Re: more on Brand and the Singularity idea

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Tue Jan 16 2001 - 15:18:40 MST

Hal Finney wrote:
>My view of this is that it doesn't matter that much whether our
>descendents are meat or metal. ...
>I realize that this is an area where people have strong instincts,
>... But it is surely possible to free ourselves for
>a moment from these prejudices and to see the fundamental similarities
>between the two.
>If most people have never looked at things this way, I believe it is
>because they have never been presented with the argument. Not everyone is
>persuaded, of course. But most people who laugh at or scorn Extropians
>for their technophilia have never considered the issues deeply.
>Over time I believe we will see more people coming to share our views,
>and in fact this is already manifest in the increasing public prominence
>of Extropianism.

OK. Imagine we take a focus group of twelve random adults in the US
and let you have them for eight hours, during which you will present your
argument, some capable opponent will present an opposing view, and they
will discuss it among themselves, etc. What fraction of them will then a
gree with you at the end? I'd bet it would be six or less.

This is an experiment that can be done now for a few thousand dollars
at most.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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