Re: Singularity: Generation gap

Eric Watt Forste (
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 14:04:32 -0700

Eliezer Yudkowsky writes:
> Yes, but *why* does someone fear being wiped out?
> Maybe it's indirect - xenophobes to fiction to popular "Borg" image
> to fear - but the root still lies in xenophobia.

There are many other possible reasons than generalized xenophobia.
For instance, I've been busted and treated roughly by cops for
things that I don't consider criminal, and I've been robbed at
knifepoint, and have had a gun held to my head in an attempted
robbery. These experiences can instill an awareness of the
possibility that there are some elements of my cosmos that are out
to get me, and that awareness really doesn't have its "root" in
generic xenophobia. It has its root in concrete experiences.

I'm not afraid of the Singularity; I just think it's a concept that
is too general, too diffuse, and admits of vastly too many different
reasonable interpretations to be very useful as a communications
tool. I'm not sure what conversations about the Singularity are
accomplishing. My whole attitude toward the Singularity is that
things are going to get weirder than I can possibly imagine right
now, in my lifetime. On the one hand, that's not something that
people have had to deal with before. On the other hand, lots of
religions have insisted on something like this, and people have
been practicing and developing these religions for a couple of
millennia, so maybe it is something that people in general are
prepared for. That's about all I think there is to be said on the
matter in general, and on this list I enjoy discussions of the

It *is* useful to use notions of the Singularity as Vinge did and
the Spike as Broderick did, when addressing a wider audience, the
sort of people who try our patience at times. But these notions
are not so useful on a list like this one. Most people here already
know that things are getting weirder (and mostly better) and will
continue to do so at an accelerating rate at least until the
world has been changed beyond recognition.

> don't expect to be in charge, and it looks to me like the logic of
> Libertarianism breaks down if you're omniscient For All Practical
> Purposes.

Sorry, I'm calling you on this one. "omniscient For All Practical
Purposes" looks like a phrase with null semantic content to me.
Could you please try rephrasing whatever it was you intended to

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception -pcd