RE: Pre-Singularity human enlightenment

From: mike99 (
Date: Mon Sep 23 2002 - 14:55:10 MDT

First of all, I must apologize to Samantha if I seemed to imply that the
kind of cheerleading she (and Eliezer) do is in any way, shape or form
similar to the emotionally exploitative and effectively negative type of
"cheerleading" I criticized. I was warning against anyone at all going to
that extreme, not indicating that anyone on this list would do so. I regret
any misunderstanding, and assume the fault is my own for not being more

Second, I think that brain mapping, whether by means of the 122-SQUID
neuromagnetometer mentioned by Samantha or some similar device, would only
achieve maximal value if it is portable and convenient enough to be
worn/used during normal everyday activities. It's only in those
situations--not lying inside a massive ring of superconducting magnets or
lugging a liquid helium cooled device--that we normally experience the
mental/emotional events that cause us to think and act irrationally. We need
the feedback in real-time and in real-life. Furthermore, as Dr. Persinger
has discovered, we may be neurologically affected by low-level magnetic
fields in our environment which can influence our mental states in important
ways. We need to roam in order to see how and where this happens.

Finally, the reason why I believe that ubiquitous computing and
high-bandwidth wireless will be important for successful Earthweb/collective
filtering is that participants must be able to access the online action
anywhere, anytime. This should virtually eliminate problems of latency. It
should also establish a level playing field for timely input, thus avoiding
the time-bias that would occur if some participants were able to sit at
their computers all day, while others were forced by work and other
requirements to be offline for many hours per day. Of course, current
limited access does not prevent Earthweb/collective filtering from
occurring, it merely slows and skews the results in favor of input from
certain players. As we accelerate toward the Singularity, such a bias would
become more and more apparent.

Michael LaTorra

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Samantha Atkins
> Sent: Monday, September 23, 2002 12:56 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Pre-Singularity human enlightenment
> mike99 wrote:
> > Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> >
> >>1: See whether humans can use feedback from realtime fMRI to help
> >>identify internal rationalization, hatred, tribal-based thinking, etc.
> >>You may not get all the bugs, but if you can get just some, it may be
> >>enough to tip the internal mental balance. Evolution has no experience
> >>puppeteering humans with access to that information.
> >
> >
> > I would like to see this attempted. It may, however, require
> far smaller,
> > portable equipment in order to capture the brain events in the midst of
> > real-life activities. Using functional magnetic resonance
> imaging in this
> > way could be similar to the use of biofeedback machines by
> meditators. Also,
> > the work of Dr. Michael Persinger at Laurentian University in applying
> > external magnetic field to induce brain changes may give some hints.
> > Persinger is especially interested in how transient electrical
> spikes in the
> > temporal lobe are correlated with subjective reports of
> blissful, unitary
> > mystical states. Stimulating different areas can result in
> hellish, paranoid
> > states.
> >
> >
> I believe if you look up SQUIDs
> ( and can predict
> effective room temperature superconductors and continued
> miniturization of electronics that you end up with a quite
> effective way to watch the brain at work. I do not agree
> however that you will find most of the itneresting large scale
> patterns, for good or ill, simply by mapping the brain at such a
> level, much less effective means of accentuating the positive
> patterns and mitigating the negative ones.
> >
> >>2: Collaborative filtering and/or the Earthweb; a means
> whereby one good
> >>idea can very rapidly spread to billions and be built upon by thousands.
> >>Accelerated memetic evolution.
> >
> >
> > I think the Net has already shown us that this is a real possibility. In
> > order to work effectively though, we probably need ubiquitous computing,
> > high-bandwidth wireless, and sufficient security/authentication so that
> > people feel comfortable with a high degree of intimate real-time
> > communication.
> >
> It can, I believe, work quite effectively long before most of
> this is in place. I do agree that security of a kind that is
> *not* seen as synonymous with zero privacy would be a very good
> thing fo this and other purposes. I don't know that more
> ubiquitous computing that a web-app would be absolutely
> essential at this point and while high-bandwidth wireless is on
> my shopping list for many reasons I don't think it is essential
> to an EarthWeb scenario - high bandwidth yes, wireless not
> necessarily.
> >
> >>Or computer-mediated telepathy between 64-node clustered humans whose
> >>prefrontal cortices have learned to talk to one another over meganeuron
> >>broadband connections.
> >
> >
> > This is a development I'd like to see, but one which would
> probably freak
> > out a lot of the population, even if they had no interaction with the
> > clustered humans. We need to watch our backs for approaching
> peasants with
> > pitchforks when we begin walking down this road. Scare
> headline: "When SL0's
> > Attack!"
> >
> If they like that then they will just love what happens when we
> have early neural i/o with wearable computers and ubiquitous
> high-speed wireless. Persons so equipped have access to the
> global computer grid and to one another to a degree that can
> verge on telepathy I see no reason it would be limited to
> specialized 64-node clusters with surgical enhancements. They
> would simply be better at it.
> >
> >
> >>Some form of transhumanity which can be achieved as rapidly as possible
> >>using our existing technological base; that's a big enough hammer. I
> >>don't believe there's much else that *really would* work,
> however nice it
> >>sounded.
> >>
> >>Uplifting the heart and firing the imagination is a crucial part of
> >>reaching enough people, but having a workable strategy comes first.
> >>Otherwise the cheering doesn't *accomplish* anything. Humans like
> >>cheering and will cheer whether or not anything gets done as a
> result. I
> >>am deeply suspicious of cheering, and I speak as a cheerleader.
> >
> >
> > I agree that cheering is both necessary and insufficient. In
> fact, wrongly
> > used it can be downright counterproductive. Homo sapiens in
> large groups can
> > be swept up in mass cheering to the point that they abandon
> reason and go
> > with surges of emotion.
> What I am talking about hasn't a darn thing to do with
> "cheering" of this kind and it certainly doesn't have anything
> to do with Nazi mass-hysteria (below).
> > There is a reason why the Nazis favored mass
> > rallies held at night with torches, marching bands, and
> emotional speeches
> > designed to pluck the heartstrings of nationalism, tribalism,
> racism, etc.
> > Subtract the racism and similar ideas, replace them with
> salvation through
> > faith, change the musical genre, and you're got a Christian
> fundamentalist
> > revival meeting.
> >
> While some revival meetings and equivalent mass therapy programs
> and so on use explicitly or implicitly certain techniques of
> mass mental programming, this also has not a damn thing to do
> with what I was speaking of.
> - samantha

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