Re: continuity of self [ was META: Sept. 11 and Singularity]

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Sep 16 2002 - 08:24:28 MDT

Cliff Stabbert wrote:
> BG> The "hundredth monkey" effect posited by New Agers for some time,
> BG> has yet to be observed en masse..
> I hadn't heard of this, so I have just received some education via
> Google. Of course in human societies such effects (including, e.g.,
> "Rubik's" Cube being close-to-simultaneously invented/discovered by
> various parties) can be explained in a number of other ways.

Google harder. The "hundredth monkey" effect is a known urban legend that
started as a distortion of real research done on the origin and spread of
potato-washing behavior among macaques on the Japanese island of Koshima.
  One genius, a juvenile female, developed the habit of carrying sweet
potatos in water to wash off the dirt; from there it spread to other
children, who taught it to their parents (shades of the Internet
revolution). The idea that other monkeys on other islands spontaneously
picked up the idea is pure fabrication.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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