JOIN: Lee Corbin

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Jun 06 2002 - 20:39:08 MDT

I've been a chess master most of my life (Elo 2207), but
was more famous for my students than for my play---one,
Larry Christiansen, became U.S. champion. In Go, I
almost reached Sho Dan.

In 1966 at the age of eighteen, I became engrossed in
what I call "the Identity Paradox", shortly after becoming
a materialist. What are the implications, I'd ask, of
having an exact molecular copy of myself? I immediately
seized upon the solution, principled from the physics
viewpoint, that there is no objective difference between
someone and his duplicate, a view that I still hold. I
consider one consequence, "the Paradox of Anticipation"
to be profoundly unsolvable.

I entered programming late, and even now, twenty years
later, it's a living but only that.

I've been at SL4 for about fifteen years. In 1981 my
friend and I saw the singularity coming, which we called
"the wall", because it was obvious that if you stand
back far enough from a graph of progress, it resembles
nothing so much as a transistor switching from 0 to 1.
We certainly didn't think so clearly about it as did
Vernor Vinge a few years later, and I'm amazed at how
far some here and elsewhere have now taken the ideas.

I only rejoined on-line discussion groups last year, and
have been rather blown away by the changes since I left.
I left extropians in 1996 because almost no one wanted to
discuss questions at what I would now call the SL4 level.
My last post was "The VR Solipsist", to which there were
no replies. No replies, that is, until 2001, when I got
an email from Robin Hanson on March 13 telling me that
Hal Finney had remembered my post from way back then.
A new thread, "How to live in a simulation" was going
over some of the same ideas. Robin posted an excerpt
of my original post, and I've been back on-line so far
as time permits ever since.

I have complained to friends that I haven't really made
philosophic progress the last five or so years, perhaps
even since the late 80's. That's what I'm interested in:
to obtain the most advanced viewpoint I can.

Well, I found a new world upon returning. Talk of the singularity
abounded (even with entire books being written about it!), and
accounts of fantastic and amazingly sophisticated efforts at AI.
Eliezer and Ben say everything I'm thinking, and more, and
probably better than I can. So I'll evidently be mostly
content to listen.

Lee Corbin

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