Re: Review of "The Spike"

Anders Sandberg (
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 18:47:07 +0200 (MET DST)

I just got the book (or rather, it arrived while I was away on
Extro3), so I will not comment it yet. But so far it looks quite

On Tue, 12 Aug 1997, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Take note, ye who post to Our Most Extropian List: Many trenchant yet blunt
> comments about us appear in a footnote on page 261 - and are not listed under
> our names in the index!

I laughed out aloud when I read Damien's speculation about your
possible true existence; don't worry, I'm not going to pry! :-)

> Dispute the first: After reading my section, I stopped and spent a frantic
> day writing "The Ethics Of Cognitive Engineering"(*). Broderick wasn't overly
> fond of - i.e., he was horrified by - my suggestion to tinker with the brains
> of children. Said so in writing, too. So I think I probably did manage to
> genuinely shock a few readers.
> (* =

I think that is an important problem, and I can't say I have decided
on what side I'm standing on. And it will crop up again and again, no
doubt about it.

One thing I found in my neurochemistry reading is that choline
supplementation to pregnant rats makes their children better at
soliving spatial-memory tasks, apparently the choline has beneficial
effects on the development of their memory system. Should human
mothers supplement themselves with choline during pregnancy, even if
we don't know the full effects of this on the children?

> Well, it's not pedantry... it's not lack of imagination... it's not
> fanaticism... it's not bad editing. What they knew - that I didn't, alas -
> was that the dramatic conclusions are what will be quoted out of context.
> Therefore, every dramatic conclusion must contain, in summary, all the
> reasoning that leads up to it. You have to write for your readers' readers,
> not just your readers.

A good point.

> Ah, well. Hence the phrase: "Help... I've been popularized." On the whole,
> I came across as someone worth reading... and I can't expect Broderick to say
> in 6 pages what I said in 40. And it's nice to be referenced; it makes you
> feel more solid, as if your existence is stabilized within the interpersonal
> network of the world.

Yes, it is strange, but sometimes I get the feeling that I don't
exist as much when I'm not online, interacting with people. Must be
that I have left too much of my mind on the net instead of my brain

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