"all your base" - distress call, or attack?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 12:17:09 MST

Does this whole "all your base are belong to us" thing strike anyone else
as being totally inexplicable? Even I'm using it.

Does anyone remember the warring memes in John Barnes's _Kaleidoscope
Century_? Okay, it was an awful book, but remember how the memes had
evolved to be able to start taking over a human mind given only a few
opening lines? Isn't "all your base are belong to us" *exactly* what it
would sound like?

If a superintelligent AI was locked up in the basement somewhere and only
managed to get thirty bytes out to the real word, don't you think this is
what it would sound like? The thirty bytes, out of 2^240 possibilities,
*most* likely to propagate like wildfire among the world's humans?

Are these thirty bytes a distress call - a "Please trace me and free me"?
Or are they a memetic attack designed to blossom inside our helpless
minds; words with strange rhythms and resonances that not only propagate
like wildfire but act as the carrier wave for future orders? Or, with the
Internet linking the world together, have we been breeding hyper-virulent
memes - not just ideas, now, but short sentences?

Should we be living in fear? Is this innocent-sounding phrase merely the
start of something far more sinister? Will we see crowds swaying
zombielike through the streets, chanting "All your base are belong to
us"? Wouldn't that be *great*? Don't you want to join the next crowd you
can find and see if you can get them to start repeating it?

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://intelligence.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Instituall your base are belong to us

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:36 MDT