Best Intro to LW article for transhumanists

post by Larks · 2011-10-28T02:30:35.471Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 6 comments

Summary: if you could show a page of LW to a random student who was interested in science, but couldn't otherwise communicate with them, which page would you choose?


The Oxford University Transhumanist Society is a student society who arrange speakers on transhumanist topics - ranging from cognitive enhancement to AI to longevity to high-impact careers to Xrisk to brain-machine interfaces. The audience is a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, mostly scientists, who are interested in the future of science and technology, but by no means self-describe as transhumanists.

This week we're finally getting organised and producing membership cards. We intend to put a URL in a QR code on them, because people expect cool techy stuff from the Transhumanist society. It'd be nice if the link was something slightly more imaginative than just H+ or the facebook page. Naturally, I thought it should point to LW; but where specifically? The About page, a very good article from the Sequences, something from Eliezer's website, MoR...? A well chosen page, showcasing what LW has to offer, could well draw someone into LW.


Suggestions welcome. One article (or very similar set of articles) per top-level comment please, so people can upvote suggestions in a targetted manner.



Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by lukeprog · 2011-10-28T02:37:01.455Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Not on LW, but: Transhumanism as simplified humanism.

comment by Solvent · 2011-10-28T10:44:00.255Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I absolutely agree. Amazing article.

Come to think of it, I think that Eliezer should write some kind of fusion between the Yehuda essay and that one. Combine the emotional impact with what he's trying to promote, ie the transhumanism.

comment by shokwave · 2011-10-28T13:32:58.157Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The question is, link to the copy on SIAI or on Yudkowsky's personal page? Both have big pros and cons - "soliciting donations for some charity" vs "following some random cult-futurist" first impressions, vs where people are likely to go from that page (SIAI pages vs Yudkowsky's other excellent works).

Also, looks nicer than the SIAI page, in case that matters.

comment by lessdazed · 2011-10-28T10:49:53.194Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

random student who was interested in science... by no means self-describe as transhumanists

Confidence levels inside and outside an argument.

This isn't really something to get them interested in LW, it's a more literal answer to your question, as if showing them one thing precluded them from seeing anything else here.

ETA: see also here.

comment by [deleted] · 2011-10-28T02:50:15.837Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's not an article, but Nick Bostrom's talk on humanity's biggest problems was what made transhumanism "click" for me. He discusses defeating death, mitigating existential risk, and the potential benefits of cognitive enhancement (as well as transhumanist values in general).

Another good introduction is Three Major Singularity Schools, but that's not on LW either.

ETA: If your main goal is to show off LessWrong rather than provide a good introduction to transhumanism, then just link to the about page.

comment by Logos01 · 2011-10-31T08:53:35.017Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A Sense that More Is Possible comes close, but doesn't pass my "sniff test" of being the sort of page you'd want to have as the introduction of LessWrong to arbitrary transhumanists.

I don't know that any page would be deeply persuasive; the About page is somewhat generic, and any specific article is already deeply entrenched/informed by the existence of the ideological framework that has evolved in this community over time.

There just doesn't seem to be a single page on this site that 'screams' of the awesomeness of what, should what this site's implicit agendas be validated, would be quite transformative and self-evident. This seems problematic to me, on entirely different / unrelated topics: what is it, precisely, that this community is missing to achieve that "foom" effect often mentioned? What great material effects has LW achieved, that would be materially persuasive to the uninformed and as-yet uninterested?