Re: Marvin Minsky and Eliezer Yudkowsky

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Tue Feb 27 2001 - 21:49:38 MST

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> Word has now reached me that there are multiple rumors circulating about a
> clash between Marvin Minsky and Eliezer Yudkowsky at a Foresight event.
> This is what it looked like from my perspective: <snip>...This post is
> to make clear my view of what happened, and I'd like to ask all of you to
> forward it on wherever these rumors are discussed.

Eliezer, Minsky was the same guy who was the dinner speaking at the
first west coast Foresight Nanocon, which was in about 1990 or 91.
He dismissed solar sailing by claiming that even if nanotech could produce a
sheet of aluminum a single atom thick, then the gravitational force of the
sun would be greater than the light pressure from the sun, and that since
both fields fall off as the inverse square of the distance, solar gravity is
greater than solar light pressure everywhere. K. Eric Drexler was standing
next to me when the comment was made. We looked at each other
as if to say "Are you gonna let him get away with THAT?" Neither of
us said anything, nor did anyone else, but his credibility dropped about
20dB. An aluminum sheet about 600 atoms thick would balance light
pressure and gravity, if my calcs are right. Had we the intestinal fortitude
of Robert Bradbury, we would have shouted in unison "THATS NOT
TRUE!" We would have looked like this: --->


Those of us who have met you in the flesh know you to be a gentleman
and a scholar. In the words of a famous Jew: "turn the other cheek." spike

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