Genesis

In 2004 when I was a student at UC Santa Cruz my dad’s futurist influence began to take hold on me. I was writing essays about the internet, idealistic essays. My hero was Douglas Englebart and his theory that computers would “augment human intellect.” This territory has always been equally rife with dystopian potential, but I was with the optimists (ie my dad). We worked on a film that outlined the direct links between hippy subcultures, LSD, and the internet (well documented in “What the Dormouse Said”). My dad used the marketing budget to create a website called Space Collective (the precursor to Cargo Collective). Space Collective was a place for extrapolating into trans and post human territory (in 2009), and it became an active community for a while.

At some point, I got a little sick of abstractions and decided to go meet some transhumanists in person. I wanted to know about the emotional landscape, the messy human qualities that coalesced into this worldview (my mom is a therapist).

This is where I met Galileo.

Short Essay:  On Algorithms and the Undoing of Human Bonding
Short Essay: Bodies and the Limits of Humanity
Short Essay: Augmenting Human Intellect For Complexity

Conclusion

Presently, my father is dying from a degenerative genetic disease, a cruel twist of fate for someone seriously interested in life extension and immortality.  At the same time, the death toll seems to be ringing for optimism about the future. Climate change, tech monopolies, toxic tradeoffs between free services and advertising. But I will return to my father again and again because the fuel for optimism is creativity, and creativity is one of the most vital resources, especially when humans seem so much more prone to taking away than offering. 

In “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work,” the authors argue that utopian thinking is necessary when thinking about a long term, infrastructural project as ambitious as angling automation towards equity.  

“The denunciations of utopia’s fantasies overlook the fact that it is precisely the element of imagination that makes utopias essential to any process of political change. If we want to escape from the present, we must first dismiss the settled parameters of the future and wrench open a new horizon of possibility. Without the belief in a different future, radical political thinking will be excluded from the beginning...we therefore argue that the left must release the utopian impulse from its neoliberal shackles in order to expand the space of the possibile, mobilise a critical perspective on the present and cultivate new desires.” (138-139)