Re: Singularity: Generation gap

The Low Golden Willow (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 21:08:08 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 24, 8:33pm, "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
} The Low Golden Willow wrote:
} >
} > If the Singularity can disturb some of us, or Vinge himself, how do you
} > think most people will react? The Rapturists here have asked for
} > brainstorming on how to spread our ideas. That could be a bad idea, in
} > current format. Most people will find the story "Unknown Kadath"
} > horrifying, not inspiring. If you argue that attempts to stop progress
} > are inevitable people will panic and try to stop you all the more.
} As an 18-year-old, I was part of the first generation to grow up with
} computers. I was introduced to a Mac Plus at the age of seven (I think). I

} Your generation has no trouble adapting to virtual reality and the Web and the
} Internet. (Although some grandparents, the non-early-adopter ones, are
} completely left out.) But you might find the Singularity frightening, as

Er, what were you thinking of by "Your generation"? I'm 22. And when
the Singularity could be something like the Blight I don't think fear of
it is connected to discomfort with computers. Or fear of being
uploaded. It's more a fear of being wiped out.

} You can use computers, but can you freely and without prejudice regard them as
} human? Not that my Plus was human, but there may be a hardwired maturation

Regard them as human? Half the time I regard myself as "an AI wannabee
trapped in a male human body". The difference between the Culture and
the Singularity isn't one of AI rights, or technical capability, or
maximum intelligence. It's one of ethics, of the behaviors of
civilization surviving through and beyond a rapid transition. If I was
in the Culture I'd happily fork, or even destructively upload, and grow
my way up to Mind status.

But I'd be happy knowing that the Amish were still toiling the soil in
Pennsylvania. Not because I have great love for the Amish, but because
a Mind-civilization which had that much respect for pre-existing
sentience would be a profoundly safe and libertarian (liberal) society
for anyone else. The image of Singularity I get these days is one of
everything going totally haywire. But I don't see any proof that's
inevitable. So I root for civlization.

} And I don't find it frightening at all to contemplate stepping entirely into
} Other Reality. I grew up there, after all - it's as much home to me as

There's a difference between "stepping into" and "being sucked up".

} Singularity. Then I continued the calculation to find that 3 years after
} human-equivalent AIs, AIs reach infinite speed, and I called *that* the

} You call me a Rapturist. "Humanity becomes something unimaginably different

Funny that. "Infinite speed"?

} But I grew up, partially, in Other Reality, where all Laws are transient as
} clouds, blown about on the winds of technology. All except one: Moore's Law.
} Things always get faster, more powerful, more complex. Always. Where Other

Always? This law which didn't exist a few decades ago? And do you
really not believe in sigmoid curves?

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"For instance, suppose we apply this to nuclear weapon explosions over
inhabited cities. The Copernican principle says that we don't have a
privileged position within the interval of such usage - odds are, most
of them have already happened. And the odds that there are thousands
and thousands to come? Just astronomical. So don't worry, be happy -
no nuclear wars can ever happen, probably."
-- Tommy the Terrorist