Re: Uplifting 666

Charlie Stross (
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:55:49 +0000

On Tue, Nov 30, 1999 at 11:09:45PM -0800, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> There are some days when this list simply goes off the deep end.

Only just noticed, hmm?

> Daniel, writes about wanting to upload octopodes, which are
> either the latin plural of octopus or an acapella singing
> group (according to some subset of the 149 Altavista refs).

"Excuse me, I want to return this time-line. It is silly."

"It's not silly, it's just accelerating a bit erratically."

"Look here -- they're burning books in Edinburgh and trashing genetically modified crops in Mexico. The New World Order, which is run by retread sixties flower children, is being attacked by cybernetic hippies in Seattle; meanwhile they're uploading lobsters in San Diego. What sort of sense does that make?! I tell you, this time-line is silly!"

"It's not silly, I tell you! It's a very good time-line. Singularity guaranteed by 2030, or your money back."

"Listen, this time line has 'satire' written all over it. The Russians are threatening to vote communist! They've managed to make nematode worms immortal but they couldn't put an astronaut on the Moon in the next decade! Tofu turns out to have hidden health hazards! The nations of Europe have finally unified without a dictator somewhere in the frame, and the first thing they do is turn their attention to harmonizing the curvature of bananas! And in Alaska they've just made it illegal to look at a moose out of a moving aeroplane. I tell you, this time line is SILLY. It has stopped being serious. It doesn't make sense. If this time line was a TV show it would be 'Monty Python'. Funny, surreal, satirical, it is NOT SERIOUS! I am telling you that this time line what you told me would deliver a singularity on schedule IS SILLY!"

"It's not silly, it's just pining for the eschaton."

> Given the heavy labor protests involved against the WTO,
> one thing that becomes clear is -- we better get nanotech
> before we get AI, because if we get AI first, there are
> going to be a lot of out-of-work people who are going to
> be very unhappy. At least with nanotech first, we can tell
> tell them they have to retrain as design & QA engineers.

Disagree; it's _amazing_ how much TV most people watch in a week. Can you imagine how much more they'll lap up given the availability of cheap, powerful AI-generated brain candy?

Never underestimate the utility of bread and circuses. Our society can already provide the bread; now it's time for cheap personalized circuses.

(Although the whole nanotech/AI thing leaves me in mind of the joke about the chicken and the egg. See, there's this chicken relaxing in bed next to an egg. They're both exhausted, maybe smoking a cigarette. The egg turns to the chicken and says, "well, now we know.")