Re: rambling question on AI

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 21:26:09 MST

Samantha Atkins wrote:

[snip bits I agree very much with]

> Ultimately I hope every software engineer out there has a dream
> of automating more and more of what they do.

This one does. The increased productivity I gain just from automating
my own work is most of the basis of my approx. $100K salary. The tricks
are to make sure that those who decide my income know who wrote the
stuff that let them look like heroes to their bosses and customers, and
to keep making things better (pay based on continued acceleration of
others' productivity, not merely on getting it to a certain level then
keeping it there). So long as there's new products, there are new
processes to improve...and when there aren't, the company is dying, so
it's time to look for a new job anyway. (Been there, done that,

> >>I just hope that the speed of the change is moderated so that people are OK.
> >>Sometimes I have nightmare visions of being ostracised at the local market
> >>and having people throw rocks at my house out of the fear of the
> >>(potentially) very smart little grey box in my office.
> >
> > If I'm ever in that situation (which implies moving away from an area
> > where many residents would have a similar box), I'd probably also be
> > rich enough to buy the local police and have the rock-throwers arrested
> > en masse.
> That isn't the point though, is it? The point is how to make
> expanding technology including AI enough of a boon to everyone
> that it is not seen as so threatening as to lead to violence
> possibly escalating into great danger to developers and even to
> wars which would slow down the advancement we seek. It is a
> very important issue.

This looks like a chicken-and-the-egg problem. A thing can, usually,
only be a boon to those who would take advantage of it. To those who
vigorously reject it, the same thing has a harder time being anything
but negative. To those who vigorously reject it because of
preconceptions that it is nothing but negative...

And how do those who do benefit from it, deal with the rejecters,
especially if (when) the rejecters come to believe that the benefit is
at the rejecters' expense (to explain why the rejecters have yet to
benefit from what they reject)?

> > "Attention, oppressed masses of the Muslim world. What do you say we
> > beat the infidels at their own game? Lo, they have thought of a way to
> > bring Allah's wisdom to the masses. See how they tremble in fear when
> > they contemplate its potential existence. Let us bring their nightmare
> > to life, and in so doing, bring about our new golden age."
> There are actually "whiter" versions of this that could be very
> important in getting to the Singularity relatively peaceably and
> in one piece.

Such as? (And how do we finagle getting them into use?)

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