Re: Repent, for the End of the World is near

From: Francois-Rene Rideau (
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 14:19:47 MDT

On Sun, May 13, 2001 at 02:36:37PM -0400, wrote:
> There are several skeptics about immanent Singularity on this list,
> including myself.
I suppose you meant "imminent" rather than immanent, didn't you?
I for one think that we are in a transition phase,
and that sooner or later, something that looks like
what some people here seem to call "the Singularity"
(emergence of some form of individual existence significantly
different from what the human race used to be) will happen.
I do think such "Singularity" is _immanent_ to the progress of mankind
(but I haven't RTFM'ed enough yet to have a good enough opinion
on what people here actually call the Singularity -- it's on my TODO list).
I don't think it is _imminent_ at all, though.
I don't expect it in my life time, except as a faint probability
in a few decades at the very least, if I help it well enough.

> I'm curious whether anybody on this list takes actions that would be
> irrational or unusual under the general assumption of no immanent
> Singularity. For example, taking a 125% mortgage on your house
> (since you may not need to pay it) or refusing professional education
> intended primarily for financial gain.
This reminds me of an idea I had after some Jehovah's witness
told me the End of the World was near: next time I meet a JW,
I want to loan him money with a high interest, that he'd only start
paying me back after a few decades, way after the remotest date
he expects the end of the world to happen. Problems being:
(1) to convince the JW that he is not doing anything dishonest
 accepting this deal, or betting money at all (maybe find some
 non-monetary way of turning things, so he won't be frightened?)
(2) the JW actually being solvent and willing to pay when the time comes
 to pay his debt.
(3) such a loan contract holding in court, rather than be cancelled as fraud.

This now reminds me of Robin Hanson's obsession about putting betting markets
everywhere. How can we lower transaction costs so that it becomes possible
to actually bet on more and more topic?

[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | ]
[ TUNES project for a Free Reflective Computing System | ]
The more one knows, the more one knows that one knows not. Science extends
the field of our (meta)ignorance even more than the field of our knowledge.

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