Extropianism, also referred to as extropism or extropy, is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition. Extropians believe that advances in science and technology will some day let people live indefinitely and that humans alive today have a good chance of seeing that day. An extropian may wish to contribute to this goal, e.g. by doing research and development or volunteering to test new technology.
Originated by a set of principles developed by Dr. Max More, The Principles of Extropy, extropian thinking places strong emphasis on rational thinking and practical optimism. According to More, these principles "do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies". Extropians share an optimistic view of the future, expecting considerable advances in computational power, life extension, nanotechnology and the like. Many extropians foresee the eventual realization of unlimited maximum life spans, and the recovery, thanks to future advances in biomedical technology, of those whose bodies/brains have been preserved by means of cryonics.
Extropy, coined by Tom Bell (T. O. Morrow) in January 1988, is defined as the extent of a living or organizational system's intelligence, functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth. Extropy expresses a metaphor, rather than serving as a technical term, and so is not simply the hypothetical opposite of Information entropy.
In 1988, "Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought" was first published. This brought together thinkers with interests in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, life extension, mind uploading, idea futures, robotics, space exploration, memetics, and the politics and economics of transhumanism. Alternative media organizations soon began reviewing the magazine, and it attracted interest from likeminded thinkers. Later, More and Bell co-founded the Extropy Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization. "ExI" was formed as a transhumanist networking and information center to use current scientific understanding along with critical and creative thinking to define a small set of principles or values that could help make sense of new capabilities opening up to humanity.
The Extropy Institute's email list was launched in 1991, and in 1992 the institute began producing the first conferences on transhumanism. Affiliate members throughout the world began organizing their own transhumanist groups. Extro Conferences, meetings, parties, on-line debates, and documentaries continue to spread transhumanism to the public.
The Internet soon became the most fertile breeding ground for people interested in exploring transhumanist ideas, with the availability of websites for such organizations that have joined the Extropy Institute in developing and advocating transhumanist (and related) ideas. These include the World Transhumanist Association, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the Life Extension Foundation, Foresight Institute, Transhumanist Arts & Culture, the Immortality Institute, Betterhumans, Aleph in Sweden, TransVision in Europe, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
In 2006 the board of directors of the Extropy Institute made a decision to close the organisation, stating that its mission was "essentially completed."