RE: Threats to the Singularity.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Thu Jun 13 2002 - 14:55:44 MDT

Kurzweil, however, IS putting effort into helping people understand the

And I'm sure that part of his motivation for doing this, is a desire to
nudge the Singularity in a better direction. A direction not too thoroughly
polluted by peoples' fear and uncomprehension.

He is not involved directly in technical work building toward the
Singularity, because he has judged that he can make a more unique and
powerful contribution by helping to engineer peoples' *attitudes* toward the
Singularity. And I suspect he's probably right; I don't doubt his
self-understanding on this point. He would seem to have reached the stage
that many "elder" scientists reach, wherein philosophy becomes more
attractive than technical work.

I do think he underestimates the degree to which more directly
Singularity-focused technical work could accelerate and improve the path
toward the Singularity. Yes, I wish he was putting some of his cash into
SIAI and Novamente and A2I2 and a host of other Singularity-ish projects.
However, compared to what other techno-millionaires are doing with their
wealth and their time and their minds, I think Kurzweil's efforts are not
too shabby.

-- Ben G

> > You're right. I do quote him a lot. But that is only because he has
> > written a lot that is relevant to this discussion. I can't
> wait for his
> > new book to come out. Does anyone know when it is due? I'm
> not saying
> > that I agree with everything he says or that I am a Kurzweil
> groupie but
> > don't you think the human race is lucky to have someone like Ray
> > Kurzweil looking out for it?
> Kurzweil is a futurist, not an activist. He argues that the Singularity
> *will* occur. As far I know he is not putting any effort into making it
> occur. He believes it is inevitable. So much for that.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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