Re: How hard a Singularity?

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Thu Jul 04 2002 - 02:48:07 MDT

Mike & Donna Deering wrote:
> James: "SL4 - Where reality is stranger than fiction."
> James, we live in the absolutely most interesting, terrifying, and
> significant time in all of the history of the universe. The Singularity
> is it! If this had ever happened before, anywhere, we'd have heard
> about it.

Really, no guarantees that we would have heard about it at all.
Frankly, for all we know we are a transcendent SI remembering
its own becoming. From that POV we certainly would not hear
about it as it is in our "future". If the SI transcends time
and/or runs sims or VRs then there are many scenarios, where
we, within such, would not know.

> Nothing we could imagine could be as fascinating or as scary
> as reality right now. Never before have we had to concern ourselves
> with so many existential risks, some of which, risks not just for us but
> for everything.

Like the old MAD days of the end of humanity?

> And being on the cusp of changing literally everything
> overnight, the immediate future is so unpredictable.

I think it is dangerous to hold this point of view except very
carefully. It can immobilize us for planning the immediate
future to the degree we can and thus decrease the effectiveness
of our lives. It can be an equivalent to the millenium hysteria
that the world is changing or radically altering on such a such
date so why bother with normal long-term tasks?

> When I was a child
> I had nightmares. Now my dreams pale to boredom compared to real life.
> Something incredible is going to happen. Some businessmen who have
> become aware of the trends are wondering how to take advantage of the
> economic opportunities. They don't get it. Everything we are familiar
> with is going to be wiped away in an instant. All of our institutions,

Maybe, maybe not, or at least maybe not until some time from now
- perhaps longer than you think, perhaps not. Until then it
behooves us to act as if there *is* a tomorrow.

> our culture, our way of life. Even if it turns out infinitely good,
> 'cataclysmic' will still be an understatement. Although personally
> paranoid, I do not recommend fear. While I myself expect the worst, I
> don't rationally think a good outcome is unlikely. There is no reason
> to panic, we are way past that.

Well, your statement isn't exactly conducive to much except
panic or resignation to something or other making anything and
everything we do utterly beside the point and probably not even
in a good way. Have a nice day. :-) Surely we can come up
with better than this. If we don't the natives might attempt
something drastic like a cultural revolution to eliminate those
darned eggheads and their diabolical machines.

- samantha

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