Optimism

Optimistic assumptions are made by proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and singularitarianism, which view technological development as generally having beneficial effects for the society and the human condition. In these ideologies, technological development is morally good.

Img-16

Transhumanists generally believe that the point of technology is to overcome barriers, and that what we commonly refer to as the human condition is just another barrier to be surpassed.

Singularitarians believe in some sort of “accelerating change”; that the rate of technological progress accelerates as we obtain more technology, and that this will culminate in a “Singularity” after artificial general intelligence is invented in which progress is nearly infinite; hence the term.

Estimates for the date of this Singularity vary, but prominent futurist Ray Kurzweil estimates the Singularity will occur in 2045. Kurzweil is also known for his history of the universe in six epochs: (1) the physical/chemical epoch, (2) the life epoch, (3) the human/brain epoch, (4) the technology epoch, (5) the artificial intelligence epoch, and (6) the universal colonization epoch.

Going from one epoch to the next is a Singularity in its own right, and a period of speeding up precedes it. Each epoch takes a shorter time, which means the whole history of the universe is one giant Singularity event.

Extropianism, also referred to as the philosophy of Extropy, is an “evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition”. Extropians believe that advances in science and technology will some day let people live indefinitely.

An extropian may wish to contribute to this goal, e.g. by doing research and development or by volunteering to test new technology. Extropianism describes a pragmatic consilience of transhumanist thought guided by a proactionary approach to human evolution and progress. 

Originated by a set of principles developed by the philosopher Max More, The Principles of Extropy, extropian thinking places strong emphasis on rational thinking and on practical optimism.

According to More, these principles “do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies”. Extropians share an optimistic view of the future, expecting considerable advances in computational power, life extension, nanotechnology and the like.