Re: Michael Anissimov's 'Shock Level Analysis'

Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 20:23:01 MST

In a message dated 1/16/2002 3:54:50 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< What is this strange fascination that the word "SL5" seems to exert over
 people? Why do so many people, confronted with SL0 through SL4, feel this
 impulse to top it by coming up with SL5? Oh, never mind. Anyway... >>

Why did the universe, confronted with amoebas, plants, and animals, feel the
impulse to top it with human beings?

<<The absolute primacy of rationality and intelligence is what must be
preserved, above all, as Singularitarian ideas begin to reach out beyond
the core audience of scientifically literate aggressive rationalists. >>

Look forward to Singularitarian ideas reaching far, far beyond the "core
audience of scientifically literate aggressive rationalists" in the very near
future. Instead of insisting that the meme be stapled down to its original
tiny group, (however rational and intelligent they may be) perhaps we should
be considering what variants would have the best net result in conditions of
imminent mass propagation.


In that case, the Friendliness un-aware AI researchers might reach seed AI
before wouldn't want that, would you?

<<The vast majority of fanatics do not know how to
safely handle this mental plutonium in order to use it as fuel>>

Evidently my fanatic publication worked as a fuel to prompt you into writing
a quite lengthy message about fanaticism which I shall shortly print out,
highlight the key parts, and file away in one of my binders to think about,
hah! And it also prompted this string of mails and fired off a good amount
of synapses in those who read it hopefully...I originally wrote it because,
from experience, I thought some of the items stated in your original FSL
essay were out of place and wanted to change them...I also wanted to expand
on each of them, because I thought they were far too brief. If you aren't
willing to spend the time to write such a document on your own, then
unfortunately you're going to have to settle with what others, of various
degrees of anthropocentrism and unintelligence, have to offer in the form of
Singularity-related material.

<<At this time, and from the "Shock Level Analysis" page, I don't think
Michael Anissimov dodged successfully.>>

So I fell prey to irrational fanaticism? I published that page just to get
something, *anything* new on the Singularity into the memepool. I have very
little writing experience. I have very little knowledge of evolutionary
psychology. I think it had a net positive effect however. I also got my
personal work reviewed by one of the most technologically enlightened,
future-conscious, and progressive groups in the whole of history, amongst
whom could be the savior of the Universe. As a cognitive scientist you
should be aware of such intricacies of human motivations.

<<The main thing that I think represents a real problem is the
"us vs. them" mindset - what I usually call the "group polarization"
dynamic, the tribalism instincts from evolutionary psychology.>>

It could be argued that even in creating distinct labels for those with
different levels of future shock is perpetuating a group polarization
mentality. Keep in mind that a successful memeticist (but not a cognitive
scientist) will use flaws in the human psychology to ver advantage,
oftentimes even projecting these flaws outwards from verself for the purpose
of harmonizing with larger portions of society.

<<If you're going to be an extremist, you have to be aware of the forces
underlying human nature.>>

Once again, you should be looking forward to and preparing for the arrival of
swarms of extremists unaware of the forces underlying human nature. The
"velocity" of the memetic being known as Singularitarianism will slowly, then
extremely quickly begin to accelerate, and unfortunately, these extremists
will not have the benefit of hearing what you have to say about the forces
underlying human nature. Pity, but true.

<<You should not use it to divide humanity into tribes, place your own tribe
at the top, and heap hatred on the rest.>>

Fyi, I'm not at the top. SL5 seems to be currently unattainable due to
impracticality in the absence of certain smart drugs, advanced interfaces,
and insufficent temporal proximity to the Singularity event. When you wrote
FSL, what shock level did you consider yourself...? I don't hate anyone. I
just want to raise awareness. Help the Shock Level ascension process. Also,
designating individuals into tribes implies treating the tribes differently.
Do you have any evidence of me doing this?

<<(Hence all the attempts to top the scale with SL5, of course.)>>

Are you denying the existence of any possible progression beyond what you
outlined as "SL4"?

There's some pretty darned hateful language in there, which I will avoid
quoting permanently in the SL4 archives, in case Anissimov decides to
change it.

Oops. Send me a mail of what you considered hateful. I do plan to change
it, I've been changing it around for the past few months.

<<Why hate? What does it accomplish? What good
does it do? It sure doesn't help you outthink an opponent. It is
instinctive to hate, and it may even be politically useful to the
individual to whip up hate against opponents (it worked for McCarthy), but
the point is that it doesn't accomplish anything useful in terms of the
actual *goal*.>>

Not hate, but perhaps "playful ridicule" of lower shock levels could speed up
the process of ascension. Humanity doesn't play by the rules of absolute
un-anthropocentrism, as I'm sure you're well aware. Most people think its
more fun to read anyhow, look at Ben's comments!

<> I stated earlier, I think the value of this discussion outweighs
any awfulness in my non-carefully put together writings. And here, me, a
young quasi-intelligent aspiring Singularitarian writer being put down by the
very intellectual leader who prompted him to write about the topic in the
first place! No matter how right you are, perhaps you should adopt a less
scathing and more constructive-sounding paradigm for criticism in the future,
it encourages people to like you more! Maybe, sometimes, just a drop of
apparent rationality should be sacrificed for the sake of a higher feeling of
brother/sisterhood, which could in turn initiate more, and more valuable,
collaboration and discussion in the future.

Michael Anissimov

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:37 MDT