Re: Ethics and the Public

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 18:52:29 MST

"Christian L." <> wrote:
< I think that making the S-meme widespread would harm your work more than
help it. >

There seems to be a tacit acceptance here (in this discussion) that we have
some control over whether the Singularity meme 'escapes' its currently
limited adoption. (If I am wrong about that, sorry ;-) it doesn't change
what I am going to say next) I think we have no chance of limiting the
spread of the meme. Zero! Once an idea is 'out', it has a life of its own.

Item 1: We may be able to help _mould_ the Singularity meme into something
more (or less) palatable to the general public.

Item 2: We may be able to help _speed_ the spreading of the Singularity

The meme has been launched - unlaunching is not possible. I could cite
dozens of historical examples of ideas whose time had come (and authority's
attempts to suppress them :-/) but I'm sure we all can think of many by
ourselves. We are powerless to put the jini back in the bottle. Therefore,
IMO it is very important to discuss whether we should expend energy doing
items 1 and/or 2, and if so: what?

My current position on item 1 is: We have an inescapable obligation to mould
the (public) meme into something i) acceptable to the maximum number of
people possible, ii) easily understood, iii) not frightening. My intent
here would be to reduce alienation, mental dislocation, and knee-jerk
reactions - so that fewer people will get hurt [ killed? =( ] when the
singularity becomes the #1 public and political issue.

My current position in item 2 is: Speeding the spread of the meme is
unecessary, and possibly counterproductive. My reasoning for this is that I
percieve the 'western headspace' to be heading in the direction of increase
acceptence of technology, and increased integration of computers into
everyday life. The younger generations have been growing up with powerful
computers, VR games, mainstream SF (even on TV) portraying
'singularity-relavent' issues. The more time that goes by, the more
inevitable a Singularity will seem, even to the entertainment-anesthetized

--> very interested in hearing SL4 opinions on both item 1 and 2, as I am
always willing to revise my opinions based on better data/reasoning.

Michael Roy Ames.

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