Re: Repent, for the End of the World is near (was: Phase transitions and Singularities)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 04:24:07 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> On Sun, May 13, 2001 at 06:03:48PM +0200, Francois-Rene Rideau wrote:
> >
> > At times, your predictions sound a bit like
> > the ones from various millenarist christian sectarians
> > who enjoin to "Repent, for the End of the World is near".
> Exactly. It is a milleniarist meme I really get irritated at. It blocks
> critical thinking because it both attracts us away from the present
> concerns with its glorius light and blinds us with it. The credo that we
> cannot know anything beyond it is an excuse for lazy thinking, and the
> end time thinking it engenders is more of the type "when will it occur?"
> than "what are the options?".

Agreed in part. I think it does behoove us to, not repent, but ask
ourselves some pretty deep questions about just what it is we wish to
achieve, who it is we as individuals and peoples are, what it is we wish
to become and most importantly how we might get there as peaceably as
possible from where we are today.

The milleniarist theme strikes a chord of truth because we are coming up
on literally the end of the world as we know it. What will we make
along the way and afterward though? What are the central themes? How
do we free ourselves from what is now enough to see with fresh eyes but
not free ourselves from all moorings so much we float off into fantasy
like so many hot air balloons?

> I don't believe in phase transitions to posthumanity started by a tiny
> nucleus (other than that ideas and inventions have to come from
> somewhere, and this is where the entreprenurs of thought are needed),
> they will encompass a large part of our society and economy. I use the
> term "a swell" - a broad change across society, possibly taking quite
> some time - rather than the elitist "spike" of a transition caused by
> some single nucleus.

Here I disagree. The difference in capability and richness of
experience between technological haves and have nots will become so
great and the cost of technology will drop precipitously enough that the
technology will spread extremely quickly if we go the relative slow ramp
up by augmentation. Add AI or NT and the curve becomes extremely
steep. It is not elitism but simply the size and power of the coming
wave. Whether a few doppler out of sight and change everything or the
masses rise that steeply and quickly is not very relevant to the size or
too its steepness.
The result will be substantially the same.

I humbly suggest we get on with "preparing the way" for what is coming
and with shaping it where we can.

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 10:00:05 MDT