Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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SEX AND THE SINGULARITY

Khannea_suntzu
Meeting Khannea at her office

When Ray Kurzweil began writing about an imminent post-human future when nanotechology and supercomputers would enable us to transcend flesh and mortality, I doubt he ever imagined how his thought would redound on someone who spent most of her time roleplaying a bisexual prostitute in an online world.  But there it is.

Khannea Suntzu contacted me a few months ago.  Her SL sex work as Khannea, a high-priced and highly-desired call girl, has been the subject of several outside media profiles of SL Residents, including one in the 1 Up gamer portal and another, of all places, in the esteemed Le Monde, so I assumed she had something like that in mind for me.  That turned out to be wrong.

"[L]et me get this straight," Khannea told me, "I am not interested in an interview.  I have done that by now, and I have said all there is to say, or what I would want to say. 

"What I do want is not as simple."

And she told me what that was.  And since she happened to be appearing onstage soon after she did, I met her at the club where she danced, and took some screenshots of her, while Rick James' "Superfreak" streamed across the stage.

Khannea_suntzu_ii

"This character is old," she began, "1983 or thereabouts, originally a succubus in some of those adolescent RPG thingies. I was pretty f***-ed up at the time and I developed dozens of MPS-like personalities inside me, that is nothing new to you probably. The fact that 'Khannea' is as real to me as your sexy blonde high school teacher is incidental. I can feel 'Khannea', every moment of my waking life. Sure, Khannea is a slutty side of me, you probably have seen all that and more.

"What does interest me is of an entirely different nature," she continued.  "The fact is, I have a bit obsessed with the idea of a singularity. You may have heard of it. Not everybody believes such a thing may actually happen, but after having read Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near, I am deeply concerned.  In his last two books he talks about this whole singularity business and sketches a prospect that it'll be actually possible that in the next 10-20 years some part of what we are could be captured in some form of artificial medium. Maybe 'we' could be imprinted in a new substrate, effectively copying or transplanting 'us' into a new state of existence.

Khannea_suntzu_iii

"What concerns me is twofold," she said. "In the real world, I am not a competitive, highly succesful career person. I make do, make ends meet and count myself lucky I live in the Dutch welfare paradise, with a nice looking mate, two dogs and five cats, in a nice home in a safe and decent neighbourhood. In any other country I might be living in a cardboard box, eating canned tomato. I have a significant disability and my career possibilities are very small... [but] I have rent control, medical bonuses, wellfare, and then some.... Not everyone in the US can empathize with such a position, but that's just how it is.

"Basically:  I am stuck. Can't go forward, can't go back, and even if I find a job I would qualify for next month they'd fire me if I reported myself sick for 10 days in a row.

"However, in the next 10-20 years there's gonna be a whole lot of things happening. Starting with better VR and robotics, in the 2020s we'll have computers that can think, hard AI, nanotechology, genetic therapies and maybe the first affordable life extension therapies. Most people around, maybe even you, have no clue what is gonna happen. By 2020 nearly all low-education jobs in the modern industrial societies can and will be replaced or streamlined by automated systems. You'll see unemployment numbers in Europe, US and Japan ranging in the 20-30%. By 2025 production costs of all objects you can buy in the stores will be dropping fast because of nanofactory replication. That will create even more unemployment. By 2030 we'll have actual mind-machine interfaces of some sort. What happens after that, I can't even begin to speculate. It could all very well lead up to a real singularity, with some kind Artificial Intelligence (whether or not it IS self-aware) improving itself in spectacular increments. By 2050 we may have a world completely alien to the world we live in right now. I don't know for sure but I expect spectacular things.

Khannea_suntzu_iv

"These ideas of mine effectively make me a bit of an obsessive," she allowed, "though hopefully not Cassandra. I can go and circlejerk endlessly in the transhuman scene, but I've had enough of that. My primary interest is starting to instill some sort of public awareness, preferably inside SL.

"This is the place to be, maybe an embryonic, historically significant first move towards real VR. You probably heard the cliche's all over. But it can be true. People here are above average in intelligence. What I want is spread the meme, make people consider the very idea that SL, or maybe the son of SL, will be something bigger than commercial airtravel is right now. That in fact SL may be a business where hundreds of millions will be spending time in maybe one or two decades, just as the Internet is right now. You and I may actually be there, just maybe, maybe, to experience stuff we don't even have proper words for. That is why I want to sprinkle my memes around in Second Life. If in 10-20 years time someone does a search on the history of all this, I want my name in the footnotes.

"I'll be in my 60s in 2030. I have a fair chance of being alive by then, if the world doesnt suffer thermonuclear meltdown before then. If technology indeed does the unprecedented jumping through hoops I think it can, I want in on all that. And my guess is the best way to achieve that is to leave a mark, influence people, create awareness, foment discussion and maybe even political activism. I don't want my already small chances to experience all this to be halved into the single percent digits. I am convinced that what I do and say, right now, can increase the chances, with whatever modest resources I have, of me seeing some spectacular sights in the next decades - or maybe the next centuries.

"And yes," she concluded, referring to the brunette avatar in fetish wear, "Khannea fits a central role in that.  In fact, it is my sincere ambition to be her. I think that I have a fair shot of experiencing her, being her, to the best of my ability, before 2040. Maybe even well beyond 2100."

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Aliasi Stonebender

I don't know if this strikes me as much of a news story, per se, although it's certainly an idea that's rattled around in my head.

As said elsewhere, the thing about VR is your avatar is, in some respects, the Awesome You: the you with some of the rough spots rubbed away, or at least aesthetically re-arranged.

To be honest, I wouldn't want to disappear up my own figurative rectum in a wholly VR wonderland... but I wouldn't mind visiting more fully. Or a force-cloning and mind-transfer into another, custom-made body. (Not out of sheer vanity... I've gotten the raw end of the genetic stick on some things, such as a family tendency towards Alzheimer's.)

But the ideas are interesting, even if this particular presentation is... meh. Sorry. Khannea, there's not much NEW here, but it ain't your fault.

Jerry/SNOOPY

> When Ray Kurzweil began writing about an imminent post-human future when nanotechology and supercomputers would enable us to transcend flesh and mortality, I doubt he ever imagined how his thought would redound on someone who spent most of her time roleplaying a bisexual prostitute in an online world. But there it is.

Oh man, no, Kurzweil's a superfreak :p. Check out his Ramona female alter-ego. And here he is (podcast) starting in on virtual sex right off the bat with Moira Gunn at Accelerating Change last year. In singularity parlance, there's the possibility of a hard take-off, a soft take-off, and a dirty dirty take-off. j/k

Shockwave Plasma

I did AI/Robotics at Uni, and we would talk about this sort of thing. Mostly we decided the people doing the talking and writing books, aren't actually in the AI business.

It's hard, real hard, to make the digital interface with the analoge, and make something useful happen. I played with tiny soccer playing robots, it takes a lot to do very little. Neural Nets are not totally predictable, and are full of chaos, but for general approximation they work.

Sir Roger Penrose belives the brain/mind works on the quantum level, and thats how real cognitative intelligence works.

Quantum computing is still at the pre-transistor stage, and it's likley to be a better neural net, still full of unprdicable chaos, but still it won't be alive or really thinking. But if nano-tech takes off, both these together could do amazing things.

I'm not worried about a Matrix future, or one full of Terminators. I'm more worried about a future where it's 10 degrees C hotter, and the sea level is 15m higher.

In the 1950s they thought we would be flying around in jetpacks and skycars by 2006. I'm still waiting.

Icon

Futurists are full of shit sometimes. It's far too easy to speculate on what could be based on we have now. It's also easy to convince people of your predictions should you have a clever imagination. It's all made up in the end though, and the large portion ends up in the pop-culture-rehash bin to be dug up 20 years from now by some futuristic neanderthal, just so he can show his friends and joke, "they said we'd be replicating ourselves by now... I'm still waiting."

Fact is we're not that special. We think that since we've gone from steam boats and horse-drawn carriages to email and virtual-worlds that we're quickly becoming mythical gods or something. However, we've always been adaptable and capable of growth in leaps and bounds. The founding of civilization in the Tigris/Euphrates area saw leaps and bounds in technology, as did the founding of Sparta and eventually the rise of Rome (huge leap in technology there). At the same time, the middle east and the orient were also having these bursts of creativity and energy.

Europe and the middle east were set back by the Dark Ages and various religious wars, as the far east was eventually eroded by constant war. But those were only set-backs which made the Renaissance seem like the second-coming. Large portions of civilization had to re-learn lost knowledge and fight for science over religion -- but we did it.

Slowly.

Though at every stage there was always a sense of grandeur added to the human condition by "futurists." Whispering in our ear, we always thought that our progress has been unparalleled. The world expos of the 20's? The future theme-parks of the 50s and 60s? I'm sure there were like-events that pre-date the 20th century. At each step we're always looking ahead, thinking about how amazing we must be for coming to where we are.

It is quite amazing really... the Internet is quite an achievement. Modern computers are really something else. So were newspapers when they first came out I'm sure. And cars and everything else. The thing is that the whispers in our ear are just telling us how great we are now -- the predictions they hold though have no idea of what lay ahead.

In reality, there is always a lot of potential. We may be heading into another renaissance or another lull; we may have already passed a peak. However, if there is one thing history shows us is that we're actually fairly slow to adapt significant changes.

As individuals we have the daring to think big and dream big. As a collective society, we're a lumbering and slow giant. We take in what is most practical and useful in the immediate 5 - 10 year term and over a period of successions, the ideas and inventions with the most enduring practical usefulness generally stick around until something better comes along to replace it. There's no set term for this process as it's very chaotic and sometimes entirely dependent on chance.

Will we see this visionary utopia within our lifetimes? I doubt it. It's safer to bet that life will continue on as it does. We just can't tell what's going to be practical or achievable that far out into the future. So maybe in 20 or 30 years we'll be making the same jokes our folks are today about jetpacks and flying cars. And I'll wager that we'll have the same excited whisper urging us forward.

Joe Conrad

I empathise with her position, it's a fineline that separates the haves from the have nots.

However, I agree with "Mostly we decided the people doing the talking and writing books, aren't actually in the AI business."

It's sooooo easy to blah blah blah about what the worlds going to be like when are all jacked in, jacking off...especially if you don't have to develop it. I certainly hope we do more with the technology than that...the vision of a planet of wired in wanking monkies as penultimate achievement of human development is a little sad imo. [not that I'm a prude, but there is more to life than sex and violence]

Transhumanists/Extropians seem to be completely clueless of what it is to be human and how the mind/body/spirit continuum actually works and how we can use it for individual and societal development. Making a cursor move on screen by brainwaves or neuromuscular controlled cockpits [such as already currently under development by the US air force - we don't have to wait for 2030], huge advances as they are/will be, are still light years from the hollywood fantasy of downloading our mind into the "matrix" [yawn]...which seems to be one of the prime fantasies of aforementioned transExtropians.

Sure, unemployment will rise as automation gets smarter and more pervasive...DUH. Current rapacious Korporate "profit at all costs" makes this a no brainer. Other big issues, as mentioned above, are global warming, birdflu pandemics, NOT terrorism [sadly, just a political fear card played by cynical politicians - the number of deaths compared to the previous 2 issues are microdots by comparison], and the real biggie imo ... a business paradigm that evolves beyond treating people as expendable commodities and the moronic mantra of "business is all about making money" - that attitude, with no regard to consequences of decisions made, is what has caused Global Warming in the first place....and the whole planet is paying the price.

Technological development, ultimately, is supposed to be about enhancing human capabilities for the betterment of society and development of the human race.

Joe Conrad

oh, yeah, and all the breathless talk about singularity? Double yawn. Not new...well studied...many theories and well known models of technological paradigm shifts exist. The most obvious one is the S-Curve of the humble product life cycle, which also seems to be fractal in nature and scales up and down from component to society paradigm shifts.

Lucifer Darrow

If you're interested in learning more about the singularity join the World Transhumanist Association chapter recently started by OneUp Thiebaud in SL.

khannea suntzu

Hahahaha

Remember I now assume my chances taking part in *something wonderful* I estimate in the single digits. If I get a better exposure they *might* achieve double digits. So basicly I assume there is about 90% shit will happen. Is that a fair estimate?

Joe Conrad

triple yawn...try solving poverty first before worrying about how rich white people can play inside the matrix. You know somewhere on earth a child dies every 5 seconds from hunger?

Having the word humanist in your "association" title is a joke.

Hamlet Au

Dude, ease up, you can make your points without being personally vindictive.

Joe Conrad

>>Dude, ease up, you can make your points without being personally vindictive.

I honestly can't believe you wrote that.

a. It was not personal...it was directed at their organisational Tag

b.
hu·man·ism (hyū'mə-nĭz'əm) pronunciation
n.

1. A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.
2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans: “the newest flower on the vine of corporate humanism” (Savvy).
3. Medicine. The concept that concern for human interests, values, and dignity is of the utmost importance to the care of the sick.
4. The study of the humanities; learning in the liberal arts.
5. Humanism A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.

Joe Conrad

and yes I know the TransHumanist speil:
"We support the development of and access to new technologies that enable everyone to enjoy better minds, better bodies and better lives. In other words, we want people to be better than well."
(sic)

Problem is you talk to one for 5 minutes and sure enough it's usually "I can't wait till I can download myself" track.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Michael Anissimov

My semi-critical commentary on this whole thing is here:

http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/michael/blog/?p=187

I don't mean to offend anyone, but SL residents should certainly read beyond Kurzweil if they're interested in getting a real handle on the relevant issues.

Joe Conrad

and my semi-critical response is on your blog;-)

khannea suntzu

Labelling me a transhumanist, singularitarian or extropian stops short of reality. My mistress insists on cum guzzling slut and thats a wholly different dimension.

The reality of things are many-imensional. Sure, you can discard the idea of transhumanism as the spasms of a geek elite which wants to slam the door of reality hard shut behind their ass on the way out. Sure, I have those sentiments too. I sure as hell cant be bothered with reactionary islamists somewhere in a place in the middle east where they still shit in holes in the ground.

If I would be able to upload myself and say "to hell with it", i'd be sorely tempted.

BUT that is just one side of it. In the real world I take care of children in my neighbourhood, am active with immigrant women who have been sexually abused, organise socialist and wellfare activities and some other stuff. I myself am the poorest person in one of the richest countries in the world, the netherlands. Each week we receive some allowance, my girl and I, about 50 euro per week, for food. That's it. Sure, that money can save 10 children's lives, but hey, I gotta eat right? And in the netherlands, 50 euro's doesnt buy me much. And the rest of the time I struggle with a manic-depressive disorder, narcolepsy, *extreme* migraines, nausea, and several other problems. You still wonder why I would slam the door from this existential reality and leave if I had the chance? Life can suck, even in wellfare paradise.

But "transhumanism", for lack of a better term isn't just that simple duality. It is increasing the options we, as a species, have. It isnt just new brain-grafted PDA's or ipods or hovercars, it's being able to produce lettuce at half the current energy/water requirement. It is being able to harvest platinum from the moon to use as catalyst in personal hydrogendriven vehicles. It is implanting cheap selfreplicating nanoids in people in houston helping them lose excess obesity and installing other nanoids in starving children in the sudan to synthesize vitamins to keep em alive.

I dont know about the timescales but I am sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that some really weird things *will* happen in the next 25-50 years. Things that will *shatter* all preconceptions, every sense of status quo and all things we hold dear. We won't make utopia, but the question is - can we let things go on as they do now?

I say we cant. If we try and keep things "merely" the same... billions of people will die of unnatural causes before 2050. We cannot afford NO progress anymore. The more progress, the more hope billions of people will live some kind of sensible, meaningful life.

I dont know if you can call this transhuman or singularity. But I sure hope I am right and something will happen. We're all DEAD if nothing does. From natural OR unnatural causes.

Joe Conrad

>>I dont know if you can call this transhuman or singularity.

How about neither?

The "change" you advocate is already happening and has nothing to do with uberGeek buzzword fantasies such as the transhumanists (sic).

It will come from societal change being affected at a more grass roots level on a daily basis in the REAL WORLD through already existing movements such as http://www.lohas.com/ and http://www.natcap.org/

Simple concepts, but paradigm shifts in the landscape of human society are already happening - things such as changing the way people think about the nature of the relationship between business and society, people considering what they buy and how it effects their own health and their surroundings etc etc etc. I much prefer the post-humans who will evolve from this model than the dry technological superiority of the eugenic transhuman approach. These things take time to implement and are not as sexy as the singularity concept but will have a more profound and far reaching effect - in addition to being something tangible that can be done now on a daily basis by everyone.


re: your other post about
"(a) complete xenophobia denial, mixed with accusation that transhumanists are selfidge white people who deny dying children in africa their fair share or …"

I said "on earth". It's common to trot out the old "dying children in Africa" as a putdown [sure, one cannot do everything], the reality is hunger and poverty are global - you yourself appear to be a rl victim of it. It was not meant to induce guilt so as to make you run down to the local WorldVision and pay your $10 to liberate yourself...it was a statement of fact about focusing on more relevant issues then ubergeek fantasies.

"It is implanting cheap selfreplicating nanoids in people in houston helping them lose excess obesity and installing other nanoids in starving children in the sudan to synthesize vitamins to keep em alive."

I'll be brutal here. Lazy fat bastards [excluding people with genuine physiological conditions] should educate themselves about the benefits of diet and exercise instead of swallowing fat eating nanoids...they might be better off all round if they understood the connection bewteen healthy body and healthy mind. I can't wait to see them on the SLShoppingChannel next to the latest version of http://www.toneamatic.com/ .

And if we ever develop working nanoids of sophisticated enough functionality to give to "starving children in the sudan to synthesize vitamins to keep em alive" .. and we do...then I'd say that's a fair indication that the human race deserves to be replaced by the rats. I'll grant you could say they could be the modern equivlant of vitamin supplements already given, but you could also say why the fuck are there still starving kids in the sudan in the first place if we can develop technology like that? Where's the hydroponics farms? The desalination plants? The jobs?

>>cum guzzling slut
particle stream guzzling slut doesn't sound as sexy does it;-(

I wish you luck in your own situation. SL is truly a second life in lots of different ways, and it can only get better for all of us. [well, once they get that QA dept up to scratch, eh, phil...nudge nudge]

Dildo Baggins

">>cum guzzling slut
particle stream guzzling slut doesn't sound as sexy does it;-("

Hey, what about if the TransHumanists hooked up with the TeleDildonics industry, roped in the local sperm banks as supply chain management for using the offcuts...talk about mixed reality!

Then you would be TeH original virtual cgs!

Lazy Fat Lurker Bastard

"I'll be brutal here. Lazy fat bastards [excluding people with genuine physiological conditions] should educate themselves about the benefits of diet and exercise instead of swallowing fat eating nanoids...they might be better off all round if they understood the connection bewteen healthy body and healthy mind."

Excuse me, but why?

Average weight people don't understand the connection between "a healthy body and a healthy mind" either, they just don't have weight problems.

Obesity is a galloping disease, the costs of which are incalculable. It's due to social conditions the human organism isn't adapted for (affluence of high calory nutrition that we are hardwired to prefer, combined with a "natural environment" of increasing physical inactivity).

But you rather go with a cure that has a 97% failure rate, than effective remedies like surgery, or for that matter "fat eating nanoids" with close to a 100% success rate, because you think it's more "moral" or something?

Do you realise the futility of your proposition?

I think the blog entrance with Khannea was a good read and well written, and I much sympathize with her notions. It's not that I'm dead certain "singularity" will happen in 20-30 years (whatever it's supposed to mean, exactly), but I don't understand the vocal reactions either. She's got the right attitude.

And as for us being "rats" because of societal disorder in Sudan, or the state of black Africa, it's hardly our fault. Give them a hydroponics farm or a desalination plant, and they'll only blow it up and build a mosque on the ruins, and the children will continue to starve. Now, if that's ever going to change, it's our responsibility to empower the über nerds in our part of the world and never let those mosques get built over here, because then we'll all end up in a world of shit. With the ecological challenges ahead, the end of work, solar system expansion beckoning etc, we can't afford to plunge into another dark age.

On the whole, we need the technological advances that are implicit in Khannea’s visions and dreams. As our environment changes, we must change too.

Dildo Baggins

heh. nice troll Rush!
[at least you tagged yourself correctly]

"it's hardly our fault"

Better take some more OxyContin dude;-)
http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blpic-limbaughdrugad.htm

joe Conrad

"Obesity is a galloping disease, the costs of which are incalculable. It's due to social conditions the human organism isn't adapted for (affluence of high calory nutrition that we are hardwired to prefer, combined with a "natural environment" of increasing physical inactivity). ... "fat eating nanoids" with close to a 100% success rate, because you think it's more "moral" or something?"

a. I can't wait to see what happens when to all the LFB's when they install Micro$ofts MolecularXP 3.1

b. You just answered your own question. Change the dietry products are more in tune with the human bodies actual requirements and introduce new workplace practices that reduce the sedentry lifestyle that is producing a planet full of LFB's. It has got nothing to do with morals, more like common sense that humans are not meant to be matrix like energy cells sucking on soylant green from big pharma... a rather perceptive piece of social commentry from the wachowski brothers on the modern human condition.

Markus Breuer

"... more like common sense that humans are not meant to be matrix like energy cells sucking on soylant green from big pharma"

You know as much about what humans "are meant to be" as I know, or Khannea or the guy on the stool next to mine, Joe. :) What you are offering here - in sometimes rather rude and offensive form - is your opinion; to which you are entitled of course.

Just, please don't try to sell your opinion as fact, knowledge, common sense (OMG) or "the truth". And try to present it a bit more politely. Contrary to many loudmouth's opinion, insulting your opponent is rarely effective in persuading him or bystanders of your opinion.

joe Conrad


"You know as much about what humans "are meant to be" as I know, or Khannea or the guy on the stool next to mine"

Granted, but if you like I guess I could point you to reams of science to back it up...but, mmmm, actually, taking you argument on that level to logical extension ->

"Just, please don't try to sell your opinion as fact, knowledge, common sense (OMG) or "the truth"."

I could apply that to any form of knowledge under the sun to denigrate anything anyone says as mere "opinion"

Historical record will back me up on that one.

eg: Classic topical case study:
Climate change science debates over the last 20 years fought out in both media and science/academia, the changing nature of acceptance of validity of said "science", and the vested interests of corporates fighting it to defend their profit streams with their own experts [opinions, as it seems to have turned out]?

Let's go even wider - the whole field of scientific theory development, the grant process and funding, and the scientific reputation game?
Lauded theory one day by celebrated scientist and collegues...mmmmm, misinformed opinion down the track as it turns out. We are not talking isolated case studies here. While much of the scientific method works [eventually], god knows how much good and useful knowledge throughout history has died at the hands of people defending positions out of ego and power as opposed to committment to the higher values of pursuit of truth. Human nature.

I could keep rolling them out I guess...physical exercise routines and what works best, vitamin suppliments, the benefits of a pack of smokes a day [experts agree!], drinking is good for you/drinking is bad for you.

"And try to present it a bit more politely."

I could very easily but felt like taking a leaf out of certain american media experts/pundits "in your face" playbook of "shout loudest" and see how it worked. It does for them, and they are recognised offically sanctioned experts no less!
ie: fox news, rush limbaugh, etc etc

Some people class their work as opinion....a lot seem to accept it as truth. Who's right?

What is truth?
How do we judge anything?

We are now drowning in a sea of blogPionions [not a bad thing per se] and now we evalute it by a star rating through the wisdom of the crowd [not sure about this one yet - is the crowd always right?].

joe Conrad

I thought I'd respond to this point separatly.

"common sense (OMG) "

A rather snide comment [OMG (sic)] denigrating a mental concept that seems to have been swamped in todays society with the constant barrage of media messages designed as human programming command and control marketing messages instead of stimulating independant thought.

A bit too folky for you was it?
Something your parents said to you once, so it's a crap concept?

Lets define it first, then:

common sense
n.

Sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment.

[Translation of Latin sēnsus commūnis, common feelings of humanity.]

re: obesity [non genetic], sedentry lifestyles, diet diet, lazy fat bustards etc etc

Common sense says the human body is designed to move. Quite a lot actually. Physical fitness also impacts directly on the quality of the minds thought processes. We squirt all sorts of interesting chemicals out inside our body under different emotional states that are directly related to the effiency and healthiness of the producing organs/glands - these are fundamentally related to how our body processes inormation and regulates our body functions.

We could also do the current western science approach here but that is out by definition [no specialised knowledge]. or we could look at eastern internal/external martial arts practices form the last 3000 years, but I guess that's out too. Still, to me it's just pure COMMON SENSE.

Furthermore, there are two very simple principles to a healthy body/healthy mind - exercise and diet. Pretty simple principles, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that. Not my opinion. Fact. Simple.

I'm pretty certain this is not just my opinion, but you can research this one for yourself.

It's also a fact that humans are inherently lazy...I know I am and everybody I've ever talked to in my life so far has a certain degree of it, especially when it comes to exercise. And, yum, don't those processed fat laden foods taste super yummy? mmm...I know they do for me...but a littled education goes a long way to understanding a little more about the real dietry needs of the human body needed to fuel exercise, not just pander to the taste buds that those whacky food scientists figured out will sell loads of product.

If you would like me to take you seriously, instead of just masquerading as a blogging Mr Manners, then I politely suggest you follow your own advice as a starter to gaining a credibility foothold;-).


dknighton

Linden Labs can't even push an update without causing their own version of a "thermonuclear meltdown". Someone will eventually take the next steps toward truly immersive VR, but it won't be Linden Labs.

joe Conrad

heh..how true. I agree with your opinion!;-)

See as PolitenessMan raised the opinion issue, this is a very interesting article just out on gamasutra:

Modeling Opinion Flow in Humans Using Boids Algorithm & Social Network Analysis
http://gamasutra.com/features/20060928/cole_01.shtml

Giulio Prisco

Trying to answer to "try solving poverty first before worrying about how rich white people can play inside the matrix. You know somewhere on earth a child dies every 5 seconds from hunger? Having the word humanist in your "association" title is a joke".

I know, and do not like it more than you do. In other contexts (not all transhumanists spend *all* their time thinking about the singularity), I may even be trying to do something about it.

Ultimately, the new technical capabilities and social structures that transhumanists advocate may facilitate solutions to the poverty and hunger problem, much more than easy references to "the problem" without any proposal for solutions.

Please see my short ans simple definition below for a clear link between humanism and transhumanism.

My own definition of transhumanism:
- The basic tenet of classical Humanist thinking is that concrete human beings are more important than abstract, "artificial" ethical constructs.
- Extrapolating current scientific and technological trends, we can see that our species may soon develop the capability to control its own evolution, including modifying itself in fundamental ways. Such modification may range from life extension and cognitive enhancement (mid term), to becoming non-mortal radically enhanced software beings living in a Metaverse (long term).
- Transhumanists will welcome such changes as long as they result in a better life for everyone.

However, come see for yourself. There is an open and free "World Transhumanist Association" group in SL. Most group members and sympathizers congregate on uvvy island (uvvy on map).

joe Conrad

"Ultimately, the new technical capabilities and social structures that transhumanists advocate may facilitate solutions to the poverty and hunger problem, much more than easy references to "the problem" without any proposal for solutions"

I guess you forgot to read those "passing" references to changing business culture and the nature of society. Solutions, not proposals, that are being incrementally implemented on a daily basis by all sorts of people who have decided to make a differene NOW..doing real things for real people in real time. What's your proposal(s)?

Let's have a look->

"....to becoming non-mortal radically enhanced software beings living in a Metaverse (long term)...Transhumanists will welcome such changes as long as they result in a better life for everyone."

Yawn. You would not be a Multi Level Marketer by any chance would you? You sure sound like one;-)

Look I read, gibson, harrison, sterling, banks etc etc ... love them, some of my favourite novels. But can you people stop with the software fantasy already. Or ... maybe we can just digitise all the poor people and put them on nice waterfront land on a server somewhere to goldfarm for us rich meaties! That would clean the place up!

And before you take me for a total luddite I do work in areas overlapping the transhumanist agenda and the metaverse...I just don't buy into your dissmisive elitist fantasies as to how these technologies can best be applied.

Brenda Archer

Isn't the definition of madness doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results each time?

I think we'd see fewer fat people here in Houston, if people weren't afraid that by going out for a walk they were setting themselves up to be attacked by everything from purse snatchers to the kind of men who think all women out walking are prostitutes.

I lock myself in my apartment and then in my car not out of laziness, but to try to lower the risk of being a crime victim.

Houston was much safer before it became flooded by refugees after Katrina, a few of which have turned out to be hardcore criminals. I could and did walk around quite a lot back then. However, there was still always the possibility of being mistaken for a streetwalker and assaulted because nice women aren't supposed to be out walking in those streets.

So, poor people in a rough neighborhood have more to worry about than getting exercise.

Maybe the real solution to obesity will come with structural change in society, and not victim blaming. Neighborhoods safe to walk in and a food supply that does not make fresh grown vegetables more expensive than candy would certainly be a start.

Of course only lefty commies talk that way....

The corporations answer to no one, and the poor are blamed for their fate.

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