Re: About discussing Social Impact

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed Feb 08 2006 - 14:22:06 MST

At 12:10 PM 2/7/2006 -0800, you wrote:
>Richard Loosemore wrote:
>>Your thread-kill accepted, of course.
>>But, have you or the others considered before the practicalities of HOW
>>to have some discussion about the likely pre-Singularity impact of the
>>Singularity *idea*, and the likely threats from the way the world is
>>going, without the discussion turning political?


>>Or is it simply impossible to talk about this at all?
>>I suspect the latter.
>>Richard Loosemore.
>It's possible to talk about, but it takes a major, *cooperative* effort,
>from people who genuinely want to avoid having the conversation degenerate
>into politics,

Perhaps a Meta discussion of what politics *is* either here or on some list
set up for it might be useful.

The main tool for building AIs--friendly or otherwise--is human
brains/minds that are unavoidably stuck in social primates and have been
shaped by an evolutionary history.

It seems worth the attempt (somewhere) to understand the flaws in the tool
and how one might try to get around them. I am not at all optimistic that
understanding the flaws would have a practical use though. :-(

Of course even if a group of sharp people came to such an understanding
they would have the devils own time spreading out their knowledge to the
rest of the social primates who were shaped by evolution *not* to
understand certain things about themselves.


>You can take the conversation to extropy-chat or wta-talk, depending on
>your taste, where it will instantly degenerate into useless shouting.

Attempts at meta level discussion seems to invoke blank incomprehension, or
at least no exchanges. The most I ever had in this area was with Aaron
Lynch--who has completely dropped out of sight.

>I suspect that it is not possible to talk about politics in a grown-up way
>without a grown-up moderator independently approving each message which
>obeys the spirit and the letter of the rules, denying all others; and I am
>not willing to put forth this effort for the SL4 mailing list.

You are probably right--given the nature of humans.

Keith Henson

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