Re: When you can't help but spread the meme

From: Simon McClenahan (
Date: Mon Feb 04 2002 - 12:00:49 MST

From: "Dani Eder" <>

> How to explain the Singularity depends on the
> background of the person you are talking to.
> At the simplest level ("man on the street") I
> describe it as:

Isn't "man on the street" equivalent to SL0? Depends on which street you
find the man of course. I would think that the fact that anyone decides to
join this SL4 list is aware of the Shock Level's that Elizier has coined.

We have to use our judgment to determine what Shock Level we're dealing with
here, and exactly how much shock we want to introduce into the conversation.
>From the Future Shock Level essay:

The use of this measure is that it's hard to introduce anyone to an idea
more than one Shock Level above - and Shock Levels measure what you accept
calmly, not what you know about. There are very few SL4s, and I was not one
of them (too enthusiastic) when I wrote "Staring Into the Singularity" 1.0.
If somebody is still worried about virtual reality (low end of SL1), you can
safely try explaining medical immortality (low-end SL2), but not
nanotechnology (SL3) or uploading (high SL3). They might believe you, but
they will be frightened - shocked.

Since The Singularity is an SL4 category topic, you may want to simply avoid
talking about it to SL2 and below. Unless you are an extremely good
communicator and can talk a person through one or two shock levels without
sounding like a loony to them, I wouldn't even attempt to try and explain.

SL0 Grandma: What's this Singularity stuff you're reading here? Are you
joining a cult? Lord have mercy! I'm calling the pastor for an intervention
SL4 Singularitarian: No Gran, don't be silly. It's just some stuff from my
friends I have that are into science. It's a technical term, stuff to do
with computers.
SL0 Grandma: Damn computers, all they do is screw up! You know, in my day
SL4 Singularitarian: Uh, you know I'm a computer programmer. Take it from me
they're handy. How else will you email me without one?
SL0 Grandma: I'm so proud of you, boy. You're so smart being able to help me
with this new-fangled stuff. I could never do it without you. Come here and
gimme a kiss ...
SL4 Singularitarian: Yes Gran. Got any more of those special cookies? I'll
miss you when you're gone.


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