Re: MEMETICS: The Triumph of Reason

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 10:46:57 -0600

[David Musick:]
> keep everyone in line? And as the Internet becomes more pervasive and
> bandwidth increases, the meme exchange will be higher than it's ever been
> before. People will be surrounded with ideas contrary to their own. This
> will make creating a powerfully dogmatic belief system extremely difficult.

Can you say "Firefly"? Why shouldn't the Internet allow people to
surround themselves with others who think *exactly* like them, if they
want to? Now that they can find them and communicate with them? What
do you think we're doing *here*? What do you think computer-targeted
marketing is all about?

I've always thought that there's probably a sizable amount of
personality duplication going on; maybe no more than a million or two
unique belief systems. Firefly and its ilk will make that apparent,
perhaps causing a thousand people who all think alike to collapse into a
single super-person, with a thousand distinct levels of attention, with
each person being able to take advantage of the decisions of all
others. Even if there are two many dimensions for points to coincide, a
hundred thousand people who all think exactly the same way about laundry
could collapse into a super-laundry-decider that could spend/distribute
several days a week keeping track of all the various detergent
companies, their pricing, their ethical behavior...

*That's* when government will become unnecessary: When people or
e-people have enough attentional power to think *everything* through,
and enforce - economically - their ethical standards, by being *aware*
of what all the companies are doing.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.