I just watched a highly credentialed UFO historian-scholar, Richard Dolan and his wife, researcher Tracey Dolan, discuss the links between the UFO community and the transhumanist community — particularly their mutuality with utopianism and ‘impending-arrival’ type themes. Together, the Dolans gave one of the most lucid critiques of transhumanism and futurism that I have ever heard.
They take on what feels like a very real, but normally obscure, realpolitik in play within the transhumanism movement; particularly in regards to the not-often-enough discussed influence of elite hypercapital within transhumanist and futurist ventures (AI, age-reversal, cryonics, space travel, and so on). The Dolans retarget the discussion from the popular utopian themes onto (what I am caling) a technocapitalist transhumanist realpolitik. I must agree, the effects of individual wealth and power—the politics, policies, and social norms they could create—is truly a central issue to the overall transhumanist discourse.
The Dolans point out the bitter truth: all kings, queens, and titans of all our human earthly ages have always aimed for godhood, either in reality or reputation. These wannabe god class level players have always desired what the transhumanist and futurist technologies largely celebrate and strive for—the eradication of disease, aging, and possibly even death. This hope likely spans millennia in age, and it is no different today.
Godlike tools are vital to contend with here. Omnipotence has also been often associated with godhood. The Dolans examine AI utopianism against modern day China. Consider the social credit score system that is already being deployed there.
They illustrate: this is an AI analyzing, processing, and consequently restricting (policing) human behavior on what will eventually be a nationwide scale. They discuss police officers armed with wearables eyeglasses used to computationally identify people on the street. Then via augmented reality, up comes their targets’ social credit score. Is it high or low? All of this feeding back into an AI ultimately helmed by the government and whoever they decide to bring in.
In a post-PRISM revelation USA, the Dolans mention a likely truth — some less overt form of the Chinese model is probably already up and running for US citizens.
Take this and wed it against Douglas Rushkoff’s latest buzz-storm piece Survival of the Richest ‘The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind.’ Now recollect Jaron Lanier’s warning of ‘Siren Servers,’ huge data farming AI machines that can do things like “predict social uprisings 3–5 days in advance.” When I saw Lanier speak at Cooper Union, I remember him saying Facebook, Amazon, Google, insurance companies, alphabet organizations, and others — they all had their own Siren Servers. Finally, imagine a billionaire or trillionaire striving to living healthfully for 160, or 200 years while their employee-workerbees either live off of food stamps, or jump from factory windows, or lose their limbs in cobalt mines. This is a sad and more honest representation of the transhuman effort today.
The Dolans point out: many of the issues of transhumanism hinge on access. This is what the utopians need to redouble their own attention towards. It is not a matter of: “let’s get there first and deal with these particular issues later.” Whether or not people will be permitted to use the futurist toolbox is exactly the point of balance for the future of civilization itself.
At the enough of their talk, the gravity of the situation became even more obvious — we must not merely prepare, we must accept that this transhuman-realpolitik is actually already well underway in the world. And so far, it is not exactly utopian.
If something like life-extension therapies or access to our own data becomes too unbalanced, a global culture war between the haves and have-nots very well might ensue.
Dolan’s first book, UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Cover-up 1941–1973, was published in 2000 by Keyhole Publishing Company and republished by Hampton Roads Publishing Company in 2002.
The preface is written by the noted scientist and author Jacques Vallée, Ph.D. Vallee’s preface begins: “The important book you are about to read is the first comprehensive study of the U.S. government’s response to the intrusion of UFO phenomena in American skies over the last fifty years.”