Re: How hard a Singularity?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Jun 24 2002 - 03:40:09 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
>> I can imagine that an SI has to crawl to the galactic core at C in
>> order to travel back in time, thus taking a great deal *more* than 100
>> years, but 100 years of physical time to do anything that can be done
>> in this solar system - I can't buy it. That's ten billion years!
>> What on heaven or Earth could possibly take that long?
> That the SI thinks some things are more interesting to do than simply
> endlessly maximizing its own efficiency to your theoretical limits? It
> is only 10 billion years if that full optimization is seen as desirable
> at breakneck speed. I don't yet believe that is a given.

Someone has to do it. A world in which time travel exists but your species
doesn't possess time travel is not a world in which you or anyone else can
be safe. Someone has to race ahead as fast as possible, to the limits of
technology, even if it means sacrificing some of the fun, so that everyone
else can relax. The mooks in _Diaspora_ ignored this simple principle, and
look what happened to them.

Besides, if people are stopping to smell the roses, I want to be in on the
fun too, even if I'm dead. I bet Socrates feels the same way, and I know
Ben Franklin does. So if time travel to a time before the construction of
the time machine is possible and non-reality-destroying, that's a strong
reason to build a time machine sooner rather than later.

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

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