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Zero-Sum Superheroes Can Transhumanism Overcome 25 Centuries of Bad PR? Richard (RJ) Eskow.

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Presentation on theme: "Zero-Sum Superheroes Can Transhumanism Overcome 25 Centuries of Bad PR? Richard (RJ) Eskow."— Presentation transcript:

1 Zero-Sum Superheroes Can Transhumanism Overcome 25 Centuries of Bad PR? Richard (RJ) Eskow

2 Allow me to present my credentials …

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4 Disclaimer: This Presentation Will be a high-speed data burst Will be a high-speed data burst Will use terms imprecisely, of necessity Will use terms imprecisely, of necessity Is meant as food for thought & discussion Is meant as food for thought & discussion Will address the roots of Transhumanism’s PR problem Will address the roots of Transhumanism’s PR problem Will propose some semi-serious solutions Will propose some semi-serious solutions We’ll be “admen (or Mad Men) of the future” We’ll be “admen (or Mad Men) of the future”

5 Proposition Transhumanism (advocacy for radical enhancement) is not a widely held position. Transhumanism (advocacy for radical enhancement) is not a widely held position. Ditto for related ideas, like “the Singularity,” the general idea of humanity merging with technology, etc. Ditto for related ideas, like “the Singularity,” the general idea of humanity merging with technology, etc. There are deeply held, ancient folkways in our culture that create resistance to these ideas There are deeply held, ancient folkways in our culture that create resistance to these ideas A marketing problem – what about a marketing-style solution? A marketing problem – what about a marketing-style solution?

6 There Is A Message.

7 The Message … is everywhere.

8 The Message … is invisible.

9 The Message … is at least 2500 years old.

10 The Message Is …

11 TRANSHUMANISM IS LONELINESS

12 TRANSHUMANISM IS OTHERNESS

13 TRANSHUMANISM IS UGLINESS

14 TRANSHUMANISM IS SACRIFICE

15 TRANSHUMANISM IS FORBIDDEN

16 TRANSHUMANISM IS ADDICTION

17 TRANSHUMANISM IS PAIN

18 TRANSHUMANISM IS DEATH

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20 The Zero-Sum Game Our current limited physical/mental abilities are the Natural Order/God’s Will Our current limited physical/mental abilities are the Natural Order/God’s Will Every time you win more than your share, you lose a proportional amount Every time you win more than your share, you lose a proportional amount You gain much, you lose much You gain much, you lose much “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” - Matthew 16:26 - Matthew 16:26

21 Nemesis

22 M. Treder: A “fear” problem: Transhumans = Supervillians Frankenstein Frankenstein Island of Dr. Moreau Island of Dr. Moreau Terminator and Unfriendly AIs Terminator and Unfriendly AIs Etc. Etc. … Enhanced humans have been promoted as “supervillains.” But, worse yet, they’ve been labeled …

23 Superlosers

24 Icarus

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29 Book of Genesis Believed to have been written between the 10 th and 5 th centuries BCE Believed to have been written between the 10 th and 5 th centuries BCE Believed completed by 5 th Century BCE 1 Believed completed by 5 th Century BCE 1 Time elapsed since “Tower of Babel” story first written: centuries Time elapsed since “Tower of Babel” story first written: centuries 1 Youngblood (ed), Speiser, Roberts, etc.

30 TOWER OF BABEL Knowledge

31 TOWER OF BABEL Community

32 Babel: Book of Genesis And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech … And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech … And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: Sin #1: The name/common identity Sin #2: Unification/Hive Mind Sin #3: Unlimited power The Internet, leading to the Singularity …

33 The Singularity Will Not Be Televised … not be televised

34 Architect’s rendition, proposed housing megacomplex in Tokyo Bay

35 Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 65 “Our Rabbis taught: There shall not be found among … a charmer.15 This applies to one who charms large objects, and to one who charms small ones,16 even snakes and scorpions. Abaye said: Therefore even to imprison wasps or scorpions [by charms], though the intention is to prevent them from doing harm, is forbidden. “ That is, no science but God’s science. Even when used for good – just a little good - it’s evil.

36 Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 65 “ He who enquireth of an ob (shaman) — is that not the same as one that consulteth the dead?18 — … this means one who starves himself and spends the night in a cemetery, so that an unclean spirit [of a demon] may rest upon him [to enable him to foretell the future].” 18 Ungodly Science is the Science of the Dead. It’s forbidden … and scientists do icky things Ungodly Science is the Science of the Dead. It’s forbidden … and scientists do icky things

37 Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 65 R. Hanina and R. Oshaia spent every Sabbath eve in studying the 'Book of Creation', by means of which they created a third-grown calf and ate it. R. Hanina and R. Oshaia spent every Sabbath eve in studying the 'Book of Creation', by means of which they created a third-grown calf and ate it.

38 Golem of Prague

39 Created from clay, with ‘emet’ (life) on his forehead Created from clay, with ‘emet’ (life) on his forehead Became too powerful and went out of control Became too powerful and went out of control Rabbi changed ‘emet’ to ‘met’ (death) and stopped it Rabbi changed ‘emet’ to ‘met’ (death) and stopped it NOTE: The Golem folktale in Eastern Europe arose at the same time as the Frankenstein story (18 th Century)

40 Origin of the Golem Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 65 “ Rabbah created a man,23 and sent him to R. Zera. R. Zera spoke to him, but received no answer. Thereupon he said unto him: 'Thou art a creature of the magicians. Return to thy dust.' “ Rabbah created a man,23 and sent him to R. Zera. R. Zera spoke to him, but received no answer. Thereupon he said unto him: 'Thou art a creature of the magicians. Return to thy dust.'23 Ungodly Creations cannot speak.

41 Transhumanist Death Trip Shelley’s Alastor: “I have made my bed In charnels and on coffins, where black death Keeps record of the trophies won from thee, Hoping to still these obstinate questionings Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost, Thy messenger, to render up the tale Of what we are.” Shelley says: “His mind is at length suddenly awakened and thirsts for intercourse with an intelligence similar to itself.”

42 "he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of Theology, but preferred to be styled doctor of Medicine."Holy Scriptures Theology FAUST

43 The Voice to the right cries: "Faust! Faust! desist from this proposal! Go on with the study of Theology, and you will be the happiest of mortals." The Voice to the left answers: "Faust! Faust! leave the study of Theology. Betake you to Necromancy, and you will be the happiest of mortals!"Necromancy FAUST

44 “Communication with the Dead” – A form of immortality/longevity science NECROMANCY

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46 Individuality and Freedom THE BORG

47 The Borg Queen

48 Question: Do women fare better than men in ancient Transhuman narratives? And why would the Borg need a ‘queen’ if they are a collective (parallel-processed) intelligence?

49 Lovelessness/ Loneliness

50 “2000 Man” Stones song from 1968 (“Satanic Majesties”) Stones song from 1968 (“Satanic Majesties”) “My name is a number, a piece of plastic film” “My name is a number, a piece of plastic film” “Oh, Daddy” – generation gap “Oh, Daddy” – generation gap “My wife doesn’t understand me at all” “My wife doesn’t understand me at all” “I really misuse her” “I really misuse her” “I am having an affair with a random computer”* “I am having an affair with a random computer”* In other words, the same old futureshock alienation. *(Note: Dynamic Random Access Memory was patented in 1968)

51 Exile and Separation

52 The Outer Limits: “Demon With a Glass Hand” See also “Blade Runner” and others in what I call the “Lonely Android” genre

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58 Yet another enhanced dude who will never get to be with his wife again. What is it with these people?

59 QUESTION: Are Transhumans ever lucky in love?

60 Mutilation

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65 Frankenstein’s Monster

66 “His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! – Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid constrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun- white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips”

67 Digression: In Other Words … The Monster lived in the Uncanny Valley.

68 Transhumanism as Uncanny Valley Fear of the near-human is greater than fear of the nonhuman Fear of the near-human is greater than fear of the nonhuman “Transhuman” sounds human-like, but not human “Transhuman” sounds human-like, but not human When we receive cues that a being is human – then discover it is not – we feel frightened and betrayed When we receive cues that a being is human – then discover it is not – we feel frightened and betrayed

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70 2500 Bad Years

71 But there IS a way out …

72 Video Break

73 Male Potency Drugs = Hubris! A violation of the natural order - loss of elderly sexuality could be an evolutionary adaptation A violation of the natural order - loss of elderly sexuality could be an evolutionary adaptation Or “God’s will” Or “God’s will” Viagra and Cialis are “Transhumanist” drugs Viagra and Cialis are “Transhumanist” drugs -- but they didn’t sell them that way. Where’s Nemesis now?

74 The “ED” Marketing Model Non-threatening, familiar Non-threatening, familiar Sexual Sexual Buddies, manly men, neighborhood folks Buddies, manly men, neighborhood folks Not impotent – “guys with ‘ED’” Not impotent – “guys with ‘ED’” Not hubris, or a violation of nature Not hubris, or a violation of nature Medical-sounding terminology: “Erectile Dysfunction” Medical-sounding terminology: “Erectile Dysfunction”

75 “Miss Plastic Hungary”

76 … a contest designed to encourage plastic surgery.

77 Plastic surgeon Dr. Tamas Rozsos said the pageant also meant to show that cosmetic corrections did not necessarily have to be about oversized breasts, bulbous lips and skin stretched to near tearing point. “This about restoring harmony … eliminating asymmetries and giving women the opportunity to have normal features,” Rozsos said. “Plastic surgery has a bad reputation in Hungary but its mostly due to the exaggerations.” Associated Press

78 Contest rules said that Miss Plastic Hungary had to demonstrate “perfect harmony of body and soul.” Discuss. “Harmony”

79 Also, per the Associated Press: “The winners' plastic surgeons also received awards.” What is being celebrated? Winners

80 The Power of Words Positive words: Positive words: “Chrysalis” – what we are now (not recommended: “meat puppets”) “Chrysalis” – what we are now (not recommended: “meat puppets”) What we will be: free, safe, healthy, strong, secure What we will be: free, safe, healthy, strong, secure Is there a better word than “transhuman”? Is there a better word than “transhuman”?

81 Selling “Transhumanism” Nietzsche: “Being human is the art of becoming more fully that which you already are.” Concepts: Concepts: Completion Completion Refinement Refinement Fulfillment Fulfillment Harmony Harmony Justice Justice Freedom Freedom

82 Another Model Botox4theBrain.com

83 If you can’t beat ‘em … Botox4theBrain.com

84 Another Model

85 “Singularity” sounds lonely Could “Multiplicities” be more appropriate? Could “Multiplicities” be more appropriate? Is there a better phrase? Is there a better phrase? Concepts include “inclusiveness” – greater knowledge, greater interconnectedness with all things, etc. Concepts include “inclusiveness” – greater knowledge, greater interconnectedness with all things, etc. Old marketing approach: Use different strategies with different demographic groups Old marketing approach: Use different strategies with different demographic groups

86 Other Issues to Consider Future Love Future Love Future Sex Future Sex Future Patriotism Future Patriotism Future Worship Future Worship Future Family Future Family These are concepts people will be reluctant to abandon.

87 What if we used the “ED” marketing model for … Aging Aging Normal-Range Intelligence Normal-Range Intelligence Inability to Link With Digital Devices Inability to Link With Digital Devices Death Death

88 … gives us something like this: Do you suffer from: Inability to MentallyLink With Digital Devices: “Wireless Inability to Maximize Potential” Inability to MentallyLink With Digital Devices: “Wireless Inability to Maximize Potential” Aging: “Cumulative Reduction of Advanced Potentiality” Aging: “Cumulative Reduction of Advanced Potentiality” Normal-Range Intelligence: “Finite Use of Cognition and Knowledge” Normal-Range Intelligence: “Finite Use of Cognition and Knowledge” Death: “Organ Liquefaction Disorder” Death: “Organ Liquefaction Disorder”

89 Conclusion Transhumanism has a marketing problem Transhumanism has a marketing problem The concept needs a new campaign The concept needs a new campaign Enhancement is not a ‘zero-sum’ game: Something great need not be lost when something great is gained Enhancement is not a ‘zero-sum’ game: Something great need not be lost when something great is gained The key is not to transcend the “human” – but to complete it: “fulfillment of our destiny?” The key is not to transcend the “human” – but to complete it: “fulfillment of our destiny?” Maybe Transhumanism just needs a great TV commercial Maybe Transhumanism just needs a great TV commercial


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