A flight from relationships? OK I haven't characterised the problem well

From: Philip Sutton (Philip.Sutton@green-innovations.asn.au)
Date: Sun Mar 14 2004 - 10:27:39 MST

Hi Ben/Keith,

I've been taken to task for saying:

> The funny thing about a lot of this discussion is that many people are
> attracted to technology because its a domain of fun and power where you
> can get away with not engaging with people (read that as advanced
> general intelligences).

Ben said:

> I'm not sure this cliche' holds true very often anymore. Personally,
> most of what I do all day is engage with people --- the Novamente
> team, customers for our businesses, my wife & kids, etc. I don't love
> tech because I need to escape from people. Perhaps some people do,
> but there are lots of asocial non-techies as well.... Perhaps this
> cliche' of techies is no longer applicable?

Keith said:

> I don't believe that to actually be the case. High tech people are
> just as social as anyone else. Where they have a hard time is engaging
> with people who are a lot less smart and knowledgeable than they are.

OK, I was over-generalising. Sorry.

I guess what I'm reacting to is the us & them-ishness of some of the
discussion eg. we're smart, got the right ideas and there's all these
dumb folk out there who just don't get it and are likely to get in the way.
And that we should race ahead of these people and not bother
engaging constructuvely with their concerns.

My strong intuition is that we won't solve the problem of friendliness for
AGIs and we'll increase the chance of the deliberate or inadvertant
derailment of work leading to the Singularity if us/them thinking plays
any significant part in our work or strategies.

An idea I floated a little while ago was for us to work as if we had a
'pact with humanity (and other life)' so that we continually shaped AGI
and other singularity-orientated work to ensure a compassionate,
respectful and helpful relationship with other people and living things. I
still think this would be a good idea to flesh out and put into action.

Cheers, Philip

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