Re: Human Speculation on Posthuman Minds & Motives (was

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 11:49:32 -0700

James Ganong writes:
>... a group of children trying to fathom the ways of adults; it is IMO
>the closest analogue to someone on one side of a dramatic phase-change
>(Singularity) trying to understand those who have already gone through
>it. ... I for one can only come to the conclusion that at this point
>in time, no meaningful statements can be made;

To me this model suggests the opposite conclusion. The full time job of children is to understand the adult world around them, and they pretty much all succeed at it. When they do, we call them adults. That suggests that if we put in sufficient time into the effort, we can understand posthumans. The analogy would also suggest that succeeding in the effort would make us posthumans, but this only goes through if humanity were spending full time at this effort. But in fact humanity now spends only the tiniest fraction of its time trying to envision posthumans. So by this analogy we should be able to spend more time to get better understanding without hitting any obvious limits.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627