Re: The Spike, nanotech, and a future scenario

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 05 Oct 1997 17:20:37 -0400

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> >
> > I find it very frustrating that the list spends so much time on
> > irrelevant issues of economics and politics. The current economic
> > and political environment will not change significantly prior to
> > the singularity: there's not enough time, even if the event occurs
> > in 2025.
> On that, I disagree. I think that there could be world-shaking developments
> for up to a year before Singularity. It could be that the >Web or a like
> Power pops out of nowhere and takes everything over. It's also possible that
> nanotech or IA will appear and persist for years before the fast-mind problems
> are solved. I mean, maybe you can hack neurons with nanotech to bring them up
> to electronic speeds - neural impulses max out at 1/3,000,000 the speed of
> light. And maybe you fall over in convulsions, and you can't. It could go
> either way.
I agree that the pre-Sincularity era may be chaotic and that serouis
technology-driven changes may occur. I am very interested in discussing
the likely nature of these changes. What I'm frustrated about is the way
in which the group concerns itself with libertarian issues, tax
issues, welfare issues, etc. Even if the libertarian philosphy is
valid in the abstract, the transition from our current politico-economic
system to a libertarian one, or to any other substantially different
one, would take so long that it will be overtaken by events before it
can be completed. Basically, IMO libertarianism is a philosophy that
describes one way in which a human society can constitute itself. But
human societies don't generally change rapidly without a great deal of
distortion and pain. I simply don't feel that such a rapid change is
justified. The existing setup is good enough to see us through to the
singularity without an earlier politico-economic revolution. I certainly
don't object to refinments, but revolution is uncalled for. Instead
as a society we need to worry about predicting and where possible
ameliorating any negative consequenses of the inevitable pre-singularity
technical upheavals.