RE: How hard a Singularity?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Jun 23 2002 - 16:33:01 MDT

I consider all human judgments regarding significantly-post-Singularity
reality to be basically arbitrary and meaningless.

Thus, I'm not going to put hardly any thought at all into conjecturing about
that phase of history -- unless I'm in a speculative-fiction-writing mode ;)

I agree, you can make better arguments for time travel being discovered in
2050 or 200023 than 2023, but so what? These arguments in my view are only
marginally better, because all extrapolations into the
significantly-post-Singularity phase are so incredibly uncertain.

Which of course makes this whole business very very difficult to deal with,
as we're talking about trying to engineer or nudge the NEARLY ABSOLUTELY
UNKNOWABLE in a favorable direction ;)

-- Ben G

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Sent: Sunday, June 23, 2002 4:08 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: How hard a Singularity?
> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> >
> > Ok, suppose that an expedition sent to a nearby star gives the AI info
> > about rare elements, and suppose this info is the key needed to create
> > faster-than-light travel, which then enables the AI to travel to the
> > galactic core, which then allows it to travel in time...
> Exactly, Ben. What *looks* like a statement "about as plausible as any
> other", time travel in 2123, turns out to require an incredibly improbable
> concatenation of events to come into being. So why did you say
> 2123 rather
> than 2023+15sec or 200023 (to allow for a round-trip to a distant stellar
> object?) Because you're used to science fiction stories that
> postulate time
> travel coming into being around a hundred years in the future.
> > Yeah, it seems an unlikely series of events. But how good can we
> > possibly be at estimating probabilities about post-singularity events?
> > Obstacles may arise which we simply cannot forese now.
> Look, when you say 2123, I am perfectly justified in assuming that the
> foundations of this statement lie in science-fictional convention about
> "when time machines get invented", rather than the incredibly improbable,
> overcomplex description needed to actually place time travel on
> the order of
> 100 years in the future (much too long to be a theoretical
> problem that can
> be solved within the solar system, much too short to cover any
> interesting
> spatial differences). If you'd been thinkin' about it you woulda said
> either 2023 or 200023.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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