Re: Anti-singularity spam.

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Wed May 03 2006 - 11:37:20 MDT

On 5/3/06, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> wrote:
> I think that Kurzweil is a serious, honest, on-the-front-lines futurist
> who does his best to justify his predictions. I don't think Kurzweil is
> e.g. consciously aware that each additional detail he specifies in his
> justifications drives down the joint probability of his entire book.
> Since I have not studied Kurzweil extensively and do not have a history
> of correct predictions about him, I may be wrong.

I haven't read Kurzweil's book, but from reading some of his articles
online, it seems to me that he's engaging in the time-honored art of

A story is not literally true in and of itself, but _that does not mean the
storyteller is mistaken or dishonest_. His objective is to tell a general
truth that's too vague and hard to grasp if stated as is, so he uses the
method of illustrating it with a specific possible example - even though the
specific example has too many details to have significant probability of
coming to pass as described; that doesn't matter to its purpose.

My guess (which could of course be wrong; I don't know the man personally)
is that Kurzweil might reply to the above with something like: "Of course I
don't claim to be able to literally foretell the year this or that will
happen; my point is to explain why I expect the general shape of the future
to be broadly in this sort of direction, rather than in certain completely
different directions that have been predicted".

(BTW, great essay on the Virtues! I see I'm not the only one who finds a
kindred spirit in Musashi ^.^)

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