Andrew Kelley - The Techno-Optimist Manifesto (2023 Oct 17)

The Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Technology is a tool that enhances the power of the wielder.

Our tools are getting more and more powerful. Some tools, such as nuclear fission, are so powerful that they pose an existential threat to all of humanity, because human society has a history of wielding tools to maintain power over each other at any cost.

The dark desire to subjugate one another is the ultimate enemy of innovation, because the conquerors are content to have their needs met by human labor, while the conquered are too busy laboring to become scientists.

Human societies are systems. Systems are themselves tools. Free Market Capitalism is a system. It has tech specs just like any computer - features, limitations, and tradeoffs. We will not settle for a deprecated system when there is a new and improved one that can be created, discovered, and iterated upon.

Venture capital is an outdated tool. It leads to monopolies, anti-competitive practices, generational wealth, and environmental externalities. Non-donation-based non-profit organizations are an underexplored alternative, especially for tech companies where the number of users is large and size of the organization is relatively small.

Religion is an outdated tool, used to control, weaken, and exploit the masses. It causes societies to maintain unscientific practices, especially in healthcare and justice, and leads to war.

War is a means to destroy the wealth created by technology.

War turns technology against mankind.

War is opportunity cost for every scientist and engineer who works on national defense.

War makes it dangerous to research advanced technology.

As techno-optimists, we believe that we must, and we will, create more advanced human systems to prevent war forevermore. Human society will mature and overcome its barbaric history, learning to cooperate with each other so that we can create technological works of global magnitude, such as orbital rings.

We cannot meaningfully explore space while borders exist on Earth.

Every dollar spent on the military is a blight on the country's honor. We believe that military budget reductions are a cause for celebration because they symbolize progress towards the space age. We believe that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the most horrifying, shameful thing ever done by humanity, to itself. Importantly, we believe that it will never, ever happen again.

We believe that there are irreversible destructive actions. While some amount of species extinction is a natural process, the outlier extinction event currently happening due to the emergence of homo sapiens is a tragedy. We believe that it is our duty to not only improve technology to enhance our own lives, but also enhance technology to preserve natural diversity. We believe that Free Market Capitalism is an outdated technology that has failed to prevent irreversible destruction to our home planet. However, we believe that human society will migrate to a better system without these flaws, and will prevent the ultimate irreversible action of self-destruction.

We believe in the simple, physical fact that endless growth is unsustainable, and we refuse to resolve this problem with war. Instead, we will improve efficiency and work within the limits of the system, whatever they may be. We will upgrade our economic system to one that is capable of supporting these requirements.

Therefore, finally, we believe that it is justified to spend one's life or career in pursuit of science, engineering, and technology, because we believe in humanity's ability to mature and improve to the point where it can wield ever more powerful tools responsibly.

Thanks for reading my blog post.

Home Page | RSS feed | Sponsor the Zig Software Foundation