Re: [ExI] [SL4] [WTA] Kurzweil critique

From: Bryan Bishop (
Date: Mon Nov 05 2007 - 22:27:14 MST

Some thoughts and comments. Open to anybody's reply.

> As for nanotechnology and hard AI, those fields have run into brick
> walls so complete that there's no more point in discussing those
> delusions than in debating the claims of scientologists or
> alchemists.

"Brick walls so complete that there's no point" - then why write this at
all? It would be much more useful to write a review paper (i.e., doing)
to show the many (as I am sure) thousands of tactics that have failed.
That would be useful- I might have to do this myself. Would anybody be
interested in helping me compile "failed AI techniques" and "failed
nanotech" ?

> No one knows what intelligence is or how to measure it — and the
> evidence for that failure is overwhelming:

It is interesting to go through your day and not use the "intelligence"
concept. Try this out, you might not be missing much.

> just starting to reesarch these areas." The exact same kinds of vague
> hand-waving you get when you confront ufologists and ask them for
> proof of their wild claims.

When men go out to explore the wild frontiers and make their destinies,
many do not come back; the wild consumes them.

> If you can debunk the assertion that these technologies don't work
> and haven't worked and can't work, great…do it. Do it now. Do it
> right now. Give us the hard evidence that hard AI works. Give us the
> hard evidence that nanotechnology works and produced operating
> Drexlerian assembler. Give us the hard evidence that genetic
> engineering can reliably enhance human intelligence. Give us that
> hard evidence that claims about people "uploading their minds into
> computers" are anything more than a foolishly ignorant delusion

"Do it now" deserves repeating. Do it now. Do it now. Go join a graduate
school, purchase access to as many scientific journals as you can
handle, find labs or make your own. (Take me on for the ride, too.)

> Yet what has Ray Kurzweil and his transhumanist extropian
> Singularitarian followers given us? Nothing. Just a bunch of PR.

Maybe we need another type of PR: the rise of the
transhumanist-scientist/programmer. "Any PR is bad PR." So maybe we
should leave it at that and move on.

> I want hard evidence for transhumanism

What? Is this really an issue? I do not understand. Transhumanism, the
commitment to self-creation, is more of a mindset. Unless there is
something that I am missing?

> Otherwise, shut up, because you're spouting ignorant tripe.

We need to drown them out with more technical works. Hopefully the
internet/the-Signal will not become poisoned with this 'ignorant

- Bryan

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