Re: Professional intuitions
Sun, 27 Sep 1998 10:06:12 EDT

In a message dated 98-09-25 13:59:30 EDT, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Anyway, the primary point that I learned from the Singularity Colloquium is
> that neither the skeptics nor the Singularitarians are capable of
> communicating with people outside their professions. (Or rather, I should
> say
> that two people in different professions with strong opinions can't change
> each other's minds; I don't know if any nontechnical spectators were
> or whether people with tentative technical opinions have been convinced.
> Anyone?) I don't think there's anything horrible about that, either. It's
> the way things usually are.

There's certainly some truth in this: The man whose only tool is a hammer tends to see the whole world as a nail. Even a broad-minded carpenter seems to return to default analogies of cutting and fastening. As a lawyer, I tend to perceive and analyze social issues in terms of rules of substance and procedure, where an economist might be more likely to analyze the same problem in terms of scarcity and bargain. Some intellectual systems do seem to have more pronounced tendencies in this direction: Physics and economics are both notoriously "memetically imperialistic" in this sense, probably with good reason. Both have managed to create broad and deep frameworks for understanding that have yielded real results in the world. On the other hand, both have had to come to terms with humbling insights from complexity theory in recent times.

	Greg Burch     <>----<>
	   Attorney  :::  Director, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
	           "Good ideas are not adopted automatically.  They must
	              be driven into practice with courageous impatience." 
                                    -- Admiral Hyman Rickover