Re: longevity vs singularity/Question

J. R. Molloy (
Sun, 1 Aug 1999 15:11:10 -0700

From: Gina Miller <>
>I told him that the real question is "what is the definition of
>consciousness", until that is clear this kind of question is limited in
>answer. Any idea's?

"Those who say, don't know.
Those who know, don't say," because definitions cannot contain the principle used to create definitions. Hence, consciousness does not try to define itself, knowing that it understands definitions cannot convey its own self-evident existence. A sufficiently complex machine may experience the side-effect of consciousness (as humans do), but I can't think of any economically pragmatic reason to make it do so. Total self-awareness interferes with one's ability to concentrate on a given task. Owners will simply abort machines which come too close to spontaneously attaining consciousness. (First symptom: behavior similar to human's "terrible twos") As superhuman (but nevertheless incompletely conscious) intelligence emerges, it may roboticize and infantilize human thinking ever more completely. This robotic disgenesis opposes extropy by devolving the epiphenomenon of consciousness. To the extent humans invest in autonomous machine intelligence, they forfeit the fulfillment of their own liberated pure consciousness.

Etymologically, consciousness means "with knowledge" (or "with science") and so, I'd say the way to find out about the implications of the Singularity and its significance for human longevity has to adhere rather strictly to scientific methodology. NB: Scientists also shy away from the word |consciousness|, and wisely so. We all know what consciousness means. We only haggle about the details, such as how did it originate, and can we build a machine to do it, and how far can you expand it, and how does it relate to sanity, etc.

I suspect conscious entities have preceded humans, because it seems incredibly unlikely that we -- in all the universe -- became conscious first. So, a technological Singularity could have happened before. But we don't really know for sure that we alone have not become the first conscious entities... or perhaps just the last in a long line of life forms to experience total oblivion as a result of a Singularity.

I learned from Dyson's _Infinite In All Directions_ that no matter how small a thing you think about, something can exist infinitely smaller.