Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 10:25:47 MST

Jim Fehlinger, <>, writes:
> Also, effects that some folks on this list can contemplate with
> equanimity are events that would horrify many people outside of extreme
> sci-fi/technophilic circles. For example, Eliezer Yudkowsky has said
> on many occasions that, as long as the human race survives long enough
> to give birth to some sort of superintelligence, the ultimate fate of
> humanity is of no consequence (to him or, presumably, in the ultimate
> scheme of things). I suspect that this attitude is part of what gives
> folks like Bill Joy the willies.

My view of this is that it doesn't matter that much whether our
descendents are meat or metal. Why should we be horrified by the prospect
that we will die and our machines live on, but not by the conventional
belief that we will die and our children live on?

Hans Moravec calls our intelligent robotic descendents "mind children",
children who are created by our minds rather than by our bodies.
We must love our bodies and hate our minds, if the progeny of one is
honored while the other is a threat.

I realize that this is an area where people have strong instincts,
conditioned by millions of years of evolution and centuries of culture.
We look at a baby and see a cute little creature, while a robot is a
soulless monstrosity. But it is surely possible to free ourselves for
a moment from these prejudices and to see the fundamental similarities
between the two.

If most people have never looked at things this way, I believe it is
because they have never been presented with the argument. Not everyone is
persuaded, of course. But most people who laugh at or scorn Extropians
for their technophilia have never considered the issues deeply.
Over time I believe we will see more people coming to share our views,
and in fact this is already manifest in the increasing public prominence
of Extropianism.


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