Peter Thiel. Photo: Andrew White/The New York Times/Redux If you believed that the necessary next step in our species’ evolution was to merge with artificial superintelligence, and to thereby transcend our animal condition and become immortal, what effect might that have on your politics? This is not an entirely abstract question. There are people who believe that the future of our species involves shedding our humanity in a marriage with AI; this is known as transhumanism, and it has not unreasonably been called a new tech religion. Though the movement has no explicit political affiliations, it tends, for reasons that are probably self-explanatory, to draw a disproportionate number of Silicon Valley libertarians. And the cluster of ideas at its center — that the progress of technology will inevitably render good ol’ Homo sapiens obsolete; that intelligence, pure computational power, is to be pursued above all other values — has exerted a powerful attraction on a small group of futurists whose extreme investment in techno-libertarianism has pushed them over an event horizon into a form of right-wing authoritarianism it might be useful to regard as Dark Transhumanism. The English critical theorist turned far-right cult thinker Nick Land is usefully representative of… Read full this story
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