Re: Singularity or Holocaust?

Fri, 27 Feb 1998 16:41:25 -0500

Eugene Leitl wrote:

>> On Thu, 26 Feb 1998 DOUG.BAILEY@EY.COM wrote:
>> Vinge's idea of a technological singularity looming in the
>> future is based on the exponential tendecies of technological
>> progress over time. In mathematics, a singularity is a point
>> where mathematic modelling no longer works. I think the best
>> way to view a technological singularity is as a mathematical
>> singularity. In this sense, I view a technological singularity
>> not as a point
> As I seem to recall, Vinge himself spoke against such an
> interpretation in his recent interview with N. More.

If you'll look more closely you'll see that I am essentially in
agreement with Vinge's comments in that interview. Instead of
envisioning a technological singularity event as some technological
rocket ride spiralling towards infinity, one should view the
asymptote of a technological progress time line as a paradigm
shift. As you pointed out above, such a shift can be sudden or

> There is no way how flesh would be able to persist even halfway
> through a Darwinian Singularity (does anybody disagree?). I even
> do not see how uploads are hoping to survive virtually unchanged
> (as there are conservative cryonists, there are conservative upload
> researchers) in a world rushing towards the new equilibrium (which
> might well be a Red Queen equilibrium).

Red Queen equilibrium? What is that?

> Can there be an isomorphy between an embryo in blastula stage and
> an adult individuum?

Genetically? Sure. But what happens when you achieve the status
of a "Power" (as described by Vinge in "A Fire Upon The Deep")?
You can enhance yourself in such a manner so that all the measures
we use to gauge isomorphism could be radically altered to the
point of nonrecognition. If it begun with the human genome, a
superintelligent agent might send the genome through rapid iterative
vicissitudes until no measurable isomorphism remained.

>> hinges on factors we have no real control over. If a holocaust
>> of humanity resides in the future then there is little we can do
>> to avoid it. Such a holocaust, if it is to happen, will ride in
>> on the apparently inexorable tide of technological progress.
> Er, what was that thing, what was it called.. Dynamical Optimism,
> like?

Optimism has no relevance in the face of inevitability. We could be
optimistic about entropy increase. However, that would not change
the second law of thermodynamics.

Doug Bailey