Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 10:55:53 MST

On Tue, Jan 16, 2001 at 07:38:39AM -0500, Jim Fehlinger wrote:
> >From an individual's perspective, the Great Depression was a period of
> almost unimaginable suffering, as would de Garis' Cosmist-vs-Terran
> war (either between pro- and anti-AI humans, or between humans and AIs).
> Many mainstream people would say that anybody who can contemplate such
> an
> event with detachment must be a bit of a monster. Be that as it may,
> it may prove to be an unbridgeable gulf between Singularitarians
> and the rest of humanity (even technologically sophisticated folks like
> Bill
> Joy), if the former are seen as taking a cold-blooded,
> "che sera, sera" attitude toward the possibility of the extinction of
> the
> human race.

Lest we forget, the pattern of introduction of new technologies is that
they rarely destroy an existing one; they simply relegate it to a niche,
so that the resulting society is more complex, not less. (The moving picture
didn't destroy the theatre, although it downsized it. Television didn't
destroy the movies. The internet hasn't destroyed television. And so on.)

I'd actually be somewhat surprised and offended if someone began espousing
a singularitarian position that _requires_ the human species to get out
of the way in the name of progress. (As opposed to politely offering to
coexist in a non-coercive manner.)

> I think the motives of enthusiastic Singularitarians are
> always going to be mistrusted by the mainstream, and Extropians and
> Singularitarians are likely to continue to be portrayed by journalists
> and
> authors as they are, for instance, in Ken Macleod's _The Cassini
> Division_.

Bzzt: Ken's take on things is not that simplistic. (I hope you aren't
reading Cassini Division in isolation, rather than as book #3 in a four-
book set.)

-- Charlie

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