Re: Singularity: Generation gap

The Low Golden Willow (
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 13:24:42 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 25, 8:51pm, "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
} The Low Golden Willow wrote:
} >
} > 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.
} Yes, but *why* does someone fear being wiped out?
} but the root still lies in xenophobia. And someone totally comfortable with

Why does someone fear dying? I'm not even going to answer that.

Hmmph. I can't remember your original post in detail. I grant that
the younger Western population will have a higher fraction of people
comfortable with computers and exotic applications thereof. Including
AIs and uploads. I'm sure this isn't universal (in our generation) and
I doubt it's even a majority. (A majority might be comfortable with
using Macs or Windows.) The fraction who would regard a Vingean
Singularity with enthusiasm is, I suspect, still minuscule. It may be
much larger than the fraction of older people, but it is still small. I
base this on my general knowledge of attitudes at Caltech, not one of
the bastions of Luddism. I'm not sure about the fraction which would
believe a Singularity is inevitable or even possible.

} What is the "Culture", and who is this author whose books I clearly need to buy?

I think you've been skipping through some of my posts :) ; I've been ranting
about the Culture for a while now. It's an extropian society, near
Utopia, by an anarcho-socialist author, Iain M. Banks. What I haven't
mentioned before is that the universe has two of what I'd consider
Singularities. There's the realistic one -- nano, AI, genofixing -- and
a made up one, Subliming. Compare _Marooned in Realtime_: the high
techs were hard for Wili to understand, but the human race had
disappeared as well.
Go to SubCulture, go to "A Few Notes on the Culture", by Banks himself.

} humans may upgrade at leisure.
} The former sounds like a simple failure of imagination. The latter depends on
} Power Ethics, which I'm tired of talking about. Flip a coin.

Upgrade at leisure, although that's not how I thought Kadath ended.
As for Power Ethics... civilized humans made civilized human+ AIs which
made civilized human++ AIs which made... civilized Minds.

Conceptions of the Singularity sometimes seem to involve a single
runaway mind, a la Kadath or the Blight taking over High Lab. Part of
the Culture is, I think, the applicability of peer pressure at all
levels, reinforcing whatever ethics were inherited from before.

}>} 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
} 1) Moore's Law has held for, what, 30 generations? That's a human millennium
} or thereabout, right? Long enough for me.

You extrapolate from a millenium to "always"? 30 doublings is only a
billion, anyway. Hardly enough time to conclude that there are no
limits to progress.

Moore's Law applies to fab plant costs as well, does it not?

Enhanced intelligence will have its work cut out for it in designing the
even more enhanced intelligence.

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

The green hills of Ulster, the white causeway high
The beacon of Warshal throws its flame to the sky
The hunt and the threat let the coward abjure
Our hope is in God and in Rory O'Moore!