Re: [Fwd: QOTD: Moderately Gifted.]

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Apr 11 2001 - 08:38:59 MDT

onsdagen den 11 april 2001 03:30 Jim Fehlinger wrote:
> The Vonnegut quote illustrates that there's more to this phenomenon than
> the machinations of the entertainment industry; there's a sharpening
> of hierarchy in all human endeavors inherent in the technological
> advancement of human communication itself (including, now, the
> Internet).

Has not the Internet lowered the threshold to become a producer? Sure, it is
hard to get a big economic payback for producing on the net, but that has not
prevented people from producing and expressing terabytes of stuff. If I want,
I can always publish my paintings or poetry or philosophy on the net.

> it has been my own observation
> that there's a **vast** pool of untapped talent in the world, far more
> than can squeeze into the top of any social pyramid, and that the
> feedback that that the top .0001% exert on the other 99.9999% suppresses
> that potential **until** there's a need for one of the .0002 percenters
> to step forward. And so on down the line.

Also, a lot of the "untapped" potential is really tapped, but locally and
privately. I think few people are totally uncreative and unwilling to do
anything for themselves - it is just that they seldom show their products to
others. When you start to examine what people do, you find that there is a
lot going on that is not seen officially.

> I've even seen this in **myself**! I was in a meeting at work a few
> years ago at which nobody seemed to be taking the lead and asking
> the pertinent questions, and after listening to this for a few minutes,
> I got up, went to the whiteboard, and took charge (without being
> asked, a **most** uncharacteristic thing for me to do). Afterwards,
> the manager who had nominally been running the meeting came up, **thanked**
> me for taking over, and added something along the lines of "I didn't
> think you had it in you", to which I replied (to myself, at least), well, I
> don't usually **have** to, but **somebody** had to do it this time!
> And it changes your head to be involved in a situation like that --
> alters the wash of neurotransmitters, heightens the testosterone, ramps
> up the neuromodulators, and burnishes up the synapses! Gives a Gamma
> a taste of what it would be like to be a Beta or even an Alpha

I would say the lesson is also that you can take this role. Being an Alpha is
not predetermined as in in Huxley's book, but something you can take on.
Sure, there are good leaders around, but you could become one of them too by
taking charge. With more training you would be a good leader all the time,
but the basic self identification as a leader has to appear first.

I did this with public speaking - I *had to* speak in front of my entire
school many years back. I did, did a passably funny job, and has since then
become very used to public speaking.

> But what does this communication feedback effect portend for life
> after the Singularity, I wonder?

I don't think communication is a stratifying tool. I think the feeling of
being a beta and hence forced to be silent is more of an old holdover of
primate dominance hierarchies, something we can abolish. In a world with good
content filtering, good ideas are good ideas and the originator will be given
due respect. The lesser lights have their chance even when Homer is not
sleeping - because Homer doesn't *always* write Illiads and Odysseys, and
from time to time one of the Salieris has a better idea. Then it doesn't
matter if any of the involved are borganisms, solitary SIs, Culture Minds or
even baseline humans.

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