Extropian Campfire Tales (was: Transhuman Beach Party)

Fri, 10 Sep 1999 21:19:59 EDT

In a message dated 99-09-05 12:46:21 EDT, tilley@worldnet.att.net (Carol Tilley) wrote:

> But isn't Eliezer's point: too many of us are on the beach partying.

> We're all drinking faux beer out of brown carmelized faux glass gazing
> half-focused at the declining water level..."now isn't that odd?" Unable
> to see the tsunami, because if you can see the tsunami then it's already
> late.
> At potential speeds of 500mph and impact heights of up to 100 feet ( ok,
> 1733 feet in one instance), perhaps there are more desirable alternatives
> than standing on a coastal beach during an earthquake *looking out and
> waiting.*
> I think that Eliezer has already cried-out "Surf's up!"

With all due respect to Eliezer, I don't think so. He's described a tsunami, that's for sure. But he's not telling us that this is happening NOW or in a future so immediate that particular people would be wise to make specific life-decisions based on his projections NOW. What I hear from him and others who project a "spike" of some kind or other is either (1) there's not a damned thing you can do about it or (2) a call to action by specialists and a call to attention by others. Even the most wildly optimistic (or pessimistic, depending on how you look at it) among us aren't projecting such a spike for some years yet.

If someone's involved in work that could lead to a singularity-like event and someone in our group doesn't know about them, I'll be very, very surprised. There are people on this list or involved with ExI or its "extended family" who are at most one or two professional connections away from the leading edge in every relevant discipline. Now, to switch metaphors, consider that this little "digital campfire" attracts scouts who report back from the frontier regularly. It's also entertaining to tell scary stories around the campfire, but that's not the same as the kind of hard-boiled analysis you do in the morning before you hit the trail.

     Greg Burch     <GBurch1@aol.com>----<gburch@lockeliddell.com>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide
      http://users.aol.com/gburch1   -or-   http://members.aol.com/gburch1
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                      -- Thomas Huxley