Re: Moravec article available

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 13:33:34 MDT

>From: Robin Hanson <>
>Hal Finney wrote:
>> > An immortal cannot hope to survive unchanged, only to maintain a
>> > continuity over the short run. Personal death differs from this
>> > inevitability only in its relative abruptness.
>>... we see here on Earth a diverse ecology which includes organisms
>>that cover a wide spectrum of rates of adaption. There are species
>>which are almost unchanged from hundreds of millions of years ago,
>>and others which are less than a million years old. ...
>>In that case we have a choice, not between adapt or perish, but between
>>adapt or stagnate. It may turn out that there is an ecological niche
>>for organisms who are wedded to their past, who refuse to change.
>OK. But keep in mind that if we look at *all* of the species that
>existed say 400 million years ago, we would likely find very few of
>them are still around. So the chances of making it to such a cozy
>niche may be rather small.

And keep in mind we, generally, are not concerned about the hundreds of
niches that we do not fill. Who cares which species occupies the niche
filled currently by the Monarch Butterfly? I personally have no ambition of
flitting from flower to flower helping them to pollinate. Our niche is that
of Masters of the Universe. We are at the top of the food chain and our
niche (or meta-niche, if you will) is carved out by our remarkably adaptive
intelligence. It is highly unlikely that we will continue to occupy this
niche if we are unable to evolve to keep ahead of the exponentially rising
intelligence curve.


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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