Re: How hard a Singularity?

From: James Higgins (
Date: Tue Jun 25 2002 - 21:24:07 MDT

At 05:14 PM 6/25/2002 -0700, Aaron McBride wrote:
>At 04:26 PM 6/25/2002 -0700, you wrote:
>>Hell, if I had to give the answer to "623 + 377" but giving the wrong
>>answer would kill, well, even ONE person I'd get like 10 other opinions
>>before answering! And if even one of them was different I'd get 20 more, etc.
>>What if the situation were changed to:
>for every min. you did not answer - someone died
>and if you answered wrong - 10 people died.

The question is too simple for this example. In this case I would
obviously answer in under 1 minute because the answer is obvious, provable
and checkable. All in less than 1 minute.

Now, asked a more difficult question where 1 person would die per minute
but 1,000 would die if the answer was incorrect, I'd sacrifice a few lives
to verify appropriately. I'd probably work until 10 people had died or I
was 99.99% certain the answer was correct. I would NOT like this and it
would probably bother me for a long time, but it would be the most rational
course of action. Even though it would probably haunt me for the rest of
my life...

>Let's say you're 90% (+-5%) sure that the answer is: 1000. Would you
>still take the time to consult with someone else? With ten others? What
>if 1 out of the 10 you consult says the answer is 990? Would you still
>get 20 more?*
>It is rational to check with others to see if your theories of
>Friendliness, but it doesn't make sense to not move forward just because
>someone disagrees.

Wrong, dead wrong. For one thing, why bother to check with others if you
just plan to ignore them anyway? It is irrational to proceed unless there
is no other choice. ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING that could lead to the extinction
of the human race MUST BE checked, rechecked, checked again, etc. To the
maximum extent possible. A 10% risk of extinction is way, way too
high. Unless, of course, the result of not acting IMMEDIATELY became equal
to or worse than the result of failure. Maybe at 0.01% chance of
extinction I might back off my stance if a very significant number of
deaths were occurring continuously.

James Higgins

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