September 06, 2022 Berkeley

What the GTF Looks Like

Sometimes my friends talk about the “GTF”: the Glorious Transhuman Future, which we might one day create - whether in our lifetimes or our descendants’. The GTF is like the anti-existential-risk. Sometimes it’s referred to as an “existential win”. Many people have told me that they find this idea really motivating: When they’re feeling down or discouraged, they can conjure up images of what the GTF might look like, and feel spurred on to do whatever it is that needs to happen for humanity, or all conscious life, to thrive.

This visualization trick doesn’t work for me. Whenever I try to think of the GTF, my visions are always swallowed up by a voice saying “no, no, it won’t be like that, it will be even better!” And of course that voice is right! But I can’t imagine how it will be better. And I don’t seem to have the Parfitian sensitivity to the abstract that would allow me to really feel the betterness in my bones.

Peter Eckersley died on Friday. For the 24 hours after his death, a bunch of people undertook substantial heroics to ensure that his wishes about his remains were enacted. In the end, they successfully caused his brain to be vitrified by Alcor.

I wasn’t close with Peter, though we’d met a few times. But since I learned that the preservation of his brain was deemed a success, I’ve felt a new sense of motivation. I can’t say much about what the GTF might look like if we achieve it, but I’ve finally got one concrete detail: I’d bet that Peter will be there.