Re: A.I. the movie/Kubrick

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 15:14:20 MDT

"Aikin, Robert" wrote:
> nevertheless, it _should_ serve as a fine film for conditioning the
> masses for the serious days ahead.

I really object to this kind of terminology (albeit in my personal, not my
moderator's, capacity). This is not a cult, and technophiles are not a
superior species. We're all humans here. We all have the same basic
underlying hardware. Humanity may be, de facto, divided up into political
factions, but I really don't like this (hardware-supported) tendency to
draw a line from the political factions to implications of superiority and
inferiority. If you assume that the masses are stupid, you render
yourself unable to take advantage of their intelligence. If you assume
that the masses are selfish, you render yourself unable to take advantage
of their altruism. If you assume that the masses are "the masses", you
render yourself unable to plan for different reactions by different

The common assumption by the vast majority of The Media (and particularly
by the executives of The Media) that people are stupid and that it is
necessary to pander to them, is probably responsible for more collective
surface stupidity than the combined sum of all the actual underlying
stupidity. There's a very strong human drive to believe yourself
superior, and that's what's supporting media articles written in
baby-talk, not any actual demand for baby-talk on the part of the
readers. Similarly, one of the strongest negative factors affecting
modern democracy is the tendency of Congress to pass laws that they think
will pander to a public - the drive to believe oneself superior means that
Congress will always believe the public to be dumber than it actually is.
It doesn't matter whether or not people are *actually* technophobic if a
majority of Congress feels superior by deciding that "the masses don't
like science".

Can't you just say that _AI_ is a dumb movie that may have a positive
memetic effect overall? Why take cheap shots at the rest of the world?

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

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