RE: Positive Transcension 2

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Feb 20 2004 - 19:37:14 MST


I lived in Australia for a couple years, as you know.... So far as I know,
most hallucinogens are illegal in Australia, and it's also illegal to ask
your neighbor to insert a chip in your brain (unless you both have
government approval). Also, I didn't find Australia to be that wonderfully
egalitarian and humanistic -- the conditions in the "blacks camps" outside
Perth were, in many ways, worse than anything I've seen in the US, even in
the Appalachians or on Indian reservations. Don't get me wrong, Oz is a
great country (fantastically beautiful, for one thing) -- and the US is a
great country too, in different ways (for instance, I didn't manage to raise
investment money for any of my hi-tech ventures in Oz; I had to return here
for that).

But that's a bit off-topic ;-)

I didn't mean to say that humans are too irrational to handle democracy.
Clearly, the democratic process works moderately well for many things.

However, it may well be too slow-paced, awkward and inefficient to deal with
the Singularity.

This gets back to my "AI Big Brother" discussion. I agree that, given a
long enough period of time, education and democracy will be able to deal
with Transcension technologies and issues. But the problem is that if we
don't take specific action to ensure we do, we ain't gonna have that much
time. Because someone will kill us all, or else someone who doesn't care
abotu democracy and education will simply build their own superhuman AI in
their basement once computers get cheap enough and knowledge spreads. To
slow things down enough for democracy and education to be able to handle the
situation, will probably require some kind of quasi-fascist control of
advanced technologies. Which is a "solution" that comes with its own
copious risks.

-- Ben G

> There are some communities around the world that are not like the US -
> and since we are genetically rather similar it suggests that many of the
> problems you point to are intrinsic to human nature but are cultural and
> institutional.
> My fear is that if we actually turn our backs on working slowly (but as
> fast as we can) to fix these cultural and institutional problems we
> actually heat up the problem - the whole issue descend into who can get
> their own AGI into play first so that they can take over the world first
> and impose their own flavour of absolute-mind-control-driven
> dictatorship.
> For example, I'd recommend that the US get a democratic voting
> system and put lots of money into education for the poorest sections of
> society and getting the excessive influence of media moguls under
> control before telling the rest of the world that humans (in general) are
> too irrational to handle democracy. (Of course, as a citizen of
> Australia
> a country that is running around like a US lap-dog and that launched
> Rupert Murdock on the world - I need to take of my own advice!)
> Cheers, Philip

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