Underlinings (#50)

On the evanescence of Cyberpunk prophecy:

One notable departure from previous blockbuster dystopias like Logan’s Run (1976) was the fact that this [Blade Runner] future had a very visible past and had not been built from scratch. Existing buildings of Los Angeles were incorporated; the police headquarters is Union Station, the eerie stairwell courtyard is inside the Bradbury Building, Deckard’s apartment is in Frank Lloyd Wright’s neo-Mayan Ennis Brown House. It was all contained in a city that Ridley Scott revealed was indebted to contemporary Hong Kong. The colossal, recurring geisha girl on the electronic billboard is significant not for what she is advertising (the pill, as it happens) or even the echo of the decadent “Floating World” of Tokyo legend but for the implication that the future is both otherworldly and compromised. We can speculate on whether an orientalized U.S. West Coast represents the subconscious fear of the end of American exceptionalism, latent memories of having once been a colony, or fears that the Greater Japanese Empire was not entirely buried in 1945. In fact, the dread of being usurped by the Eastern nations was well-placed — a prescient indication that the world’s axis was shifting from mid-Atlantic to mid-Pacific. Asia was the future, and this is what it would look like. For a while, perhaps even still, it held true. The question is: which Asia? South Korean Smart City futurism? Colossal Chinese ghost cities? Drowning the sorrows of a 20-year deflationary recession in Tokyo’s Shinjuku? …

Anthropol Manifesto

The first draft (focusing on public relations), is in:

In this age torn apart by ethnic and religious conflicts, it may very well be that these ‘killer robots’ might teach us the value of unity, the ridiculousness of the politics of difference, and what it is to be human. For once in history, we will be united under one identity against one common enemy – a non-human, who falls beyond the fallible concepts of feelings and morals. AI might actually provide us the redemption that we need from ourselves.

Losses will be great, but we have already lost so much at each other’s hands. Our victory, however, will be in our united, permanent struggle under the banner of a genuine, universal humanity.

Underlinings (#6)

Nick Bostrom is far too good-natured to be trying, deliberately, to create conniptions among bio-ethicists, but still (p.38) …

… stem cell-derived gametes would allow multiple generations of selection to be compressed into less thasn a huamn maturation period, by enabling iterated embryo selection. This is a process that would consist of the following steps:
1. Genotype and select a number of embryos that are higher in desired genetic characteristics.
2. Extract stem cells from those embryos and convert them to sperm and ova, maturing within six months or less.
3. Cross the new sperm and ova to produce embryos.
4. Repeat until large genetic changes have been accumulated.
In this manner, it would be possible to accomplish ten or more generations of selection in just a few years. …