I now add “PROGRESSIVE” to my Self-labelling of technological “REALIST”. Also I
am aware of the term “Progressive” in politics where I view it as used only partly
correctly/partly incorrectly. I also refer to some (not myself) who are Techno Utopians.
And there are Dystopians such as Bill Joy. Utopians under-rate life’s influence…
dystopians under-rate the social context in-which technology is embedded.
“‘Technology Sceptics’ commit two errors when considering innovation: That the innovation
will never happen and that they would be astonished if it did. ‘Technology Optimists’ fare
slightly better, committing only the second fallacy (they believe they will find the innovation
astonishing when it happens). However, the ‘Technology Realist’ commits neither mistake,
since he or she both expects that the innovation will happen and that we will not be
astonished when it does. [I define] a Technology Realist as someone who believes anything
theoretically possible will become a proof-of-principle experiment in an R+D lab, that this
prototype might one day become a commercially viable technology… and that we will not be
astonished by it if and when it arrives on the market).” (Extropia DaSilva, ‘The Singularity
and the New Intelligence Culture’ http://www.docstoc.com/docs/115119062/THE-
The Term Progressive
In politics this label should be taken away from those who pursue only sectional self vested
interest. It should be about the pursuit of collective interest within a liberal democracy. (I
deliberately say ‘within a liberal democracy’ because if it’s more radical than that then it isn’t
just progressive… it’s revolutionary). Note that I am not stating a political position of my
There is a contradiction in defining those pursuing their own sectional interest and those
pursuing the collective interest as one-and-the-same thing. It is a contradiction because they
will disagree with each other on the bread-and-butter social policy issues.
In technology… progressive means what I say it should mean in politics… the pursuit of the
collective interest… which is embedded within the social cultural context. As in politics it is
distinguished from utopianism and dystopianism. Some people think that it is possible to be a
political progressive and a realist. In technology I think that this is the rational position to
take up as one’s own. Technology is progressive and it’s going to happen without the gee-
whizz optimistic utopian kind-of response. People will just accept it and integrate it into their
lives. They (i.e. the majority) will not want to turn the clock back. There will be problems
(technology is a double-edged sword) but no dystopia.
My Progressive and Realistic Technological Wish-list (Note the Post-biological
Memory Deletion (i.e. specific memories for PTSD sufferers)
Memory Enhancement (for those people who are losing their memory)
Neurochemical modification for mental illness (i.e., where there is organic/physical
Bodily Pain Eradication (through progressive replacement of bodily parts with
Bodily Disease Eradication (Nanotechnology will play an important role in
Immortality (due to previous two points)
We will not get away from Memes. People will still have to reflect, mature and grow.
Psychological problems that are not organic/physical will still exist. Maturity will not be
handed to the individual on a plate. Maturity and psychological well-being will not be a
‘given’ even though there will be no rational reason for distress. There will still be ego
attachments and dissociation, relationship problems… the stuff of life.
Returning to the categories… there are Tech Realists, Tech Sceptics and Tech Optimists.
(See Extropia DaSilva’s quote on page 1). Anyone who has thought alittle about
technological advances will slant one way or the other concerning these categories. And the
Tech Realist will also connect to one of the following 3 categories:
Likewise the Tech Optimist will link to Progressive or Utopian. But the tech Sceptic who
does not believe that technology is advancing anywhere near as much as the Singularity
community (and the mainstream) thinks that it is… will swerve and avoid linking to any of
those 3 (Progressive/utopian/dystopia) categories.