Re: Extropian Form Letter (was: an exhortation to action)

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 01 Dec 1996 04:07:08 -0500

Twirlip of Greymist wrote:
> One definition of the Singularity which may not be on the various
> definition pages: a poetic term to refer to <blah> which is no more
> rigorously accurate than 'sunrise' and 'sunset'.
> On Nov 30, 11:40pm, Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
> } Your statement about the invention of the Singularity occurring in that
> } novel may be incorrect; my first encounter with it was in Vinge's
> } postscript to the story "Run, Bookworm, Run!" We are not to mention the
> Correct, I think.
> } word "Extropian" unless necessary; we are packaging the idea of the
> } Singularity, not the cult phenomenon. Individualism is not a necessary
> Alas, some of us may think that the strong concept of the Singularity is
> more cultish than general extropianism.
> And are you trying to grab the masses, or a majority of sophisticated
> technical people?
> } > 1. Computers double in power every two subjective years.
> } The easiest argument to understand. Attention-catcher.
> And the easiest to doubt has predictive power. And I think Eugene,
> perhaps among others, has challenged the metric of "power" used.
> } > 2. Recursive intelligence amplification.
> } Another easy argument. Both give the flavor of the Singularity.
> This gives it best, I think. However, as whether any intelligence
> amplification has yet happened, let alone whether it would be recursive,
> is not fully accepted here, this may not be a convincing argument.
> } We are creating and packaging a meme and our sole goal
> } is that it infect a majority of the human race ASAP!
> Oh, I guess this answers my question. How will Bangladeshi and African
> peasants respond to this meme package?
> } Can I have some constructive criticism of the *outline*,
> How about of purpose? Okay, so I haven't been that constructive.
> Sorry. A bit hard to be, when I'm leaning toward a vague idea of
> Universal Self-Aware Turning Machines as a refinement of the idea of
> Universal Turing Machines, which removes the philosophical (although not
> entirely the practical) point of the Singularity.
> And I wonder about the statement that "a human from only a few thousand
> years ago couldn't understand our society". Many, perhaps most, would
> be terribly confused, true. But a child from then (we assume) would be
> no different from our children raised now, and I suspect that there
> would have been some people, flexible of mind, who could have adjusted.
> Actually, that raises a point I hadn't thought of before. Is the
> Singularity supposed to be incomprehensible to a human raised in/beyond
> it? This certainly wasn't necessarily the case for Vinge -- "Original
> Sin" and "Just Peace" are set post-Singularity, yet the star humans
> actually seem more or less unaugmented. It is their tools that don't
> make sense, particularly in "Original Sin".

If you read "Original Sin" carefully, you see that (hold on, thats the
one on Shiva, right?) humans only take on "human" aka material form when
dealing with more primitive races like the Shivans, who are still in a
presingularity world. Quotes like "remember spaceships?", and "we are
projecting an image of what the Shivans would imagine a space battleship
would look like" show that humans no longer use such antiquated

Is "Just Peace" the one set on New Canada ? If so, carefully read the
first section, on the agent's arrival, as well as many of his internal
subvocalizations about life back on earth.

As for appearing unaugmented, that woud be a natural outgrowth of any
Prime Directive with regard to presingularity cultures: you must appear
unaugmented. Besides, I would imagine that the more sophisticated
technology would require just as sophisticated support technology, which
would be unavailable on primitive worlds like Shiva or New Canada. in
the case of New Canada, the colonists would have chosen no augmentation
in order to become the new adams and eves of a new world. Also, remember
the agent saying "If I'm killed, another copy will not be sent again" or
words to that effect. Why? because he knows that his analogue on earth
and all the people he left are not going to be even comprehensible, as
they are starting on the steep part of the Singularity, and probalby
won't even be in this universe in a few years.


Michael Lorrey --------------------------------------------------------- President Northstar Technologies Agent Inventor of the Lorrey Drive --------------------------------------------------------- Inventor, Webmaster, Ski Guide, Entrepreneur, Artist, Outdoorsman, Libertarian, Certified Genius.