Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Jan 15 2001 - 18:15:24 MST

Charlie Stross wrote:
> So, your question for $64K: why is Extropianism so overtly associated
> with unmitigated optimism that it's seen as a joke in some circles?

I don't think anyone could accuse me of being purely optimistic. I take
pride in pointing out an ominous cloud of doom whenever I'm the first to
spot it. Am I to be condemned solely because I think that there exists a
significant chance that humanity will make it through this okay? I
certainly don't think that anyone could accuse me of encouraging a
passive, lay-back-and-wait-for-the-Singularity attitude.

And all that said, I would have to say that the reason some reporters
casually designate Extropianism as a "cult" or a "sect" is that they have
utterly failed to do their homework. All they know is that we like
technology and that Max More lives in California. I see no reason to
become defensive about it. Annoyed, yes, and more annoyed with each
repetition - but not defensive, any more than quantum computing theorists
become defensive when yet another reporter writes that quantum computers
are more powerful "because each qubit can contain a 1 and a 0 at the same
time". Extropianism is not in the class of things that could be called a
"cult" - an "ideology" perhaps, but not a "cult". Calling Extropianism a
cult is like calling the ACM a nationwide conspiracy or calling Worldcon a
right-wing survivalist camp.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:19 MDT