Re: Journalism

From: Christian L. (
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 13:53:21 MDT

Brian Atkins wrote:
>Damien, let's face it- Ray has tons more "media power" comparatively.
>Maybe it's all those prizes he keeps winning, or something else, but when
>he publishes that book I guarantee you there will be some sort of media

Are you sure about this? "Spiritual Machines" was (and still is) pretty
radical to the general public (high end SL3), and I didn't see any coverage
from the mainstream media about it. There was one small editorial in the
"culture" section of "Svenska Dagbladet", one of Sweden's largest papers,
but that was it. I didn't see anything on CNN or BBC (maybe I missed it) so
there was hardly any "frenzy" back then at least. The Bill Joy debacle went
by pretty quietly too as I recall (I think the focus was mainly on Biotech
stuff). I think that if there is media frenzy about Ray's forthcoming book,
there should have been more press about SM as well (or has he more "media
power" now than then?).

There is still debate (in academia and elsewhere) about whether or not
*human-level* AI is even possible, so I think that most people would
consider SIs and Powers too fantastical to take seriously. The media may not
want to stick their necks out with such a fantastic claim, especially since
many respectable AI-researchers think that the whole idea is ludicrous.
(Some 30 years ago, the above mentioned newspaper blasted on the front page
that perpetuum mobile-machines was going to solve the energy crisis... quite
some laughter in academia later...)

I saw a thing about Ray's ideas on a german science-program ("Nano" on
3sat). It discussed uploading and AI, and had interviews with Ray. In the
end, there was some professor of computer science as a studio guest. He
simply said that AI was impossible because human brains are analog and
computers are digital. Period. People like these always seem to get the last
word, in printed press as well as television. This could be why there hasn't
been any debates about these things; when people watch it on TV, they're
basically told that it is nothing to worry about.

I believe this was the case with cloning: before Dolly, noone thought it
could even be done, and there was no debate whatsoever. After Dolly: well
you know...

Will there be a similar scenario with AI/SI? Only time will tell.


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