ExI: Proto-Survey

Eliezer Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Mon, 13 Jan 1997 21:22:27 -0600

>"Extropian" refers to a bunch of people, more rocket scientists than
>cognitive scientists, who want to take over the Universe, improve their
>bodies, and *occasionally* you will run into an Extropian who wants to
>improve their minds.

Well, that sure attracted comment! Not so much by so many people, as by
so many (2) Extropian heavyweights. Which in itself is cause for
comment; why did only the Extropian elite notice this statement? But
forget that.

Grabbing my handy reference copy of "Great Mambo Chicken", we see that
the ration of "rocket science" to "cognitive science" is, approximately,
9 chapters to 0.

Not that Ed Regis is your elite Extropian type; in fact, at the end of
"Nano", he goes: "So we master the world. Then what?" without ever
mentioning the Singularity, nor any of the people he interviewed
mentioning it, and in fact going "I dunno."

The point being, oh James Rogers, oh Max More, that you two are, as I
said, the few Extropians who think about IA. The rest are talking about
rockets, cryonics, nanotechnology, thinking faster (but not better), and
uploading... only to download into a physically omnipotent body and
explore the Universe. The Extropians as a group still retain that
old-fashioned worldview that says that the Universe is out there, that
we must go and subdue it, and that we do this with lightsails and Von
Neumann machines and the accouterments of physical power.

The most powerful humans on the planet, right now, are the computer
programmers... the ones who accidentally stay up for 36 hours working in
their private Universes. No mortal command was ever so absolute. And
the most complex object, anywhere, is the human brain. I would not
hesitate to suggest that a single human brain contains more *complexity*
than the entire Universe outside those lumps of grey matter.

More: Why not try sending out an official ExI poll to registered
Extropian email addresses, asking them to:

Rank these tenets of extropianism in order of personal

A) Nanotechnology B) Singularity C) Libertarianism
D) Space travel E) Intelligence amplification F) Internet
G) Cryonics H) Artificial intelligence
I) Postbiological bodies J) Uploading O) _____________________________

Note that you do not rank the items in each column separately, and the
ranking consists of a simple prioritization. Leave off any items you
never think about, or think are unnecessary.

My results are EBAHJFC, or IA-SI-Nano-AI-Upload-Net-Libertarian

         sentience@pobox.com      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.