Re: Singurapture

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 04:00:59 MDT

On Sun, Apr 29, 2001 at 11:11:34PM -0700, Zero Powers wrote:
> >From: Anders Sandberg <>
> >What I would like to see is a bit more discussion about the problems in
> >the present and near future that does not end in "The singularity will
> >make it irrelevant", "The government/illuminati will stop all such
> >attempts", "People are too stupid to get it" and "Oh, it is trivial to
> >fix".
> Problem is, as much as many of us are focused on dealing with the problems
> of the day, we are all to some extent or another looking forward to the day
> when our hopes for the future become reality. My guess is that for most on
> this list that hope for the future is summed up in the term "Singularity."

Not for me. While I like the singularity concept, I don't think it is a
good concept to base or focus ones thinking on. It lumps together a lot
of disparate things under the same umbrella and then makes it seem like
the only issue is getting there. I prefer to imagine the future as an
escalating exponential, which we ride while dodging or solving the
problems that appear. There will be no End of History, just business as
usual but each day infinitely grander and more complex than the previous
one. Maybe it will look like a capital 'S' Singularity from the outside,
but that perspective is not as important as the inside view.

> Some have said that predicting what follows the Singularity is akin to
> predicting what becomes of the laws of physics past the event horizon of a
> black hole. Maybe so, I don't know. But it does seem to me that the best
> hope for solution to problems that so far seem intractible (religious
> hatred, world hunger, poverty, incurable disease, etc.) would be the
> application of a good dose of super-intelligent friendly AI.

Actually, I think most of the above problems are not intractable at all
even today. But we might need rethinking policies, convince a lot of
people and do hard practical things (what about an aid organisation
spreading internet-based education and communication, especially into
oppressive nations so that government monopolies are broken? unilateral
removal of customs? new intellectual property laws? improved scientific
publishing and peer review on the net?). In fact, just adding a friendly
SI to the current world is not obviously going to help. How is it really
supposed to make religious fanatics nicer? When the SI declares that the
War on Drug is wrong, will politicians immediately change opinion or
will they say that it is the SI that is wrong and perhaps pass bills
against it?

Waiting for something to solve the burning problems of today in some
unspecified future is not a particularly dynamic attitude, in my
opinion. Sure, we should take radical future possibilities into account
but not *rely* on them.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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