RE: "Someone ought to do something" posts

From: Michael LaTorra (
Date: Wed Sep 19 2001 - 19:54:53 MDT

Eliezer certainly has the right to call us all to account, since his
commitment to Friendly AI is total.

My commitment is necessarily much less, as I am neither rich, nor a
high-level programmer, nor a public figure. I do contribute small amounts to
ExI and, moments ago, gave money directly to SIAI via the website PayPal

As a university instructor in technical communication, I have also made a
point of giving a PowerPoint presentation about the Singularity at the end
of my courses every semester, in the hope that some of my science and
engineering students may be inspired to apply their skills to this goal. (I
don't mention SIAI, since I know that Eliezer has been sensitive about the
potential for stirring up opposition and has criticized me directly in the
past; I use Kurzweil, Drexler, Moravec and Vinge instead.)

What I am saying, in essence, is that I am doing what I am capable of within
the constraints of my life circumstances (earning a living, supporting wife
and 3 children, etc.). I wish I could do more. Unless or until I find a way
to do more, all I can offer is what I can spare. Maybe it's not enough-it's
certainly not a lot. But perhaps over time if enough of us add our own
portion to what Eliezer and Brian and others are doing, we can give them
just enough to do the job.

A pious hope? A self-justification? No, just an admission of limits and an
intention to overcome.


Michael LaTorra
Extropy Institute:
Alcor Life Extension Foundation:
Society for Technical Communication:

-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 7:07 PM
Subject: "Someone ought to do something" posts

What's the point of writing "someone ought to do X" or "the transhumanist
community ought to do X" or "Singularitarians ought to do X"? What good
does it do? Which existing project should we halt to work on X? The
people who have crossed over to doing something about it are not idle;
they are working on whatever it was that moved them to cross over.

"Someone ought to do X" is not news. "I am doing X" is news. Let SL4 be
a refuge for the latter.

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

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