Re: poly: Immortality and Historiography

From: Anders Sandberg <>
Date: Tue Dec 30 1997 - 13:55:03 PST

"Perry E. Metzger" <> writes:

> My take on the "history ruined by immortality" thread:
> We should be so lucky as to suffer from the problem.

I think historians will still have much to do.

Suppose that in Aeon 23 PS (Post Singularity) a historian
dividual-bundle tries to find out what really happened in the late
20th century that led to the Singularity. It quickly tracks down more
than a dozen people who was there (finding Keith Hensons everywhere is
trivial, and there is a RFC for Anders 41.2, but there are some that
even remain corporeal somewhere in the solar system, necessiating
*physical interaction* (!)), and starts interviewing them. But it
quickly finds that several of them do not have their old memories in
active form, and have either compressed them so much they are of
little use, archived them and forgot where they put the archive or
just gradually overwritten all but the most important. And those who
do remember, most have pretty strong biases ("I remember it as
yesterday. It was we who did it!" "Actually, nobody knew what was
going on." "Singularity? Well, I was a bit drunk that decade, so it is
kind of fuzzy. I think there was something about flower wallpaper
involved."). The 20th century people seems to have completely
different, subjective views. And there is so much data from that
epoch, some of it more recent forgeries, that it is hard to tell what
happened in detail.

So now our historian will have to work: sorting out the fabrications
from the real data, comparing views with known personality profiles
and interactions in order to arrive at a somewhat coherent model of
the past. And even more importantly, give it a wider context and try
to make it understandable to the infomorphs of the 23rd Aeon. "In
those days, the main conflict was between the individual human-units
with their symbiotic memes and the metaorganisms they participated in
and the memes linked to them. It is interesting to note that the
humans did not become aware of the essentials of this situation until
the beginning of the 21st century, when both humans and metaorganisms
encountered the threat of typeless replicators..."

I think historians will be around. I wonder about other
professions. Posthuman bakers, anyone?

(my guess: yes, the crafting of pleasurable or interesting sensoric
experiences will continue long after the last traces of flour or
chocolate have vanished from the solar system.)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
Received on Tue Dec 30 21:46:37 1997

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