Re: poly: Immortality and Historiography

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Tue Jan 13 1998 - 09:10:35 PST (GBurch1) writes:
>"four score" these days). Furthermore, the "interpersonal privacy" factor
>mentioned above will become much more complex: Since one will be able to
>assume that most of the actors from a particular period in one's life are
>still alive and will continue to still be alive indefinitely, disclosure of
>information potentially embarrassing to one's associates or former associates
>will be more difficult.
>I wonder what other factors we might look to to offset the negative impact
>immortality may have on historiography?

 I suggest that there will be many advantages to openness. People with
habits of sharing info about themselves are more likely to be trusted,
partly because they will be more predictable, but also because exposing
your thinking to anyone who is interested in it increases the probability
that someone will point out the bugs in your thinking. Linux is much more
reliable than Windows because of the greater openness of its development
process; that same phenomenon ought to apply to minds.

 Also, personalities evolve enough over time that I doubt 100 year old
data will seem sufficiently personal to be embarrassing. How embarrassed
would you feel today if someone publicized the mistakes that the 10 year old
version of Greg Burch made? I think that the expected "lifetime" of an identity
as that concept is relevant to privacy will be virtually unchanged by
immortality unless immortality is accompanied by slower rates of personal
growth. (Hal Finney) writes:
>Some authors have suggested that technological advances will make secrecy
>and privacy a thing of the past. Ubiquitous cameras, even gnat-sized or
>smaller, will be able to peer over our shoulders and snoop into all of our
>affairs. David Brin develops the possible consequences of his idea in a
>recent Wired article and in an upcoming book.

 A complete lack of privacy would cause some problems for personal identity.
If someone can record my typing as I enter a password, or after I'm uploaded
can read all the memory in my mind by physically inspecting the disks on
which it is stored, then that person can spend any money over which I have
online control, and have unlimited use of my online reputation.

Peter McCluskey          | caffeine   O   CH3            |            ||  | |      H3C   C   N
                         |         \ / \ / \
                         |          N   C   C
                                    |   ||  ||
                                    C   C---N
                                  // \ /
                                  O   N
Received on Tue Jan 13 17:07:43 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:29 PST