Re: Major Public AI Backlash Inevitable.

Paul Hughes (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 22:07:51 -0700

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> I'll bet that more people go after me with machine guns for being a
> (natural!) neurohack than will ever object to my efforts in AI. After
> all, an altered human is there, already existent, easy to see, easy to
> conceptualize, easy to fear, and easy to hate.

I'm not so sure about this. It will depend a lot on the what we mean by altered. If there is a way to alter your brain with no visible change, then nobody will notice unless your increased intelligence impels you to act publicly in ways that might upset the status quo. In which case it will be hard to distinguish you from the typical rabble-rousing genius or the streetwise crackpot. And if you really do become that intelligent, then common sense should tell you to keep your more controversial activities discrete.

If by altered, we mean visible changes, like a hard-wired chip attached to your skull; this may get a small amount of attention. But it would be very easy to tell the curious inquirer that it is nothing more than an electrical monitor your neurologist is using to keep track of your epilepsy. Besides, wearable computing devices are about to become very common anyway, so nobody will give you a second glance in either case.

As far as experimenting on children, I'm not sure people will have a problem with that either.. Most parents want their children to exceed themselves. Most often when parents have the money, they are all too willing to send them to the best private schools, music lessons, special tutors, etc. Remember the 80's craze of the baby schools popping up claiming to turn your child into geniuses? Those people have been making fortunes. Many of these genius schools have tried a wide assortment of intelligence increasing techniques - including special diets, drugs, brain machines, flotation tanks, psycho-physical therapy, hypnosis, multiple-intelligence coursework, repeating tape-loop lessons while sleeping, you name it. All of this with the parents full permission. Not to mention, if I recall a Gallop poll showed that a surprising large percentage of parents would be willing to enhance the genome of their offspring, if the technology was available and reliable.

Paul Hughes