Re: Bill Joy again

From: Name Witheld (
Date: Mon Feb 19 2001 - 00:13:13 MST

[Non-member submission]

On Sun, 18 Feb 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> >
> > "J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> > >
> > > From: "Spike Jones" <>
> > > > "I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the
> > > > cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil."
> > >
> > > Wow, Bill Joy said that? Sounds like the boy has flipped his cork.
> > > I think that kind of rhetoric would better suit the Mid East
> > > which of course Bill would fix by relinquishment.
> >
> > He's perfectly right. As technology advances, so does evil. The thing
> > understand about Bill Joy is that all the threats he refers to are more
> > less real - it's just Bill Joy's unworkable "remedies" that indicate a
> > permanent state of future shock, or maybe future panic would be a better
> > term. If aliens landed tomorrow, Bill Joy would scream and run around
> > circles, while the Men in Black would ask the aliens for their
> > I try to cultivate an MIB attitude.

They're unworkable, but very persuasive. Don't for a moment think the fact
a remedie's being unworkable will pervent people from trying to implement

> Unfortunately the rest of us have our work cut out for us by his
> efforts. He has been very effective at exploiting multiple media
> opportunities. As his speech plays on people's fear he has the easier
> hook into motivating large groups of people. Unless we can play on
> people's hopes and dreams and do so widely and strongly I think he will
> get far more people behind his ideas than we behind ours.

You're right, except for one detail: forget hopes and dreams. Play on
fears like they do-- observation shows that for whatever reason, this is the
more effective approach. Three words, folks: "New Dark Ages".

Three more words, folks: "Fall of Civilization". Reversal of all the human
rights and quality of life gains that we've made in the last couple of
hundred years. Those who are against technology are thereby also against
lowered infant mortality, improved public health, more efficient
of resources (aka free, well informed, and low-friction markets), women's
liberation, racial/ethnic harmony, education, civil liberties, religious
tolerance, democracy, and anything else that's been worth the effort
has put into it.

Want to protect your future? Oversimplify, overdramatize the issue and
it home over and over and over. Don't be ashamed to fight dirty as long as
you can look cleaner than the other guy. Luddites = Death

Find the least charismatic of the lot and turn them into Hitler... ELF and
ALF will probably do as bad guys. Cultivate in the public's mind an image
of masked terrorists burning labs where medicine is being developed to cure
sick kids; it's only fair given the Frankenstein treatment scientists get
in the media. Bill Joy is probably not a good target, too media savvy. Ditto

It's not even intellectually dishonest-- it's just the abridged distilled
essence of a more complex and lengthy argument that would otherwise fail to
move the sound-byte weaned mob.

I'm not sure even these extreme measures will work at this point-- we're
pretty far behind the game. While we've spent the last decade musing over
theories of memetics, these bastards have been busy with shall we say more
hands-on activities, and are possibly rivalled only by professional
advertising/PR agencies in their effectiveness by this point.

The other alternative is to erode all centralized control structures using
technological means (crypto, digital cash, p2p networks, smart contracts)
thus kicking the main weapon of the Luddites out of their hands. The cure
might be as bad as the disease, though-- in principle I'm in favor of
anarchy, but in practice I've personally witnessed how basic research is
more deeply dependant on massive infusions of government grant money than
I've ever imagined possible. It may take some careful planning to disarm
the regulatory mechanisms without destroying the research funding ones.

Why am I sending this gloom and doom? Well, perhaps because 'the masses'
aren't the only ones who need a crisis to get going. Perhaps our own
paralyzes us, and we won't speak up until we realize just how much of a
dangerous situation is developing for our species. Both responses have
drawbacks, but either is still safer than inaction, and other responses
may be found as we go along.

But stash the "hopes and dreams" wishful thinking next to the flying cars
and the robot butlers. The struggle to survive inherently involves some
unavoidable negativism.

                                --Love, You Know Who

                                  ...or at least you can probably guess who
                                  from the long-windedness. Life is taking
                                  a sudden career-conscious political turn,
                                  and am trying to keep a lower profile.

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