Podcast No. 73 Posted 10/31/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 73 Posted 10/31/2011

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Music  – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.

TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The How of Terasem  6.2 – 6.2.6

SUB TITLE:  Safe Nanotechnology and the Ethics to Achieve It

SUMMARY:  The development of replicator nanotechnology carries with it great risks and dangers, but they cannot be escaped by withdrawal or blindly counting on good luck.  An ethical framework must be erected and firmly guide what will happen; that starts one person at a time, one group at a time, one group of groups at a time, and so on outward until an airtight protective shield exists.


(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 73 on the Truths of Terasem.

(Linda)  This is where we see what we have to do individually to cope with the dangers we may encounter as we go through the Singularity as well as how to make sure our technological future serves us rather than putting us at risk.

(Fred)  That’s right!  Just as with nuclear fission and fusion, just as with biotech and all the benefits and dangers of that also, we confront challenges with replicator nanotechnology, too, but at astronomically higher levels.  Science is literally designing a non-biological form of life that could evolve so rapidly that it might not only destroy our entire biosphere, called a gray goo event, but evolve beyond that into sentient forms like I described in a short story over twenty years ago, titled “Re-Creation”, beings which themselves might possess the full spectrum of replicator nanotech with a different ethical system than what we envision for Terasem.  There is a very real danger to biological humans in that event.

(Linda) So, in that light, even as we build geoethical nanotechnology in the narrowest sense, we must also build it in the broadest sense.  In the words of the Summary for today’s podcast, “An ethical framework must be erected and firmly guide what will happen.  That starts one person at a time, one group at a time, one group of groups at a time, and so on outward until an airtight protective shield exists.”

(Fred) The Truths of Terasem concerning this provide a general framework within which this is conceived to happen.  Next week, we’re going to expand on that.  In the end this will be the dividing line between evolutionary success and extinction, between an endless adventure and a dead-end.

(Linda) The Expansion for today is 6.2: “Embrace nanotechnology that presents no clear and present danger, builds universal joyful immortality, and is auditable.”  In other words, we need to differentiate between the good and the destructive and only embrace that which will support a positive outcome.

(Fred) The final part of 6.2 is the inclusion of the three words, “and is auditable”.  What that means is that what looks good on the surface, or even in depth, can run into unforeseen problems and go sour unless this can be detected easily.

(Linda)  Right, Fred, too often it is found that where environmental pollution dangers were discovered in an industrial development, or failures in qualifying new drugs were anticipated due to unacceptable side effects, those who were in charge swept the bad news under the carpet, and only after some terrible damages had occurred, was this found out.  “And is auditable”, the way I look at it, is intended to say that problems must be so easily detected that the very idea of concealing them would be intolerable.

(Fred) In 6.2.1 we find:  “Danger must be assessed a priori and can be consented to if not palpable.”  Most simply stated, this means we look for danger before we begin, and even if we can’t find it, consent to the potential risks is still required.

(Linda)  This might sound somewhat oblique.  Not really!  If we think something might be a danger and look for it, but do not find tangible evidence, does that mean it does not exist?  No!  It only means that based on the amount of time we devoted and powers of observation we have, we could not find enough evidence to halt our program.  It does not mean consent is no longer required.

(Fred) The fact that we conceived of a danger and gave it enough attention to pursue a quest for it means that a burden of responsibility exists, however slight, and that if it turns out that damages result from insufficient searching, some means of redress should exist.

(Linda)  Looking ahead to a mature Geoethical Nanotechnology, we might suppose that at such a time a means of purchasing insurance against damages arising from “dangers assessed as not palpable” might be made available, with cost relative to the level of probability assigned to them.

(Fred) We’ve stretched the point on this element of the Truths of Terasem, but “stretching points” is part of the mission of this podcast.  Let’s push on with the remaining elements.  6.2.2 states, “Admit that risk of danger is necessary, like pampering thorns for the sake of a rose.”  Here’s how the insurance idea can promote technological innovation and not see it inhibited by unmanageable risk.

It also brings us to the controversy over how far we should go with technology.  Some feel that just because we can do something is not always justification if there is risk involved.

(Linda)  This is a very important issue.  The ‘play it safe’ side is well illustrated by a famous article in Wired magazine in 2000 by Bill Joy, titled: Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.  And for listeners who may not be familiar with Bill Joy, he’s not just a Luddite, he was the founder of Sun Microsystems, and one of the pioneers of the Java software.  He’s considered a “techy”, so his views are given a lot of weight by many in the technological fields!  In the Wired article, he expressed his reservations this way:

“We are being propelled into this new century with no plan, no control, no brakes… The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge.”

(Fred)  But if we always hide in the corner, that’s where we’ll remain.  Ray Kurzweil is, of course, the ultimate optimist.  He summarizes his views on this issue in this way in his book, The Singularity is Near:

“People often go through three stages in considering the impact of future technology: awe and wonderment at its potential to overcome age-old problems; then a sense of dread at a new set of grave dangers that accompany these novel technologies; followed finally by the realization that the only viable and responsible path is to set a careful course that can realize the benefits while managing the dangers.”

(Linda) So, yes, we need to admit that there will be dangers along the way, but not just stick our heads in the sand and hope we’ll be safe and happy.   Max More, President and CEO of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation is also a transhumanist and a strategic philosopher who has given a lot of thought to this issue.  On his personal website, at www.maxmore.com, in an article titled: The Perils of Precaution: Critique of the precautionary principle, Max More says, and let me first just mention that the precautionary principle  basically reflects the position that if there is risk, we shouldn’t pursue it further.   Max More’s thoughts on that are:

“Change happens regardless of the precautionary principle.  If we stifle changes initiated by our brightest, most creative minds, we will be left with inadvertent changes. The direction of those changes is far more likely to be one that we don’t like. The asymmetrical nature of the precautionary principle ignores natural, unchosen changes that have their origin in nature, chance, or the environment. But changes, advance, and progress that come from science are treated as the enemy.”

(Fred) And he continues with:

“The future is the realm of the unknown. We can do much better to understand, anticipate, and prepare for the possible futures that lie ahead, but a large element of the unknown will remain. If we are to continue improving the human condition—and possibly even move beyond it—we must remain open to the unknown. We must throw out the precautionary principle. Friends of the future will see how the principle would prevent us from developing and applying practically all of the emerging technologies for enhancing and transforming the human condition: genetic techniques, neuromedical implants, nanotechnology, biotechnology, machine intelligence, and so on. Had the precautionary principle been in effect at any time in the past, today would never have arrived. The precautionary principle is the enemy of extropy.

(Linda)  But, More is not just advocating that we throw caution to the wind.  He goes on to say:

“If this principle should be avoided by policymakers and executives making a decision about the development, deployment, regulation, or marketing of a new technology, what are the alternatives? They should start out by thinking about the kind of decision they are making, then identify the optimal way to make it. This requires a structured decision-making process. The wisdom of ultimate precaution turns out to be false. Real wisdom comes from structure.”

(Fred)  I wish we had time to quote more of his extensive article. He has a lot to say about how develop that structure.  But, the point here is, don’t be so afraid of change and progress that you decide to live in ancient Rome forever, but use good judgment and valuable tools like critical thinking, the scientific method and geoethics to produce the future we all seek.

(Linda)  In 6.2.3, we are also reminded that: “Nanotechnology must be independently audited to assure compliance with the terms of its consent.”  We must, if we are to engage in perfecting replicator nanotechnology, be willing to be highly transparent to our co-workers and in the widest extent to all humankind, since, to use a slogan associated with one of the most well-known crisis situations on the Apollo Program, “Failure is not an option!”

(Fred) 6.2.4 turns the focus onto the long term goals: “Grant consent to builds that ‘Maximize the Ratio of joy and happiness to pain and suffering.”  In terms of priority, spend energy and take risks where changing the conditions of life for the better are maximum.  Recognize that replacing pain and suffering with joy and happiness are at the top of the priority ladder.

(Linda) 6.2.5 states, “Euclidian ratios are maximized by zero denominators, meaning geoethical nanotechnology seeks pain-free joy for all”.  One of the simplest ways to indicate infinity is to “divide by zero”.  If we zero-out pain, any amount of joy in a joy/pain ratio makes the result infinity.  Biological life is filled with both the pain of living and the pain caused by dying, to both those who experience the pain and those who love them.  Getting rid of the pain and death leaves plenty of room for expanding the finite amount of joy.  The ratio remains infinity, as long as pain and suffering… and death… are zero.

(Fred) Finally for this Expansion, 6.2.6 tells us, “Realize that nanotechnology is like a bird’s food — it is there but not in the nest”.  If we are to eat and survive, we must leave the nest to find the food.  Extropy demands that replicator nanotech be developed, in fact virtually assures that it will, and yet that will entail risk.  If we are clear about the fact that hiding in the corner will only delay this, or perhaps even lead to self-destruction, we will realize that leaving the nest is imperative, and we will do it.  But we must do it with geoethics.

(Linda) Next week we get to look at how we take the first baby steps to get where we’re going.  We’ll look at how organizing a Center of Critical Consciousness (a c-cube) pragmatically implements the how of Terasem.  How it starts the very process of building geoethics, Terasem and creating the exciting future we seek. An ethical framework must be erected and firmly guide what will happen; that starts one person at a time, one group at a time, one group of groups at a time, and so on outward until an airtight protective shield exists.

(Fred)  Find out more about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. Waking up in cyberspace can be pursued by way of CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, no fees to participate.  And you can create your personal history or autobiography, to be uploaded to CyBeRev.org by using the LifePact interview form.  Go to Terasemfaith.net and go to Mindfile Building, about half way down the page.

(Linda) To learn about preserving your brain or your whole body through cryostasis, check out both alcor.org and cryonics.org.  For those who can’t afford cryostasis at this time, the most practical approach to identity preservation is to have a mindfile plus a biofile (your DNA).  You can preserve your DNA very inexpensively at LifeNaut.com.   Go to truthsofterasem.wordpress.com and take the BioFile tab for additional information on their cell storage program.

(Fred)  Big kudos to Mike Clancy, at Terasem, for creating that challenging, fun and addictive mindfile building game for the Android. The multiple layers of the game ramp up the challenge very quickly.  While you try to build motor neurons within a brain, you encounter plaques that obstruct your path and you have to dodge macrophages that are hunting you down.  Check it out at PersonalityMD.com.

(Linda)  And if you still need to blow a few more of your neurons, go to  mindclones.blogspot.com for fascinating discussions about mindclones, mindfiles and mindware.  And if you want to read the text of our podcasts, to help dig deeper into the details, or maybe find websites that you weren’t able to write down, go to truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.  And don’t forget, Terasem has a priority list; those who join earlier are most likely to make the jump to cyberspace sooner.  The longer you wait, the longer the line will get!

(Fred)  The music that we use on this podcast series is called Earthseed.  It’s the Terasem Anthem written by Martine Rothblatt, who also plays the flute and the keyboard.  If you’d like to experience that music in a video, with inspiring, astronomical artwork, go to the Join! tab on the terasemfaith.net website.

(Linda)  Join us, and our quest for an endless future…

(Fred)   Come with us – into Tomorrow!

Closing music – no fade – full length.



Posted November 1, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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