I really didn’t think the mainstream could possibly care much about this issue, but the New York Times seems to be jumping all over our small community, so now we get the amusement of seeing our internal issues get hashed out in front of everyone. Yay.
Robin is the kind of nerd who is very excited about the future, an orientation evident on his C.V., which lists published articles like “Economic Growth Given Machine Intelligence” (on why robots will give us growth rates “an order of magnitude” higher than we’ve currently got), “Burning the Cosmic Commons: Evolutionary Strategies of Interstellar Colonization” (on what behaviors we can expect from extraterrestrials) and “Drift-Diffusion in Mangled Worlds Quantum Mechanics” (it’s very complicated). His enthusiasm is evident in the way he talks about these ideas, hands in the air, laughing amiably every time he brings up the distance between his own theories and those of the mainstream. If he is in a chair, the chair is moving with him.
Nice personality profile. I noticed that there was one glaring error in the article regarding the process of cryonics… it claims that your brain is surgically removed after metabolism ceases, but it’s really the head. This is an important distinction. You’d think that reporters writing an article on cryonics would at least read Alcor’s web page for ten minutes and get that right.
The original paper, “Is That What Love is? The Hostile Wife Phenomenon in Cryonics” goes into more depth if you’re interested. My explanation for the phenomenon is pretty simple: gender differences in enthusiasm towards science. I predict that more women will come to appreciate science when more technologies are developed that focus on the empathic nuances of human communication. We already see this to some extent with things like SecondLife, though that may be a bad example due to its particular idiosyncrasies.
Yes, I know it’s verboten to ever mention any differences between men and women, but keep in mind that many of the differences have to do with attitudes that are only skin-deep, and more or less chosen. (Though there are definitely differences that seem to center around the specific adaptive problems men and women were invented by evolution to solve.) I think that the only way gender relations can be improved is by analyzing the differences between (the average of) men and (the average of) women and trying to reconcile them, rather than ignoring said differences.
Anyway, for Robin Hanson’s personal justification of why he thinks being frozen and eventually uploaded will work, see “Philosophy Kills”.