Re: Extropian Principles reading list

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Mon, 13 Oct 1997 00:54:36 -0500

> > From: Anders Sandberg []
> > Out of Control by Kevin Kelly.

I believe this book is available (in entirety) on the 'Net.

Max More wrote:
> =

> Eliezer: Hmmm, Godel, Escher, Bach *is* a superb book. I worked through=

> that back when I was 18. However, as an overview of AI and cognitive
> science, I think that Hofstadter and Dennett's The Mind's I might be mo=
> accessible. (Or maybe I'll just include both, though this is supposed t=
o be
> a select rather than comprehensive list.) Comments?

"The Mind's I" is philosophy of consciousness, which is intriguing - at l=
when D&H do it - but not core Extropy. "G=F6del, Escher, Bach" is philos=
of, AND a basic introduction to, Artificial Intelligence - which is as mu=
ch a
pillar of Extropy as space travel, Libertarianism, or cognitive science.

> For those who suggested more Egan books, I'll be happy to include more =
> one of my favorite SF writers. I'm not so keen on Permutation City, tho=
> may include it. I will definitely include his brilliant collection Axio=

=46rom "Permutation City":

Peer laughed. "So what are you going to do? Become a lobbyist now? Sp=
all your time petitioning Brussels and Geneva? "Human rights" are for p=
who want to play at being human. I know who I am. I am *not* human." =
plunged his fist into his chest, effortlessly penetrating shirt, skin, a=
ribs, and tore his heart out. He felt the parting of his flesh, and the=

aftermath - but although aspects of the pain were "realistic", preprogra=
barriers kept it isolated within his brain, a perception without any
emotional, or even metabolic, consequences. And his heart kept beating =
in his
hand as if nothing had happened; the blood passed straight between the r=
ends of each broken artery, ignoring the "intervening distance."

I fell in love with his description of uploading. No gosh-wow, but well =
truly _*ALIEN*_. Not to mention that he writes hard science fiction abou=
speculation on the True Nature of Reality. I'd have said that was imposs=
at least before he did it.

Required reading. Definitely. Even "True Names" or "Marooned In Realtim=
don't get that rating.

"Quarantine" also gets high marks, but as a technical study of why you ca=
control humans or Powers by setting arbitrary goals to high levels. As m=
aphorism goes: "Trying to control AIs using the Three Laws of Robotics i=
like trying to communicate with them using the Lens of Arisia."

> Has anyone read Robert Forward's Indistinguisable from Magic? (I believ=
e it
> used to be known as Future Magic.) I think it may be a good overview of=
> far science and technology can be pushed. Perhaps I'll get to read it o=
> the plane this week.

I wasn't impressed. The fiction was amateurish. I don't recall much of =
science, but I don't recall it was impressive. Perhaps I'm just jaded - =
then, so are you. You should really try all of these out on null-X
(non-Extropian) friends, particularly the ones you recommend as introduct=
-- = Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.