Re: Incomplete Singularity

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 09:42:30 MDT

The idea that some will go on towards Singularity (or whatever) and
the rest will remain, is of course one of the main Scary Arguments
Against the Singularity (cf. Stuart Brand, _The Clock of the Long Now_
and Jaron Lanier's edge piece). Exponential growth might also imply
exponential growth of differences, and this is generally viewed as a
bad thing. After lecturing some first year students on waguely
transhumanism related stuff, I noticed this was one of the arguments
against it that seemed to work best. Well worth considering.

The problem is relevant not just for the Singularity but any knowledge
economy: if there are no strong rules against changing social class,
but doing so depends merely on an act of will/ambition/ability, the
resulting situation will still have some who due to their own values,
passivity, culture or whatever remain down. The door is open, but they
either think it is closed, to hard to get past or that remaining is
good. The problem with this division is that it cannot be redressed
using traditional means like redistributing money or rights, but would
need some ways of redistributing or improving ambition (the later
might actually be doable, by creating a more practically optimist
social atmosphere). And even then we would have the people who do not
wish to rise to the heavens.

Ethically, I would say transhumanism values diversity and individual
development. But it is not based on some narrow definition of linear
progress - we are a bit too postmodern for that - so what kind of
individual development is desirable is in the end up to the individual
to make a decision about. A bit like the subjective optimality
definition of health in Freita's _Nanomedicine_. Now, as I see this,
when applied to the incomplete singularity scenario, this leads to the
conclusion that it is completely OK to decide not to join in due to
one's value system. In fact, it increases the diversity of

What might happen is of course that the posthumans (or people of the
new economy or whatever) want to make sure people staying behind do
this due to their own values as a rational decision, rather than just
due to mistaken information, habit or something else. Hence they will
want to give an unbiased image of what they are missing out on (here I
will just assume ethical posthumans; posthumans with an ideological
axe to grind is another matter of course). Education becomes very

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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