RE: Why I donate to the SIAI

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Oct 23 2004 - 12:23:57 MDT


I like the concept, but, it's hard to see how the potential annihilation of
human life can be made psychologically comfortable to the great unwashed
masses ;-) ...

Let's face it, unless you have a very high level of Zen detachment from
yourself and your family and friends and planet, the Singularity is

I think a better approach is to build public enthusiasm for
Singularity-supporting technologies, but for reasons that have nothing
transparently to do with the Singularity.

It seems more hopeful to me to build public enthusiasm for AGI research
based on the potential of AGI for, say, biomedical or counterterrorism
applications, than based on the potential of AGI for the Singularity....
Public enthusiasm for AGI research based on such applications would result
in more AGI funding which would move us toward the Singularity.

-- Ben

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Giu1i0
> Pri5c0
> Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 11:14 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Why I donate to the SIAI
> I think Ben is making a very, very good point here.
> Is there a way we could edit our message, without compromising it of
> course, in such a way as to provide *also* psychological comfort?
> I will risk heresy and confess that I am beginning to think current
> projects to "engineer a transhumanist religion" (see e.g.
> are actually good ideas.
> G.
> On Fri, 22 Oct 2004 15:18:07 -0400, Ben Goertzel <> wrote:
> > 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
> > structures.
> > 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...

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