RE: Why are there so few Singulatarians?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat May 10 2003 - 17:31:25 MDT

> I understand your enthusiasm at what the Singularity may be able to
> accomplish, but I guess the cynic in me sees too many obstacles to go
> high-profile so quickly.
> Cheers,
> Zeph

I share much of Zeph's cynicism in this regard.

If a few of us futurist fanatics are saying "Yes, the Singularity is coming
soon!" but the recognized leaders of the technology and science world are
saying "Those Singularitarians are waaaaay out there!" then who is the
general public likely to believe?

It seems to me that the general public accepts things that contradict the
consensus opinion of the scientific community only when

a) they're listening to some pre-existing religion that they've bought into

b) the thing in question provides a lot of personal gratification for the
believer ... e.g. new-age beliefs...

The Singularity falls into neither of these categories. It's not a
pre-existing religion, and for most people it's unsettling rather than
gratifying. So not many people are going to believe in it until Bill Gates,
the tech columnist in the New York Times, and the head of the MIT computer
science department give it a rubber stamp.

Could there be a way to work around this problem? Of course. But it'll
have to be pretty creative, and aided by a fair bit of luck. I wouldn't
want to discourage people from making efforts in this direction if that's
what they're inspired to do -- but please be aware of the factors making
your job *really really hard*.

-- Ben G

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