Re: "Web-mediated SETI": Robert Bradbury Replies

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 04 Nov 1999 21:24:49 -0600

Billy Brown wrote:
> Of course, I suppose they could be controlling our minds to prevent us from
> noticing the intervention, but that approach leads to untestable (and
> therefore pointless) theories.

We're assuming that they're hiding, and if they want to hide, I'd tend to assume that they're hiding pretty darn well. This theory isn't one that gets tested by looking, because it doesn't predict that we'd find anything. This theory is one that's generated by other theories about racial psychologies, the Universal distribution of intelligence, and the persistence of initial programming in Powers. It's the subtheories that are testable.

Besides which, if they've got hardware subtle enough to read our minds, they've got hardware subtle enough to intercept the output of any microscopes advanced enough to spot the nanoagents. Or they might have descriptor-theory scanners (or some other kind of ontotechnology) that can just directly read out the state of local reality in ways no pre-Singularity culture could spot.

I still think the theories are pointless, because, believe it or not, I'm a pragmatic guy. In most of these exotic theories, either not much is at stake, or the only significant action is still a Singularity. So why speculate? We know what comes next; let's *do* it and get it over with.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way