LIST: Singularitarians

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Mon, 05 Apr 1999 15:08:41 -0500

The list "" has been created. (It would have been "", but onelist includes the list name in each subject line, so...) The list will officially be launched April 11th, 1999 - please don't post until that time.

Please read the following before registering to subscribe:

You may register to subscribe at:

The list is restricted, meaning that each subscription needs to be approved. Please subscribe now, so that I can "process" everyone by the time the list is launched. After registering, please send me email with the subject line "SING: Your Name". If I don't already know who you are, please include either (1) your intended first post, (2) a reason why I should be begging you to join or (3) some assorted other information, as described below and on the page. Please don't be insulted if you get turned down; it's a specialized list.

If you're a friend of someone who isn't on Extropians but would be a highly valuable reader of the list, please forward this message to them. But please read the page first, so you know which readers are in demand.


I will be posting the following. (Others may have their own posts, of course.)


>From (HTML stripped, so reading the page would be better.)


The Singularitarians are interested in bringing about the Singularity, as fast as possible, through the creation of various "ultratechnologies". Because of our common interest in the success of each other's efforts, this list was created to share advice and resources. This highly pragmatic list is intended only for the discussion of specific efforts and immediate choices. It is not for futuristic debate, argument, or discussion of the Singularity proper. The list is restricted, which enables both discussion of semi-private issues and the maintenance of intelligent and practical posting.


The "Singularitarian" mailing list was launched as on Sunday, March 11th, 1999, to assist in the common goal of reaching the Singularity. It will do so by pooling the resources of time, brains, influence, and money available to Singularitarians; by enabling us to draw on the advice and experience of the whole; by bringing together individuals with compatible ideas and complementary resources; and by binding the Singularitarians into a community. The list will provide a common forum for requesting advice, help and investment; for proposing projects, businesses, and group policies; for announcing updates, status reports, outcomes, Internet resources, and Web sites; for reporting the products of research and investigation; and for sharing news of interest.

Version: 1.0.
Published 4/4/99.
1999 by Eliezer S. Yudkowsky. All rights reserved.

Please bookmark this page as


The Extropians list (as much as anything, the original parent of this list) maintains a continuous sheen of futurism, the quality Ed Regis called "hubris". Favored topics of discussion: A really spectacular piece of technology, an impressive piece of rational reasoning, futuristic science and psychology, intricate and anarchocapitalistic ethics, and (sometimes heated) debates about policy in the remote future. At its height, the Extropians list is a group of extremely intelligent people throwing off sparkles of concentrated future shock.

There were, however, three repeated complaints: First, that there wasn't enough discussion of practical matters, what to do now. Second, that none of the people talking had the resources to actually do anything. Third, that there were too many low-quality posts. The Singularitarian list came into existence in response to these problems.

The first priority of the list is to provide an environment capable of attracting Internet tycoons or science-fiction authors or AI researchers, not just enthusiastic but poor Singularitarians with a lot of spare time.
It should not require extreme dedication to the Singularity to put up with the list environment, simply a slight interest. For those Singularitarians who have not yet contributed to the Singularity and have no resources strongly in demand, the strictest standards of intelligence, netiquette, topic discipline, pragmatism, and general cluefulness will be enforced.

      The list's first moments will be most critical, setting the
      tone and determining the success or failure of the list.  A
      core of high-quality readers and posters will attract more
      readers and posters, but it is to be expected that only a few
      of them will arrive initially.  To prevent the "nightmare
      scenario" - in which a bunch of enthusiastic idiots misspell
      insanely impractical proposals and argue with every post on
      ideological grounds, after which all the real Singularitarians
      pack up and leave - I will scrutinize all candidate members
      very closely, request a summary of the proposed initial post,
      actually enforce the topic rules, and otherwise watch the
      initial moments of the list very carefully.

I expect that members of the group will fall into a few broad categories; each of which, in accordance with the Charter, have something to contribute to each other and to the whole. By bringing together the aspiring-but-poor Singularity enthusiast and the vaguely altruistic Internet tycoon together into one community, it is hoped that the enthusiast will absorb some of the pragmatism and knowledge of the tycoon, even as the tycoon will absorb some of the dedication and futuristic vision of the enthusiast. By bringing together the researcher and the popularizer (whether a Webmaster or science-fiction author), it is hoped that both will learn more about presenting accurate information to the public. The Singularitarian list is intended, not only to create individual collaborations, but to create a community.


List membership is restricted; that is, all new members must be approved.
First and foremost, this allows us to maintain quality of discussion. It also allows us to maintain semi-confidentiality for people who want to discuss bright ideas without giving them away entirely, or who are willing to discuss sensitive information such as income levels or physical location. Of course, for truly proprietary information, you should arrange to use PGP or some other form of strong encryption.

List membership is extended to people with time, brains, influence, or money, and constrained by pragmatism, readability, discretion, and dedication to the Singularity. The standards are neither independent nor "fair", but sensitive to supply and demand. The pool of Singularitarians would seem rather oversupplied with brains relative to money, so it is to be expected that standards on qualities such as "dedication to the Singularity" will be relaxed to the extent of letting in any random millionaire who thinks s/he "might" be interested.

The list is not moderated. If onelist offered that option, I would allow non-members to post. If you believe you know something of which the list should be aware, forward it to me, or some other Singularitarian you know, and we will forward it to the list. (This is, of course, one of the best ways to demonstrate you'd make a good member.)

Posters who publicize list messages not marked as public; cannot spell properly, reason properly, or remain on-topic; otherwise harm the list - will be summarily removed, to maintain the quality of discussion for all.
In no way is this list intended to serve the function of introducing a person to either netiquette or ultratechnology; while such people may eventually become valued members of the Singularitarian community, violation of list discipline will result in removal and gentle referral to the Extropian mailing list.


Most posts should be announcements. A few posts may be questions, to which answers are appropriate. Extended discussion is appropriate only to actual project and business proposals.

While I will be overjoyed if there are so many collaborations and announcements that the list develops heavy traffic, there should not be traffic for the sake of maintaining it. I do not intend to maintain any particular level of traffic - only of quality.

Please do not feel obligated to respond to messages, and especially do not feel obligated to argue points. Above all, put in the few minutes of wordsmithing that saves everyone else from having to make an effort to read your post.

Posting policies are not meant to be absolute. I, as a Singularitarian, have no authority over other Singularitarians. I have provided a place for us to meet. I have one vision of what that place will be like; others may have their own. To acknowledged Singularitarians, my concept of the list is only one opinion. Likewise, my control of the list membership does not imply that I have the authority to decide who is a Singularitarian - only the job of guessing.

The topic list below, then, is neither exhaustive nor exclusive. To proven posters, it is only a suggestion. It is, however, expected that one will demonstrate the capability to follow the topic list before going outside it. My concept of the list is only one opinion, but it's the one presently on the list charter, so please be sure you know what you're doing before exercising that independence.

For borderline posts, or when in doubt, remember the Golden Rule: A post can be boring, or trivial, but never both.

Topic list:

I hope everyone will attempt to maintain topic discipline, although it will not be strictly enforced. Subject lines do not require tags, but subject lines that contain any tags except RATN or META must remain on-topic, and discussion that wanders outside the topic should change the subject line. This is required so that list members filtering by tag will not waste their time.

Any Singularity-topic sufficiently sensitive that it could not be publicly discussed is an appropriate topic, regardless of other constraints, and may be argued normally - as long as intelligent discussion is maintained.

Any post not marked somewhere as "public" should be treated as semi-confidential - please don't publish it anywhere, or quote from it, or discuss the ideas with your friends...


The Singularitarian mailing list specifically excludes discussion of:

      Whether a future is desirable in principle. 
      Personal improvement techniques. 
      Philosophy, ethics, and morality.  Exception:  An ethical principle
      may be briefly cited if opposing a specific proposal for an
      immediate action, and philosophical and moral principles may be
      briefly cited as good things to popularize. 
      Any question that doesn't reflect an immediate choice in achieving a
      reachable goal. 

Such questions, while entirely legitimate, should be referred to the Extropian Mailing List.


To join, click here. Or, email This will place you on the list of pending members and automatically notify me.

Then, email me with your request to join. Use the subject line "SING: Your Name".

Please include the following information:




--          Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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