RE: Why I donate to the SIAI

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Oct 22 2004 - 13:18:07 MDT


Most people just don't take anything distant from their everyday life very
seriously. Even if you present them with a logical train of reasoning
leading from here to the Singularity, they don't trust it because they don't
trust logical reasoning nearly as much as the common sense of everyday life

Religion is the one major case of people taking things distant from their
everyday life seriously ... but this is arguably because religion gives
people a lot of psychological comfort, and helps build comforting social

There is nothing about the Singularity that's emotionally comforting enough
to cause people to overcome their bias against paying attention to things
outside the scope of their everyday lives.... Rather, it's more emotionally
disturbing than comforting to most people -- so there's a bias in favor of
ignoring it in most peoples' minds...

-- Ben G

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Eliezer
> Yudkowsky
> Sent: Friday, October 22, 2004 2:22 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Why I donate to the SIAI
> Robin Lee Powell wrote:
> > This is completely unsolicited. For the record, I find Eliezer's
> > apparent confusion over people not donating truly bizarre, but then
> > I haven't been following the thread. This is pretty rambling. If
> > you want to skip to the punch line, look for the numbered points.
> Neat timing, Robin... but then you'd be wiser in the way of comfortable
> togetherness than most us folks.
> I'm not surprised in the Bayesian sense of surprise, i.e.,
> encountering an
> event which I assigned a low probability. However, there has to be some
> way of pointing out an event which you expected but which begs
> explanation
> for why you expected it. I've been careful to call it a "puzzle", rather
> than saying I was puzzled by it.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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