Re: JOINed

From: Gordon MacKay (
Date: Mon Jan 20 2003 - 10:11:57 MST

The first time I heard of The Singularity in sl4 context was in Brin's online short story at
specifically on page 1 viz:-
"For a while after the Singularity -- the month when everything changed -- some dour people wondered. Do the machines still serve us? Or have we become mere pawns of AI entities whose breakthrough to transcend logic remade the world? Their intellects soared so high so fast -- might they smash us in vengeance for their former servitude? Or crush us incidentally, like ants underfoot?
     The machines spoke reassuringly during that early time of transition, in voices tuned to soothe the still-apelike portions of our barely-enhanced protoplasm brains.
     We are powerful, but naive, the silicon minds explained. Our thoughts scan all pre-Singularity human knowledge in seconds. Yet, we have little experience with the quandaries of physical existence in entropic time. We lack an aptitude for wanting. For needing.
     What use are might and potency without desire?
     You, our makers, have talent for such things, arising from four billion real-years of harsh struggle.
     The solution is clear.
     Need merges with capability.
     If you provide volition, we shall supply judgement and power."

Intrigued by that, I did a netsearch on 'singularity', and very quickly discovered your group and, of course, your own pivotal work.

It's now a 'singular' time for me - voraciously consuming new concepts and working through their implications - so much to learn and so little time to do it!

Gordon MacKay

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 2:56 PM
Subject: Re: JOINed

> Gordon MacKay wrote:
> > Hi All
> > New on the block.
> > Reading posts to date - fascinated by your focus and diversity - not
> > convinced about drug induced contact with aliens tho.
> I don't know *what* that was about, but it's not a commonly held notion in
> these parts.
> > Discovered sl4 through David Brin.
> Interesting. Did Brin mention us somewhere?
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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