Re: Science's Mything Links

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 13:18:11 MDT

From: "Nathan P. Stien" <>
> This is an article about, well, people believing odd things. Superstitions,
> religions, etc.

It's an excellent article, and Joel Garreau is correct in stating.
"[...] rational, fact-based projections into the near future are
indistinguishable from science fiction. Steven Spielberg's new film, "A.I.,"
is based on the work of scientists like Ray Kurzweil, who has nine honorary
doctorates, has been awarded honors by two U.S. presidents, and was named
inventor of the year by MIT. He projects that machines will transcend mortal
brainpower within 20 years."
Although "transcend" is probably an unfortunate choice of terminology, it does
appear that machines will become smarter than people in a generation or two
(thus making uploaded personalities the property of alien intelligence).

Where the Extropians list tends to go off the deep end is with threads like:
"Subject: Re: Believe in God - add a decade to your life" with choirs
(reminiscent of Planet of The Apes) singing reverent lyrics.
That's how people get the idea it's a cult.

Garreau's article continues:
"In my view, human civilization will come to accept that there's not much
difference between information processing in biological brains or
non-biological," Kurzweil says. "That's a political prediction."
To which I'd add that machine intelligence which exceeds mortal brainpower is
biology conducted by other means. Just because a system uses inorganic
materials instead of organic ones doesn't make it non-biological. The really
savvy futurists are those who will transform themselves into something greater
than selfish brutes, instead of dreaming about immortalizing their petty egos
in uploaded personalities.
That's a non-political prediction.

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, and ego.

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
regressive force now operating in society.

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