Re: Rationality and altered states of consciousness

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Tue Sep 24 2002 - 05:39:25 MDT

On Tuesday, September 24, 2002, at 02:55 AM, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> Gordon Worley wrote:
>> On Monday, September 23, 2002, at 05:42 PM, Samantha Atkins wrote:
>>> I don't think the transition guide is the problem. What may be *if*
>>> we get to Singularity and *if* it is Friendly is not what I am most
>>> concerned about today or in the immediate future.
>> If there is no Singularity and there is no Friendly AI then humans are
>> as good as dead.
> I very much disagree with Singularity or nothing statements. Would you
> lay down and die if Friendly AI was somehow shown to be impossible in
> say, the next 40 years? It has been well argued that Singularity is
> the *best* option. But that doesn't mean it is the *only* option.

I wouldn't lay down and die. Rather, I'd try to find another solution,
hopefully one that is just as safe or safer. Alas, I can't think of
anything that I think would actually work besides the Singularity that
will solve the problem of humans blowing themselves up; all other
solutions that I know of merely delay the destruction of humanity a
little while longer.

>> The kind of changes that you want to see are only partially achievable
>> at best. Making the populace more Rational is not merely a memetic
>> battle; you have to get people to actually fix their minds on their
>> own. Even then there is only so much fixing that can be done.
> Sufficient partial acheivement is all that is required in order to keep
> us from destroying one another and keep us moving toward a better
> world. I don't call what is needed making the populace more
> [capital-R] Rational though.

I disagree. If you win only partial achievement, one crazy out in the
desert can still do a lot of damage. You may keep humans from dying
this year, but next year when the crazies release Super Smallpox and 95%
of the population dies, that looks like failure to me.

>> Maybe you'll figure out how to succeed where Jesus and Siddhartha and
>> Ghandi failed. More likely you won't.
> They did not in any sense *fail*.

I'm not saying that the sum of their efforts failed. I'm saying that
their efforts to fundamentally reshape society to end death and
destruction failed. Sure they helped inspire a few more people to be
nice, but it only takes one not nice person to blow up the planet.

Gordon Worley                          "Man will become better when                 you show him what he is like."                                --Anton Chekhov
PGP:  0xBBD3B003

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