Re: Singularity of another kind: was: Singularity: Individual, Borg,

Paul Hughes (
Fri, 04 Dec 1998 00:00:14 -0800

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> (By admitting that the Singularity has the capability to destroy your
> consciousness, you are admitting that the Singularity should be treated as real.)

I admit that anything is possible with a singularity, and that it's real in the same sense that a horizon portends that something exists beyond which I can see. I can accept the possibility that a singularity contains an intelligence vastly exceeding my own. This however is still not enough for me to give up my life for its evolution, anymore than I would expect a retarded child to give up their life so I could evolve.

> The problem with making recourse to infinite recursion as a source of ultimate
> uncertainty is that it makes rational debate impossible - both externally and
> internally. One can imagine Plato saying: "Well, that was a very impressive
> demonstration that the world was composed of atoms, but insofar as we can't be
> certain about anything, I choose to believe that the world is composed of four
> elements, since I can observe air, water, earth, and fire more directly."

Very well said, but that was not my intention. I was trying to suggest that no matter what reality is, my self-awareness has more validity than a logical concoction or a conference of scientist proving otherwise. No matter how astute your logic and where it takes you, you can not escape the unmistakable fact that it was "you" and "your" thoughts that got you there in the first place. To undermine the validity of your "self" (which I think you have done) puts doubt on the rest of your ruminations. Eliezer my dear friend, I think you may have become the snake whose eating his own tail - an inverse Von Neuman Singularity! :-)

> One of us is right, the other is wrong, and that will determine which of these
> pictures is correct, in the event of Singularity. You can choose to believe
> it will happen; you cannot choose that it will happen. Unless, in the true
> spirit of anthrocosmology, you believe that your expectations will determine
> your perceptions.

I think were both right and both wrong. As to whether it will happen or not is completely up for grabs - there are no guarantees. Assuming it does happen, when and how fast will depend largely on the human variable - even if this variable consist of only one person. It only takes one person to make the necessary breakthrough, and only one person to kill the person right before they make that breakthrough.

Where do we differ? I have 99.9% certainty of my own awareness, with everything else at various levels of decreasing certainty determined, as you say, by their degree of arbitrariness. Whereas you seem to put the singularity at the highest level of certainty, with your own awareness somewhere down on the list of increasing arbitrariness.(?)

Paul Hughes