Re: singularity arrival estimate...

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri May 17 2002 - 11:33:50 MDT

ben goertzel wrote:
> Yes, but how many of the people you work with, who saw The Matrix, realize
> it's reasonably likely that we're living in a simulation of some sort
> *right now*. How many have begun to incorporate this idea into their view
> of the world? To really incorporate this in your mind does make a
> difference in how you live your life...

I challenge this. If this world is a simulation and [insert speaker
variable] is the main character, then at most one life is at stake and
probably not even that. If it's a mass communal simulation, then six
billion lives are at stake and there is little or nothing we can do about it
in any case except trying for the Singularity - which, if there's any
remotely helpful exit scenario, is likely to be it. If this world is real,
then six billion lives and the entire (*)illionfold greater future of
Earth-originating intelligent life is at stake. So as long as there's at
least a 10% chance that this world is not a computer simulation, and it's
hard to see how the probability could drop below that, it makes sense for me
to act as if the world I see is the real one.

> I'm not saying a Singularity mass market movie would be worthless. I'm
> sure it would help raise awareness just as kurzweil's book will. But I
> wouldn't be too optimistic about the consequences of simply bringing the
> idea into the mass mind in such a way...

I'll be more explicit about it: It seems to me that chances are
exceptionally good that the movie would screw up the Singularity concept so
horribly as to render it forever tainted in the minds of scientists and
viewers. Where are you going to find a trustworthy Hollywood moviemaking
organization? Science fiction, yes, but Hollywood?

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

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