Re: Why playing it safe is the most dangerous thing

From: Bruce J. Klein (
Date: Fri Feb 24 2006 - 18:27:39 MST

Thanks, Phil.

For those interested in learning more about this NIH-BCIG book club
meeting, I've posted my power point, a picture of the group and links here:

My post is made below Michael Anissimov's posted comic strip by Ryan North,
which I think gives a nice visual and helpful message conveying the
'take home'
message that Strong AI poses great potential for harm and/or good.

Bruce Klein

Philip Goetz wrote:

>I was just at an NIH biomedical computing interest group meeting where
>Ben Goertzel & Bruce Klein & some others presented a summary of Ray
>Kurzweil's book, /The Singularity is Near/. An idea that occurred to
>me, during the section on government regulation, is that:
>- The worst possible outcome of the Singularity is arguably not total
>extinction, but a super-Orwellian situation in which the people in
>power dictate the thought and actions of everyone else -- and,
>ultimately, George W. Bush or some equivalent wins the singularity and
>becomes the only remaining personality in the solar system.
>- We've already seen, with genetics, what happens when, as a society,
>we "take time to think through the ethical implications". We convene
>a panel of experts - Leon Kass & co. on the President's Bioethics
>Committee - and, by coincidence, they come out with exactly the
>recommendation that the President wants.
>- A scenario in which we take time to "consider the ethical
>implications" and regulate the transition to singularity is almost
>guaranteed to result in taking those measures that strengthen the
>power of those already in power, and that seem most likely to lead
>lead to the worst possible scenario:
>- The internet is the decentralized, difficult-to-control thing that
>it is only because the government wasn't prepared for it, and wasn't
>able to supervise its construction.
>- If we consider, on the one hand, that the internet, developed
>rapidly with little regulation, worked out well and egalitarian; and
>on the other, that a cautious approach is practically guaranteed to
>lead to the worst possible outcome...
>- ... we must conclude that the SAFEST thing to do is to rush into AI
>and the Singularity blindly, without pause, before the Powers That Be
>can control and divert it.

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