Re: LIST: Singularitarians

Eric Ruud (
Mon, 5 Apr 1999 18:13:59 -0700

would it be possible to subscribe to the list as an observer? I'm saying this from the point of view that I can't think of anything valuable I could contribute :).

I'd like to see what people talk about, though.


-----Original Message-----
From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> To: <> Date: Monday, April 05, 1999 2:51 PM
Subject: LIST: Singularitarians

>The list "" has been created. (It would have been
>"", but onelist includes the list name in
>each subject line, so...) The list will officially be launched April
>11th, 1999 - please don't post until that time.
>Please read the following before registering to subscribe:
>You may register to subscribe at:
>The list is restricted, meaning that each subscription needs to be
>approved. Please subscribe now, so that I can "process" everyone by the
>time the list is launched. After registering, please send me email with
>the subject line "SING: Your Name". If I don't already know who you
>are, please include either (1) your intended first post, (2) a reason
>why I should be begging you to join or (3) some assorted other
>information, as described below and on the page. Please don't be
>insulted if you get turned down; it's a specialized list.
>If you're a friend of someone who isn't on Extropians but would be a
>highly valuable reader of the list, please forward this message to them.
> But please read the page first, so you know which readers are in demand.
>I will be posting the following. (Others may have their own posts, of
>* Some data on how the average Internet user reacts to the Singularity.
>* Commercial potential and project requirements of Elisson and other AI.
>* A few business ideas I've been thinking of.
>(HTML stripped, so reading the page would be better.)
>The Singularitarians are interested in bringing about the Singularity, as
>fast as possible, through the creation of various "ultratechnologies".
>Because of our common interest in the success of each other's efforts,
>this list was created to share advice and resources. This highly
>pragmatic list is intended only for the discussion of specific efforts and
>immediate choices. It is not for futuristic debate, argument, or
>discussion of the Singularity proper. The list is restricted, which
>enables both discussion of semi-private issues and the maintenance of
>intelligent and practical posting.
> * Summary.
> * Table of Contents.
> * Charter.
> * Concept.
> * Membership.
> * Posting.
> * Topic list.
> * Don'ts.
> * Joining.
> Charter:
>The "Singularitarian" mailing list was launched as on
>Sunday, March 11th, 1999, to assist in the common goal of reaching the
>Singularity. It will do so by pooling the resources of time, brains,
>influence, and money available to Singularitarians; by enabling us to draw
>on the advice and experience of the whole; by bringing together
>individuals with compatible ideas and complementary resources; and by
>binding the Singularitarians into a community. The list will provide a
>common forum for requesting advice, help and investment; for proposing
>projects, businesses, and group policies; for announcing updates, status
>reports, outcomes, Internet resources, and Web sites; for reporting the
>products of research and investigation; and for sharing news of
>Version: 1.0.
>Published 4/4/99.
>1999 by Eliezer S. Yudkowsky. All rights reserved.
>Please bookmark this page as
> Concept:
>The Extropians list (as much as anything, the original parent of this
>list) maintains a continuous sheen of futurism, the quality Ed Regis
>called "hubris". Favored topics of discussion: A really spectacular
>piece of technology, an impressive piece of rational reasoning, futuristic
>science and psychology, intricate and anarchocapitalistic ethics, and
>(sometimes heated) debates about policy in the remote future. At its
>height, the Extropians list is a group of extremely intelligent people
>throwing off sparkles of concentrated future shock.
>There were, however, three repeated complaints: First, that there wasn't
>enough discussion of practical matters, what to do now. Second, that none
>of the people talking had the resources to actually do anything. Third,
>that there were too many low-quality posts. The Singularitarian list came
>into existence in response to these problems.
>The first priority of the list is to provide an environment capable of
>attracting Internet tycoons or science-fiction authors or AI researchers,
>not just enthusiastic but poor Singularitarians with a lot of spare
>It should not require extreme dedication to the Singularity to put up with
>the list environment, simply a slight interest. For those
>Singularitarians who have not yet contributed to the Singularity and have
>no resources strongly in demand, the strictest standards of intelligence,
>netiquette, topic discipline, pragmatism, and general cluefulness will be
> The list's first moments will be most critical, setting the
> tone and determining the success or failure of the list. A
> core of high-quality readers and posters will attract more
> readers and posters, but it is to be expected that only a few
> of them will arrive initially. To prevent the "nightmare
> scenario" - in which a bunch of enthusiastic idiots misspell
> insanely impractical proposals and argue with every post on
> ideological grounds, after which all the real Singularitarians
> pack up and leave - I will scrutinize all candidate members
> very closely, request a summary of the proposed initial post,
> actually enforce the topic rules, and otherwise watch the
> initial moments of the list very carefully.
>I expect that members of the group will fall into a few broad categories;
>each of which, in accordance with the Charter, have something to
>contribute to each other and to the whole. By bringing together the
>aspiring-but-poor Singularity enthusiast and the vaguely altruistic
>Internet tycoon together into one community, it is hoped that the
>enthusiast will absorb some of the pragmatism and knowledge of the tycoon,
>even as the tycoon will absorb some of the dedication and futuristic
>vision of the enthusiast. By bringing together the researcher and the
>popularizer (whether a Webmaster or science-fiction author), it is hoped
>that both will learn more about presenting accurate information to the
>public. The Singularitarian list is intended, not only to create
>individual collaborations, but to create a community.
> Membership:
>List membership is restricted; that is, all new members must be
>First and foremost, this allows us to maintain quality of discussion. It
>also allows us to maintain semi-confidentiality for people who want to
>discuss bright ideas without giving them away entirely, or who are willing
>to discuss sensitive information such as income levels or physical
>location. Of course, for truly proprietary information, you should
>arrange to use PGP or some other form of strong encryption.
>List membership is extended to people with time, brains, influence, or
>money, and constrained by pragmatism, readability, discretion, and
>dedication to the Singularity. The standards are neither independent nor
>"fair", but sensitive to supply and demand. The pool of Singularitarians
>would seem rather oversupplied with brains relative to money, so it is to
>be expected that standards on qualities such as "dedication to the
>Singularity" will be relaxed to the extent of letting in any random
>millionaire who thinks s/he "might" be interested.
>The list is not moderated. If onelist offered that option, I would allow
>non-members to post. If you believe you know something of which the list
>should be aware, forward it to me, or some other Singularitarian you know,
>and we will forward it to the list. (This is, of course, one of the best
>ways to demonstrate you'd make a good member.)
>Posters who publicize list messages not marked as public; cannot spell
>properly, reason properly, or remain on-topic; otherwise harm the list -
>will be summarily removed, to maintain the quality of discussion for
>In no way is this list intended to serve the function of introducing a
>person to either netiquette or ultratechnology; while such people may
>eventually become valued members of the Singularitarian community,
>violation of list discipline will result in removal and gentle referral to
>the Extropian mailing list.
> Posting:
>Most posts should be announcements. A few posts may be questions, to
>which answers are appropriate. Extended discussion is appropriate only to
>actual project and business proposals.
>While I will be overjoyed if there are so many collaborations and
>announcements that the list develops heavy traffic, there should not be
>traffic for the sake of maintaining it. I do not intend to maintain any
>particular level of traffic - only of quality.
>Please do not feel obligated to respond to messages, and especially do not
>feel obligated to argue points. Above all, put in the few minutes of
>wordsmithing that saves everyone else from having to make an effort to
>read your post.
>Posting policies are not meant to be absolute. I, as a Singularitarian,
>have no authority over other Singularitarians. I have provided a place
>for us to meet. I have one vision of what that place will be like; others
>may have their own. To acknowledged Singularitarians, my concept of the
>list is only one opinion. Likewise, my control of the list membership
>does not imply that I have the authority to decide who is a
>Singularitarian - only the job of guessing.
>The topic list below, then, is neither exhaustive nor exclusive. To
>proven posters, it is only a suggestion. It is, however, expected that
>one will demonstrate the capability to follow the topic list before going
>outside it. My concept of the list is only one opinion, but it's the one
>presently on the list charter, so please be sure you know what you're
>doing before exercising that independence.
>For borderline posts, or when in doubt, remember the Golden Rule: A post
>can be boring, or trivial, but never both.
>Topic list:
> * MEME: Popularizing the Singularity.
> * Concrete data about reactions to the Singularity
> * Questions about what to put in an interview, Web page, or
> article.
> * The results of an interview; lessons learned.
> * Where to publish a futuristic paper.
> * Sub-topics: BOOK and SITE announcements.
> * BUSI: For discussion of business.
> * Is anyone interested in starting company A? Specify what stage
> company A is at, and what employees are being sought or seed
> funding required.
> * What kind of resources would business B require?
> * I don't have time to do it myself, but here's business idea
> * I'm a Singularitarian with business D, and I would like
> * RES<> For requests for mundane resources, or announcements that
> such resources are available.
> * Does anyone have hosting space for a complex poll?
> * I don't know how to create a complex poll; is there anyone who
> knows CGI and is willing to donate some time?
> * Where should I look on the Web to find out about starting a
> business?
> * Does anyone know where I can get an fMRI scan?
> * I have 100MB of Web space - anyone need it?
> * (RES> indicates availability, RES< indicates request.)
> * PROJ: Singularitarian projects that have not incorporated as a
> business.
> * Hi, I've started a "" website.
> * Hi, I've started an open-source NanoCad project.
> * TECH/BUSI: Discussion of technology in business.
> * What are the immediate business potentials of ultratechnology
> proposal A?
> * Anyone want to comment on AI project B in my business proposal?
> * These are my comments on Intelligenesis's Webmind.
> * I have a great idea about collaborative filtering.
> * (There is no TECH-only subject line...)
> * ARTICLE: Express an opinion or statement that you think the list
> should hear.
> * This may include wider Singularity-related subjects, including
> general strategy.
> * As in the journal of Brain and the Behavioral Sciences, someone
> may post a response and the author may respond to that. No
> further response depth is permitted.
> * If you wish to respond further, either take it to the
> Extropians list, or write a counter-article of equal quality
> and originality, and post it at least one week after the first
> article.
> * If you want closure, or you think it's important to know who
> "won", use a VOTE with the same subject line.
> * VOTE: Statistical data, ideological backing.
> * Gather data about list members, or learn about general
> opinions.
> * Gain consensus on a subject, so you can say "Singularitarians
> believe..."
> * Start a web poll and include it as HTML. (Non-tamperable free
> polls preferred for gaining consensus.)
> * If you are attempting to gain consensus, please say so.
> * Include an option "I don't believe this is an appropriate
> subject for a Singularitarian consensus." A consensus is not
> morally or legally binding; it's just a way of ensuring you
> have at least 80% support before you saying "Singularitarians
> believe".
> * TRIBE: Events that bind us together as a community.
> * Singularitarians who will be at conventions.
> * JOIN: Announcement that a person is joining the list
> * Whatever relevant personal information (profession, location,
> social class) s/he chooses to reveal.
> * Any resources that person is willing to contribute to a good
> cause.
> * Which projects that person is interested in.
> * RATN: Objection to a previous post on the grounds that it contains
> a rational error.
> * Flames cannot be effectively outlawed, but they can be
> isolated.
> * Logical errors and factual errors are appropriate topics.
> Keep it down, people! Get boring about it and I'll tell you to
> take it private.
> * It would help if the beginning of the post contained the name
> of the logical flaw identified, if it has a name. This
> includes rhetorical tactics and logical fallacies.
> * I encourage third parties to make their opinions clear on whose
> side the right lies. This should enable the correct party to
> break off discussion without feeling that this is conceding the
> point.
> * Please preserve the rest of the subject line; "MEME:
> Singularity poll" becomes "RATN: Singularity poll".
> * META: Discussion of the list.
>I hope everyone will attempt to maintain topic discipline, although it
>will not be strictly enforced. Subject lines do not require tags, but
>subject lines that contain any tags except RATN or META must remain
>on-topic, and discussion that wanders outside the topic should change the
>subject line. This is required so that list members filtering by tag will
>not waste their time.
>Any Singularity-topic sufficiently sensitive that it could not be publicly
>discussed is an appropriate topic, regardless of other constraints, and
>may be argued normally - as long as intelligent discussion is
>Any post not marked somewhere as "public" should be treated as
>semi-confidential - please don't publish it anywhere, or quote from it, or
>discuss the ideas with your friends...
> Don'ts:
>The Singularitarian mailing list specifically excludes discussion of:
> Whether a future is desirable in principle.
> Personal improvement techniques.
> Philosophy, ethics, and morality. Exception: An ethical principle
> may be briefly cited if opposing a specific proposal for an
> immediate action, and philosophical and moral principles may be
> briefly cited as good things to popularize.
> Any question that doesn't reflect an immediate choice in achieving a
> reachable goal.
>Such questions, while entirely legitimate, should be referred to the
>Extropian Mailing List.
> Joining:
>To join, click here. Or, email This will
>place you on the list of pending members and automatically notify me.
>Then, email me with your request to join.
>Use the subject line "SING: Your Name".
>Please include the following information:
> * If you have a particular first post in mind (including a JOIN post)
> include it. (This should be enough information for me to guess
> whether you belong on the list.)
> * Any link that shows we should be begging you to join.
> * Your name.
> * How long you've known about the Singularity.
> * Which projects you're interested in.
> * (If applicable:) The resources, skills, or knowledge base which you
> intend to bring to the list.
> * (If applicable:) The URL of something you've written anything about
> the Singularity, or posted about it to a mailing list. Failing
> that, the URL of any other Internet writings.
> * (If applicable:) The name of any other known Singularitarians or
> Extropians who can attest to your fitness as a member.
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
>Disclaimer: Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
>everything I think I know.