Re: Michael Anissimov's 'Shock Level Analysis'

From: ben goertzel (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 10:15:55 MST

Amidst all the entertaining hubbub over the overblown language in
Anissimov's article, I think another interesting point about the article is
being lost...

There is an assumption made in the article that the Singularity is likely to
be brought about by a small number of people (say, 1000) who are explicitly
focused on bringing the Singularity about, rather than by the more diffused
efforts of hundreds of thousands of scientists and technologists.

I'd just like to point out that this is an assumption or hypothesis, not
something that's in any way a foregone conclusion.

For my own part, I actually am not sure how it will go. It may well be that
our early maverick attempts to work toward the Singularity will be adopted
by the mainstream scientific community BEFORE they succeed, so that the
actual achievement of the Singularity will not be so closely associated with
the work of any small group. This depends as much as anything else on how
the culture of science evolves over the next few decades.

On a slightly different topic...
Regarding SL4 versus SL5, to me the difference is one of humility versus
foolishness. SL4 as Eli describes it is a combination of technological
optimism and open-mindedness, and the humility to recognize that WE JUST
DON'T KNOW what's going to happen after the Singularity. SL5 as Anissimov
describes it seems to me to be making some fairly specific and ambitious
assertions about how rapidly certain things will happen post-Singularity.
I'm not sure it's a higher "shock level"; maybe it's just a higher level of
arrogance and hubris ;> I am not shocked by the notion that the
ontological structure of the universe may be rejiggered post-Singularity,
but nor am I willing to commit to this belief....

-- Ben G

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