Re: MEDIA: Professor Cyborg.. and the Matrix dilemma rebutted by Donaldson

john grigg (
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 18:38:09 PDT

Hello everyone,

Jim Fehlinger wrote:
From: Jim Fehlinger <
Subject: Re: MEDIA: Professor cyborg

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
>If all of humanity could face the creation of transhuman
>intelligence with Warwick's sense of enthusiasm, I would not fear the


Warwick has written a book titled _In The Mind of the Machine_ (Arrow Books Limited, 1998), which I don't believe is being distributed in the U.S. (I got mine through Amazon UK). (end of post reproduction)

I was very interested to find Kevin Warwick's book mentioned here because it was reviewed by Thomas Donaldson in the latest issue of "Cryonics" magazine put out by the ALCOR cryonics organization.

Donaldson considered the main argument of the book that computers will take over the world to be false and as he put it "almost laughable." First Donaldson says how within human society it is not often the brightest who rule over business and political institutions. He gives the example of brilliant, educated Greek slaves who served Roman masters and never rebelled against them. Donaldson points out slave revolts came from lower down.

As already discussed on this list many times he states that even computers far more cognitively powerful then us would not necessarily be a threat at all. We could program them to be more obedient then any human slave would ever be. And Donaldson points out that they would need the necessary desires first before a takeover and desire does not come automatically with intelligence.

Also he states how there is no reason why we have to give full control over operation to them. They could be programmed to consult with us when anything outside what they are delegated comes up.

To the delight of any transhumanist his concluding argument is that we will find ways to link and merge with the computers so that we will be on a more equal footing with them. But to this point Warwick believes the computers will have taken over before we get to this point.

Interestingly, Donaldson in his review said his favorite part of the book was when Warwick his work as a professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading. He credited Warwick with doing very important work with robots that use neural networks to help them get around in the real world.

Even though all over Thomas Donaldson's arguments sound so convincing I sometimes wonder if in some unforseen way to us now, A.I. in the future will develop a malevolence toward humanity. I already suspect the UAA lab computers have been conspiring for years to make life difficult for the students! They are just starting small with stuff like losing term papers.

I do find Thomas Donaldson's points very reassuring I must say. He is a regular poster on the cryonet digest.

Lastly, I wish to say you should all consider a subscription to "Cryonics" magazine which is only fifteen dollars for four quarterly issues. I think it is the finest of the various cryonics organization periodicals by far and is put out by Alcor. I feel current with what is going on in cryonics when I get an issue because they cover what everyone is up to and not just themselves.

In the latest issue Ben Best tells of his visit to the very interesting High-Roller's Conference and his impressions of multi-millionaire Don Laughlin. Charles Platt discusses what he has learned about cryonics promotion. Michael Perry has an article about artificial intelligence that covers the course of his own academic development. And our very own Anders Sandberg contributed "Tech Notes" where he reviews various technical papers of interest.

Anyway, I hope my post has been of some benefit though the A.I. question has been discussed many times before.


John Grigg

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