Re: Dear Extropians, this concerns ET contact and AI, please read

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 23:54:39 -0500

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 02:16 PM 4/08/99 +1000, Emlyn (and possibly his `misses') wrote:
> >Thanks Jason, this is my favourite post in a while.

Oh, yeah, terribly funny. I find it hideous to know that even being an Extropian is no defense against an organic brain malfunction. I really wonder whether being an Externalist Singularitarian would be enough.

> Yeah, but doesn't it make you seethe not to be part of the A-list? I mean,
> Jeez, I thought those goddamned ET AIs would have mentioned me by name,
> after everything I've done for them.

One guess who *was* on the first list of contactees.

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote (on 07/13/99):
> Or in other words, given the known fact that at least one set of saucer
> experiences is the result of hallucinations, it's easier to hypothesize
> that your own personal experiences - never mind other people's - are
> false, than to hypothesize that aliens would behave in such weird,
> pseudo-anthropomorphic ways...
> But the really weird, and really frightening part, is that when the
> brain malfunctions in that way, it usually becomes impossible for the
> person to accept that vis experiences are hallucinations. No matter how
> ridiculous, no matter how perfectly conforming to the standard report of
> schizophrenia, the victim simply becomes unable to wield Occam's Razor.
> Someday, when drugs are developed that can temporarily induce
> schizophrenia or similar disorders, with an absolute guarantee of no
> long-term side effects, I'd like to try it out - very briefly -
> myself(*). I'd like to see if my mind is sufficiently
> software-reengineered to remain sane despite massive perturbations;
> failing that, it could be useful to know the first symptoms of
> malfunction, in case something ever goes Really Wrong.
> But what it truly is, I suppose, is sheer curiosity; the desire to face
> a challenge; the need to know one's own mind; the same reason people are
> so intrigued by split-brain experiments. Who's the actual master of my
> mind? Is it really me, or am I just a surface veneer of rationality
> laid over deeper forces that just happen to be cooperating? Do all my
> hard-held mental disciplines work just because nothing else is opposing
> them at the time? Organic insanity is the ultimate opponent, and
> without facing it, there's no way I can ever really know.
> (*) No, I'm *not* looking for a rematch.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way