Re: Pre-Singularity human enlightenment

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Sep 20 2002 - 11:14:22 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Samantha Atkins wrote:
> >
> > I also think that we need to learn to think in a much more "holistic"
> > or integral manner with much more real care for the maximization of all
> > individual potentials before we get to Singularity. Again, I don't
> > see how just getting to Singularity makes this occuring more likely if
> > the groundwork has not been laid. Sure the Singularity could simply
> > establish this, plus or minus "Transition Guides", but we need as much
> > of this as we can possibly get beforehand if we are to survive to
> > reach Singularity.
> What are you going to do that hasn't been tried in the last 50,000 years?

Considering that we haven't really bad even written records for
more than 10,000 years, that is about 40,000 years too much to
consider. Also, until recently, as I have attempted to point
out, we were not in a technological and economic position to
escape certain harsh realities. Those potentially open new
possibilities for how we consciously perceive what "life is all

Now, don't get me wrong. The above is a good question.
However, I am not yet prepare to offer an answer I believe goes
deep enough to satisfy.

> Remember, us AIfolk have to deal with the shadow of fifty years of
> failure; everyone wants to know what we're going to do that hasn't been
> tried before. You have to dig yourself out from under the heap of other
> people's failures; show that your thinking is new enough not to belong in
> the trash heap with the things that have been tried before.

I think this is a poor way of thinking. Each effort stands more
on its own merits without being bogged down by everything
before. Yes we learn from past failures but we do not have to
personally redeem all that baggage.

> Why is your thinking that new? Why are your plans that original?

New and original are not necessarily primary criteria. The
situation is new. The communication bandwidth is new. Can
something effective be done with that? Perhaps. It is to be

> Understand, I am not asking this in order to be difficult. I can think of
> at least three things you could try, in terms of promoting greater human
> enlightenment before the Singularity, that have never been tried before.
> What I want to know is what *you're* thinking of.

Please share those things. They may make a real difference. My
thinking is early and tentative. I am not fully ready to lay it

> It doesn't do much good to issue calls to action without a strategy that
> promises to work. Not a strategy that *sounds* good. Not a strategy
> that blazes like a banner and uplifts your heart. A strategy which,
> unlike the stuff that's been previously tried over the last 50,000 years,
> will actually work.

Uplifting the heart and firing the imagination is of course
still a crucial part of reaching enough people. What do you
believe will actaully work?

> > I am probably expressing this inadequately. But I believe that we
> > sometimes make the mistake of overemphasizing the intellect side of SAI
> > and underemphasizing its "heart" - the deep appreciation, caring for,
> > compassion for, nurturing of all. A god sized being without that
> > would be extremely problematic. Our conceptions of SAI are in danger of
> > being unbalanced in much the same ways that we ourselves lack balance.
> Again: What are you going to do, and why is it going to work when
> everything previous has failed? To quote Doonesbury, "Let's kick butt!"
> is not a plan unless you know which butts to kick, how far, and in which
> direction.

That notion of kicking butt is actually almost diametrically
opposed to what I believe needs to happen.

- samantha

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