RE: Major Public AI Backlash Inevitable.

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Wed, 4 Aug 1999 13:34:54 +1000

> >
> > For those following the IA vs. AI thread, consider the
> > backlash now escalating against genetic engineering
> > (bioenhanced food, cloning). And this hysterical backlash
> > is happening despite the most ethical intentions and
> > carefully crafted rhetoric of working biotechnologists.
> It just occurred to me that I've been engaging in exactly the sort of
> qualitative thinking I keep asking people to get away from. The
> question is not the degree of backlash against AI, but the degree of
> backlash compared against IA.
> I'll bet that more people go after me with machine guns for being a
> (natural!) neurohack than will ever object to my efforts in AI. After
> all, an altered human is there, already existent, easy to see, easy to
> conceptualize, easy to fear, and easy to hate.
> I'd love to work on neurohacking but unfortunately I expect enough
> public and governmental interference to make the point moot. Nobody's
> going to let me experiment on 11-year-olds, which is where the most good
> could be done. I doubt it'll even be possible to hack around with
> adults except on some offshore hospital-boat. And I certainly can't run
> the effort via PGP.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Running on BeOS Typing in Dvorak Programming with
> Patterns
> Voting for Libertarians Heading for Singularity There Is A Better Way
There seems to be ongoing concern about the PR associated with transhuman issues. Perhaps this could be handled well enough that the public might become positive, or perhaps not.

Maybe the best way is to remain proactively obscure. Mount a well designed, well funded (not necessary maybe), continuing campaign to get across to the public at large that these issues are unimportant, not interesting, non-threatening, and that the people involved are harmless kooks.

You can always run a two-level campaign; put out the "obscure, harmless, dull" message to the general public, but try to get a message of "interesting, non-threatening, potentially incredibly fruitful" message to academia/corporate world/government funding people(?). To measure success, you'd be looking for low level but positive support in serious journals & intelligent media, and no coverage or low levels of "look what the funny crackpots are up to" stories in the 'danes press.

Emlyn - mostly harmless