Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Futurism is for everyone

The Atlantic has a strange article discussing the diversity dimension of the futurist philosophy and culture:
Or take longevity, for example. The idea that people could, or even should, push to lengthen lifespans as far as possible is popular. The life-extension movement, with Aubrey de Gray as one (very bearded) spokesman, has raised millions of dollars to investigate how to extend the lifespan of humans. But this is arguably only an ideal future if you’re in as a comfortable position as his. “Living forever only works if you’re a rich vampire from an Anne Rice novel, which is to say that you have compound interest,” jokes Ashby. “It really only works if you have significant real-estate investments and fast money and slow money.”
This position is counterproductive. Setting aside the fact that age-related diseases and ageing are equivalent (and equivalently terrible), this sentiment seems to discount the value of life and the cultural changes that can occur over the course of one's life. Is a life one rung below that of a king not worth fighting for? Does it not have value or meaning?

A key focus of modern futurism is a sort of agnostic devotion to progress: given the past failures to predict our technological and cultural evolution, the best we can do is work hard towards enabling a possible future that preserves options. All minority rights crusaders recognize how agonizingly slow change can be, and on this basis they should have a strong interest in preserving humanity's capacity to continue its project - for however long it takes. Doing so requires emphasizing space exploration and the development of advanced technologies. A utopia of social equality exists in the future. The only real question is whether humanity will be annihilated via asteroid or some other mechanism before we reach it.

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