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TheOtherDave comments on Applause Lights - Less Wrong

90 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 September 2007 06:31PM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 19 May 2012 03:00:51PM 1 point [-]

Pretty much all the fiction I read in which brain implants are mentioned at all treat them as improvements.

Comment author: pnrjulius 23 May 2012 03:57:22AM 1 point [-]

Really? Got any examples?

I've read some in which the transhuman technologies were ambiguous (had upsides and downsides), but I can't think of any where it was just better, the way that actual technologies often are---would any of us willingly go back to the days before electricity and running water?

Comment author: Swimmer963 23 May 2012 04:05:02AM 2 points [-]

I've read some in which the transhuman technologies were ambiguous (had upsides and downsides), but I can't think of any where it was just better, the way that actual technologies often are---would any of us willingly go back to the days before electricity and running water?

Having upsides and downsides isn't the same thing as being ambiguous. Running water and electricity do have downsides–namely, depletion of water tables due to overuse, and pollution, resource depletion, and possibly global warming due in part to the efforts required to make electricity...But I wouldn't say that either technology is ambiguous. The advantages pretty clearly outweigh the disadvantages, which are avoidable with some thought and creativity.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 23 May 2012 04:32:57AM 1 point [-]

Most of Peter Hamilton's stuff comes to mind, for example. Implants are just another technology, treated no differently than guns or cars. The Greg Mandel books have a few characters who do end up with implants that they would prefer not to have, but they're the exceptions.

Comment author: Nornagest 23 May 2012 07:04:31AM 1 point [-]

would any of us willingly go back to the days before electricity and running water?

Well, they're hardly common, but anarcho-primitivists do exist.

Comment author: Hul-Gil 23 May 2012 07:07:32AM 0 points [-]

but I can't think of any where it was just better, the way that actual technologies often are

I find that a little irritating - for people supposedly open to new ideas, science fiction authors sure seem fearful and/or disapproving of future technology.

Comment author: Nornagest 23 May 2012 07:23:17AM 1 point [-]

Part of me thinks that that's encoded into the metaphorical DNA of the SF genre (or one branch of it) at a very basic level. It's been conventional for a while to think of SF as Enlightenment and the rest of spec-fic as Romantic, but the history of the genre's actually more complicated than that; Mary Shelley, for example, definitely fell on the Romantic side of the fence, and later writers haven't exactly been shy about following her lead. The treading-in-God's-domain motif is a powerful one, and it's the bedrock that an awful lot of SF is built on.

Comment author: taelor 23 May 2012 10:54:28AM 0 points [-]