Re: effing the ineffable

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Fri Jul 13 2001 - 01:32:09 MDT

Chris Hibbert wrote:
> In response to my comment
> > By the time
> > people (or at least I) will be willing to move in, the resolution will be
> > as good as you want. But someone will have to have made a choice about
> > which moment in the lifetime of the rock to recreate, and at what rate to
> > let it erode, if at all.
> Brian Atkins wrote:
> > That "someone" will be you. And you can, if you want, climb a simulated
> > mountain that is an exact, down to every little micro-crack, copy of a
> > current mountain on the real Earth in realtime. In other words you can
> > import the real world in its current state into your VR, no problemo.
> But if I can do all of that, what would be the point of it? If and when
> the attractions of life within are too great, I'll give up my old ways.
> But I like the reality of life as it is. I won't be going in because I
> can climb different mountains, or because I can choose to climb any
> mountain at any point in its history. I surely won't go in and select
> the "potentially fatal consequences" version. I'll go in because that's
> where the people are, or that's where the interesting challenges are.
> But I predict that when I do, I'll stop climbing. I accept the
> "potentially fatal consequences" because it's inseparably part of the
> experience. It's a reinforcement to keep a certain kind of honesty as
> you climb. When I climb indoors, that rule is suspended, and that makes
> it a very different sport.

I am trying to understand what you mean, but it's difficult to see any
kind of rationality here. Do you consider climbing to be some kind of
spiritual experience, or is the thrill physically addicting or what? I
don't see a good reason to put yourself into that kind of lethal situation
when we are this close to the Singularity. If I had no hope for the future,
and was convinced I was eventually going to be worm food no matter what
then yeah I could see doing stuff like this. But anyway...

When you're uploaded you can do interesting stuff like: back yourself
up, then shut yourself down and leave instructions for the OS to wake
you back up with no memory of being uploaded, and place you into a
Real-Earth (tm) sim. Then when you finally kill yourself you wake up
with your upload-experience memories back intact. In other words it
should theoretically be possible for you to both be safe, AND get the
kind of honest experience you claim to enjoy.

> For those of you have are familiar with Marc Stiegler's "The Gentle
> Seduction", I've read the story and I believe that it's a reasonable
> model of how the world will change. (Remember that the central
> character is also a lover of mountains.) If you haven't read it yet,
> hold tight. I've been working on Marc to post it on FictionWise or some
> other such place where you can buy it in soft copy, since it's out of
> print on paper. This is a short story that is on most lists of
> extropian classics.

Eliezer, do you have that?

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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