Repent, for the End of the World is near (was: Phase transitions and Singularities)

From: Francois-Rene Rideau (
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 10:03:48 MDT

I guess I am an extropian, but I think I am much more pessimistic
than most as of the you people on the list seem to be as for
the timing for the Singularity, or the transition to posthumanism.

At times, your predictions sound a bit like
the ones from various millenarist christian sectarians
who enjoin to "Repent, for the End of the World is near".
Except that you're optimistic and physicalist
rather than pessimistic and metaphysicalist
about the nature of the nearby catastrophic event.
But somehow, I doubt we're to see this Singularity,
the end of such a transition, or anything like immortality
achieved in our lifetime.

For one thing, about the timing before some AI emerges (if it ever does),
I don't think that AI is possible least there is already
the well-developed equivalent of what TUNES (or Flare?) should be
to serve as a proper autocatalytic development platform.
For another thing about phase transition:
I believe that from the large body of historical data we have,
we're already in one, but one that,
albeit it seems instantaneous in geological times,
is very long in individual human life time,
and there's no reason to believe we're at the end of it.
Of course, the best (or rather, the only) way
to successfully predict such future is to make it happen.
So you're welcome to prove me wrong.
Meanwhile, my ambitions (TUNES) are much in retreat of the great changes
you're looking for, although I'm convinced their success
can be instrumental in making these changes come sooner
(which I still don't expect to be soon).

Yours freely,

[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | ]
[ TUNES project for a Free Reflective Computing System | ]
Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict
the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can
do just about anything that doesn't violate too many of Newton's Laws!
        -- Alan Kay, 1971

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 10:00:05 MDT