Legendary cyberculture icon (and iconoclast) R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell have written a delicious funcyclopedia of the Singularity, transhumanism, and radical futurism, just published on January 1. The book includes a short chapter dedicated to my favorite interpretation of these things – Cosmism – with a short and accurate high-level summary.
Read my review of “Transcendence – The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity” on Hacked. The book is a collection of alphabetically-ordered short chapters about artificial intelligence, cognitive science, genomics, information technology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, space exploration, synthetic biology, robotics, and virtual worlds.
This is an ideal book to give to your partner who insists on ignoring your geeky pursuits – they will get a quick overview of transhumanism and radical futurism, and they will probably find it at least entertaining. At the same time, the book is deep, informative and thought-provoking.
The authors cut through unnecessary preliminaries and detail, and go straight to the heart of Cosmism:
“Cosmism is a sort of philosophically laid-back version of transhumanism. In a culture that tends to be argumentative and filled with people who like to insist that their views are correct, cosmism doesn’t care if you’re viewing the universe as information or quantum information or hypercomputation or God stuff or whatever. Nor does it ask anyone to commit to AGI or mind uploading or brain-computer interfaces or fusion-powered toasters as the best way forward. Rather, it seeks to infuse the human universe with an attitude of joy, growth, choice, and open-mindedness. Cosmism believes that science in its current form, just like religion and philosophy in their current forms, may turn out to be overly limited for the task of understanding life, mind, society, and reality – but it teaches that, if so, by actively engaging with the world and studying and engineering things, and by reflecting on ourselves carefully and intelligently, we will likely be able to discover the next stage in the evolution of collective thinking.”
I totally agree, which is not surprising since R.U. Sirius, with Ben Goertzel and some others, is one of the few thinkers with whom I nearly always agree. I prefer to lie back and contemplate the endless possibilities in a transfinite Cosmos without obsessing about life extension, acceleration technology, or when the Singularity arrives.
The book has also a chapter dedicated to the Mormon Transhumanist Association, with excerpts from an interview with the ever cogent and inspiring Lincoln Cannon.