality, and environmental responsibility.

      But again, like I said, if people want to focus their efforts on living an extra ten years that’s their perogative.

      Over The Moon

  6. That human species would stop evolving when singularity is out there for anyone’s interpretation is quite an incomprehensible argument to me. I really can’t see the relation between the two. Even if millions of people thought that transhumanism is all about sexy robots, so what? The inventions or knowledge transhumanism in its true form reaches would get to people truly interested anyway in time.

    Also, I find it sort of too controlling to have the concept for yourself, I mean as yourself interpret it. What’s the harm if anyone just makes anything he/she wants out of it? I don’t think that it’s possible to have a pure philosophy as you idealize to have at this age; with internet and all sorts of people constantly interacting.

    • “What’s the harm if anyone just makes anything he/she wants out of it?”

      I call this Steampunk Syndrome. For a while people were calling everything under the sun steampunk. Since everything was suddenly steampunk people did not understand what steampunk was. The industrial subculture is the other way around and I also find this problematic. They refuse to call anything industrial that isn’t “industrial enough” and this alienates everybody from the subculture. The definition of steampunk is too wide and the definition of industrial is too narrow. I think a middle ground is needed.

      Defining something “however you choose to define it” will render your ideas and experiences meaningless if your definition is not accurate. If we were able to define anything as anything else there would be no use for making sense out of language. I could call this sentence an ice cream cone.

    • “What’s the harm if anyone just makes anything he/she wants out of it? ”

      It’s counterproductive when third-world dictators hold fake elections and call it “democracy”

      It’s counterproductive to call “political science” and “Christian science” sciences…

      And I think it’s counterproductive to use the term Singularity to refer to a future intensified culture jam…

      It seems useful to have words with specific, well-understood meanings within a community. Without this, communication becomes needlessly inefficient and confusing.

      Of course word meanings also naturally shift over time, and often in useful ways. I just don’t think this suggested shift of the meaning of Singularity is a useful one…

      ben g

  7. I appreciate you taking the time to reply to this Jake Anderson. I see that a lot of thought went into your responses and I commend you for that. I don’t feel like you addressed my article but it is nice to see that you are passionate about making the Singularity accessible to a wider group of people. I don’t think accessible is a dirty word at all though I do feel like the accessibility you were aiming for had a nasty flavor of social media marketing. It did not seem genuine to me.

    I’m glad you posted Jake’s article Socrates. It has opened up a very interesting debate. This is a good type of controversy in my opinion because it causes people to engage in new dialogues from all sorts of perspectives.

    -Rachel Haywire

  8. Hey guys,

    I have to say that I agree with Ben as I see no damage done whatsoever by Jake’s article.

    The way I see it, it was clearly not intended as some kind of thorough overview of the singularity but more of a “jamming” session of mental jazz.

    Personally I actually found Jake’s style of writing interesting and pleasant even if I don’t accept all his points. (and yes Rachel, I debated with myself if I am to edit that last sentence of his…)

    Still, I saw and continue to see no reason that it shouldn’t be published and so I did publish it as a guest blog article.

    However, as far as Jake’s right pouring his ideas online goes, I have to say that I am totally behind him.

    • Jake has a right to speak, and Rachel has a right to criticize…. Heated arguments seem to be one of the things the Internet is all about ;=)

      I don’t think Jake’s article was damaging in any way — but I think that if his “Singularity as Culture Jam” perspective became widespread, this would be damaging, because it would confuse matters in the public mind. And the general public is confused enough about these issues already ;p

      I suppose that Rachel’s article has actually made Jake’s view on the Singularity *more* widely known than it would have been otherwise 😉 …

      ben

  9. Hey Rachel,

    Let me refine and expand my point a bit, since in your recent tweets you’ve expressed an unwillingness to engage in a dialogue.

    I would argue that transhumanists themselves have done the reappropriating, taking science fiction concepts, reinscribing them into “reality” and then having the audacity to pretend like they’re part of a humanist movement.

    As a science fiction writer, I could just as easily say I wish people outside the science fiction ivory tower would stop ripping off our ideas and peddling them as elitist DIY lifestyles. (this a joke but it illustrates how transparent it is when people such as yourself act self righteous about ideas that are not their own.)

    You do not own the concept of the Singularity. The fact that I have discussed it in a context that is removed from hard science and focused more on cultural revolution does not delegitimize it.

    A bit more clear,
    Jake Anderson
    Over The Moon

    • Stop bothering me on Twitter.

      You say that Jason Silva is a mainstream entertainer who is waxing poetic. Maybe so. Yet the difference is that Jason Silva actually has something new to say and a decent understanding of Transhumanism. You, on the other hand, do not. Silva is a perfect example of someone making the Singularity accessible for the masses in a positive way.

      I do not find your sarcastic responses worth engaging with. Your “Michelle Bachman of Transhumanism” stuff in addition to your rants about Occupy, classism, etc. make it impossible to engage in an actual dialogue with you. I find this to be a shame because a decent conversation with you may have been very interesting.

      • Wow. I didn’t think I was bothering you on Twitter, I was replying to you. But I will certainly stop trying to have a conversation with you.

        As far my ‘rants’, let me remind you that you started this imbroglio by writing an entire article about how you think someone is a Sub-Genius, whatever that means.

        In my article I was just trying to creatively express my viewpoints about the future of cultural activism. Conversely, you were just being negative and destructive, tearing down instead of building something.

        The sarcasm was initially a necessary tool in order to get through to you. You can’t possibly expect someone to respond to the fairly mean-spirited article you wrote with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. If you do not wish to have a dialogue with me that is just as well, because I actually don’t think you understand what I was trying to say. And I don’t think you want to. You don’t strike me as the kind thinker who wants to envision how disaster capitalism will figure into a technological revolution–rather your interest seems to lie purely in techno-utopian fanfare.

        Best of luck,
        Jake

        • You were bothering me on Twitter by making rude comments about my tattoos and piercings. Hardly “trying to engage in a dialogue.”

          Yet I am really happy my article has caused you to put so much thought into this. I actually like your writing style and found your comments about the $5 bill being flushed down the toilet and naming your first child “futurepop” hilarious.

          My desire was not to be mean to you and I apologize if you felt like this was the case. I was attacking the contents of your article and not you as a person. You seem like a pretty nice guy actually. Maybe some day we will see each other at a party and be able to laugh about this. If I didn’t consider you someone with potential I wouldn’t have bothered to criticize your article in the first place.

          • That was a rhetorical question I asked about piercings and whatnot that was wanting you to clarify how your definition of a subversive social movement was different than mine. It was the only tweet that was not a direct question or response to something you said. But I can see why it looks like a minor attack–sorry.

            Moving on, I’m glad there were parts of my article you liked and, more importantly, glad we can steer this conversation into more civil waters. I have no doubt you’re a tremendous individual as well and if we do meet someday at a party, I would be very happy to talk with you about all this. I’m eager to learn, expand my horizons, and network with people doing important things.

            Cheers.

    • Hmmm…. Well, Rachel and H+ Magazine do not own the concept of the Singularity.

      However, the Technological Singularity as described by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil — and as commonly understood in the futurist literature — means something fairly specific, which is not much like a culture jam. There are different shades of meaning to “Singularity” as different thinkers use it in this context, but there’s also a strong common core.

      If you want to indicate a radically different concept, why not just use a different word? Aubrey de Grey has the Methuselarity. You can have your CultureJamUlarity, which may be a cool prediction, but really seems verrrry different from a Technological Singularity in the usual use of that term…

      Analogously, if I wrote an article claiming that all cows are evil, then I might get a lot of complaints from cow lovers. If I then explained that by “cow” I actually meant “rabid wolverine”, they might then wonder why I chose to use the word “cow” in such a way ;p …

  10. Jake. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. You’ve just gone to a good deal of trouble to prove that you didn’t understand the points Rachel was making.

    Worse, you made a point about your (lack of) intellect Rachel didn’t bother to make.

    Humanity is making a choice now as to whether it goes beyond itself or joins the dodo in the list of failed species.

    The package of ideas that goes with transhumanism can make a positive difference, but not if it is dumbed down to the meaningless point where “transhuman” is simply the latest marketing fad used to sell mass market products, where it’s distorted to put the masses to sleep instead of waking them the hell up.

    There is such a thing as premature commercialization of something new.

    • A.Lizard,

      This is Jake, the author of the comment you hated so much.

      Let me first say that the trouble I took in responding to Rachel’s post was done so in order to illustrate the fact that her comments reaffirmed what my article was actually about, which is to say the inherent classism and elitism represented by some transhuman principles.

      I am making the point that it is perfectly okay for cultural activists to discuss the Singularity, since if it happens it will probably affect us. No?

      To be perfectly honest, I have trouble responding to you seriously since your first comment seemed to imply that you thought I was a marketer trying to “improve corporate cash flow.” Don’t where that idea came from. I’m actually feverishly opposed to both corporations and money. The first thing I do every morning is flush a $5 dollar bill down the toilet and then frantically plunge it back up.

      Moving on, the point I made about my intelligence was a joke–as in joking about how distasteful it is to bring up intelligence levels, or my (poor) Math SAT scores, in any kind of serious conversation. If you go back through Rachel’s post you will see it is full of disparaging remarks about my intellect. This doesn’t bother me, it amuses me, which is why I responded with sarcastic bemusement.

      Moving on further, to the point you make about how we should be trying to improve the human species. I agree, sir. Which is why today I’m making a donation to the Ron Paul “No Government Unless It Favors The Upper Class” fund, in your name.

      But no, to be serious for a moment. For years I’ve worked hard to understand the concepts of the Singularity enough to be able to connect them with other relevant ideas. To me, few things are more important than making sure our society DOESN’T become a technocratic corporatocracy in which your ability to afford transhumanist technologies determines how long you get to live and what standard of life you get.

      And for the record, I’m not ‘marketing’ anything. Though I have been data mining your social media profiles for the last 10 years.

      Thanks for you time,
      Jake Anderson
      Over The Moon

      • Speaking as an experienced technology writer, I can say with confidence that if you are spending so much time complaining that your writing is being misunderstood, you should have made your points in a far clearer way.

        • FWIW, when I read Jake’s post (to which this post of Rachel’s refers), I didn’t have a particularly negative emotional reaction…

          I feel like Jake’s post is just fine as a personal blog post of musings about the Singularity … though certainly it’s not adequate as any kind of overview or analysis of the Singularity…

          However, I do think Jake’s vision of the Singularity is strongly misleading in one respect.

          Jake’s idea that in the Singularity,

          “Everything will be turned around, rearranged, spliced and re-coded.”

          and


          The Singularity will inherently entail a global culture jam as all current economies, world views, governments, social meanings, commercial values and cultural modalities are irrevocably liquidated or re-appropriated. This will open up a new world for marketers, capitalists, socialists, entrepreneurs, and culture jammers alike…

          does seem rather limiting….

          I personally doubt that categories like “capitalist” or “socialist” are going to have much meaning in a post-Singularity world…

          And, I’m not sure it’s useful to focus on the “cutting and pasting” , “reappropriating” aspect of the Singularity. That may be part of what happens, but surely the emergence of truly novel forms will be the more striking characteristic of the Singularity, rather than the recombination of previously existing forms…


          Ben Goertzel
          Chief Editor, H+ Magazine

          • This is my issue with remix culture Ben. It does not seem to value originality or new ideas. Only a mashup of old ideas.

            Ideas are losing their value as we know it.

            • This is not a remix, nor is it a rehash of old ideas. I’m introducing something new to you: the idea of the Singularity as a culture jam (have you ever heard that specific interpretation before? Doubt it.), a decentralized social revolution facilitated by technology that will happen in our lifetimes.

              It will not be a measured change that affects only a small group transhumans sitting around in a conference room chewing the fat with Proteus. It will be a comprehensive revolution in human civilization that every group and faction will seize upon by necessity.

              The possibilities are endless, so our conversation regarding it should certainly not be limited.

              Over The Moon

              • The idea of the Singularity as a culture jam is not a new idea. See R.U. Sirius and Douglas Rushkoff.

                • Just because someone else has written on a topic doesn’t mean others can’t explore the issue as well. That would make for a pretty monochromatic society. Everything under the sun has been done, but at different times of day the sunlight looks different.

                  • If you can’t do it as intelligently as they did, then you really aren’t bringing anything new to the conversation, are you? After all, the Singularity is about intelligence, about ramping up evolution to warp speed via memetics and technology. Speaking intelligently about that process is expected by the digerati if you want to be taken seriously in what you have to say about it. Otherwise you just sound like a clueless old senator talking about the internet as a series of tubes.

                    • There are plenty of missives and tomes by the digerati. The social impact of futurist technologies is what I’m interested in–how average people will be able to leverage these advances in order to become powerful citizens.

                      I don’t think the only way to add to the conversation is to unveil a new study about carbon nanotubes or using big tech words. While clearly the applications of technology are critically important, so too are their meanings and access points.

                      The Singularity *will* still be a culture jam, among other things.
                      Over The Moon

              • I happen to agree with Rachel that “culture jam” is a really bad way to think about the Singularity…

                Any Singularity worth its femto-tech-engineered salt is gonna bring us way beyond “culture” as now understood…

                So, if I wanted to be snarky, I would classify your article as a thoughtful, well-written representation of a wimpy, inadequate, and unoriginal, vision of the Singularity.

                Nevertheless I found it a reasonably good read 😉

          • So when will political designations disappear? I’m curious, genuinely fascinated by how a political system as powerful as capitalism would be phased out by the Singularity. And when? After nanotechnology but before strong AI? Or the other way around?

            • Though clearly my use of words like ‘splicing’ and ‘rearranging’ are euphemisms (since there’s no way we could possible hazard verbs for what will be occurring in the strange near future) is it not true that much of biotechnology, specifically gene therapy and cell transdifferentiation, is an attempt to ‘splice’ genetic material. And when nanotechnology comes about in a pronounced way, will we not be ‘rearranging ‘ matter at the molecular level?

              I think my descriptions, though benefiting from a bit of creative liberty, are fine.

              Over The Moon

            • If there is a Singularity as described by Vinge, it will involve massively transhuman minds with massively superhuman intelligence coming into existence and playing a major role in the world…. The notion that these beings would maintain current human political systems seems … peculiar…. And any “capitalistic” system that communities of humans maintained among themselves, in such a scenario, would likely be very different than what we have today — because, context means a lot.

              So IMO capitalism is gonna go away when we have massively superhuman AGI systems.

  11. Hey Rachel,

    It’s Jake, the author of the article you hated so much. By the length of the comment thread generated by your post I can see you’ve really touched upon the nerve of your readers. Permit me a chance to respond to your heated criticism.

    You quote me as writing: “By creating an entirely new lexicon of ideas, memes, and modalities, the Singularity will be the ultimate culture jam, or, as the 60s Situationists group may have called it, an epic détournement.”

    You then follow up by saying that maybe transhumanism ought to be left out of discussions of culture jamming. In other words, you’re saying is that considerations of social critique have no place in the transhumanist canon? Maybe it’s just me, but that’s an odd belief for a “cultural critic” to have.

    You then castigate my use of the word Occupy, saying that it is “like so last week. (weak?)”

    I see what you did there, you played around with language in a way that suggested indirectly that the Occupy movement was weak. Bill O’Reilly’s staff writers would be proud.

    Staying true to your intent of keeping the Singularity in the ivory tower, your response post then steers into a comparative analysis of Marshall McLuhan and the Nine Inch Nails, which seemed to ultimately trundle towards the point of saying social critique is varied and worthwhile, which was sweet of you to say.

    You then make a very interesting claim, which I think should assessed. You say:

    “What happens when the Singularity is packaged for the masses? Our species stops evolving. We no longer want to upload our minds and the argument of clones being inferior rings true for the entire (trans)human race.”

    It is beyond me why you would suggest that the masses understanding the concept of the Singularity would cause our species to stop evolving. But I guess maybe you’re on to something: if Plumber Joe says the word “nanotechnology” three times while looking in the mirror it is certainly possible that all the clone babies will die in their synthetic wombs.

    You then rail off a litany of extremely odd claims. They are as follows:

    *I am a “social media coach” and “should not have the right to blog.”

    *I am part of the “Church of the SubGenius,” and my legion of dangerous stupid followers are growing and becoming stupider by the day.

    *I am creating something called “futurepop” (incidentally, this is what I am going to name my first child).

    *Accessibility to futurist concepts is toxic.

    Look I understand that you’re the editor of an esteemed transhumanist publication and I am a snaggle-toothed social media coach, but I hope you can see that I am actually similar to you in being wary of mainstream entertainers trying to wax poetic with complex subjects (Jason Silva comes to mind). I guess I try to approach it in a way that doesn’t make me sound like the Michele Bachmann of Transhumanists.

    You’re not the only transhumanist who hates my writing. Star-child Michael Anissimov of the Singularity Institute also thinks I have a poor understanding of the Singularity. You two are probably correct–my understanding of a concept that is inherently impossible to understand IS less than yours. You know way more about the complete unknown than I do. The stupid masses and I really should just go back to eating Taco Bell Doritos tacos (have you tried one of these? they’re really good!) and reading the Hunger Games. For my part I will stop reading Nick Bostrum, Vernor Vinge, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and others and spend my nights watching the Big Bang Theory and flipping through Cracked.

    Because, YOU’RE RIGHT, people who aren’t as smart as you shouldn’t be thinking and writing about the things you think and write about.

    Unfortunately, your post really does underscore and echo one of the primary points of my article, which is that conversations about the Singularity and, more importantly, the impact of technology on human life and especially class warfare need to be expanded out of their esoteric academic base and inserted into mainstream culture.

    Although how conversations about uploading our minds to the Internet became ‘academic’ is a little disconcerting to me.

    Though I don’t particularly feel the need to defend my intellect, your writing has an interesting way of packaging dozens of insults into oddly structured paragraphs, so I feel a bit defensive. You seem to think I know nothing about the technological Singularity and that I am stupid. So I’ll have you know that I actually got a 480 on the Math SATs in high school.

    Thanks for your time,
    Jake Anderson
    Over The Moon

  12. Many great points. There is a line between turning H+ into a pop-culture love-fest and making it accessible and understandable. This is something I try to do in my writings, and I’m really careful not to generalize, overstate, or cheapen H+ ideas.

  13. Looks like Anderson’s concept of Transhumanism is as a marketing demographic with ideas dumbed down to avoid challenging the status quo in any meaningful sense.

    Something to improve corporate cash flow instead of improving the species.

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