Singularity intros (was: Si definition of Friendliess)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Apr 06 2001 - 16:02:09 MDT

Everyone remember to change the subject line - archives don't help if you
can't find anything in them...

Jimmy Wales wrote:
> Arona Ndiaye wrote:
> > With all due respect Chris, should I need to 'tear down' a Chevy 350 engine
> > I would spend time & sweat on learning anything I can about engines (even if
> > it takes me 3 years) before asking for help... or I'd ask someone else to do
> > it. I wouldn't expect someone to dumb it down for me.
> ???
> Of course you would expect someone to "dumb it down" for you, wouldn't you?
> That's the best way to learn!

You'd expect someone to write an introduction, presenting the concepts in
order so as to build complex concepts out of simple ones. You'd start
with complete discussions that could be understood at your current level
of knowledge, while understanding that such a discussion does not enable
you to tear down an engine, invent new theories of physics, and so on.

The problem is that I must, from experience, express strong skepticism
that anyone who reads a simplified overview of the Singularity will decide
that it would take them three years - or even two weeks - to learn
"enough" about it. Popularizations are always more emotionally satisfying
than introductions. I write introductions, but I could easily be
memetically outcompeted.

If a simplified overview is presented as being sufficient knowledge,
*that* constitutes "dumbing down".

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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