Re: [sl4] A model of RSI

From: Eric Burton (
Date: Fri Sep 26 2008 - 18:00:48 MDT

I'd like to clarify. I'm not saying we shouldn't be concerned by
planet-level extinction events. But one thing we know about biological
life is that once it comes into existence it persists in some form for
at least billions of years and, as presently in evidence,

Perhaps technological progress is a similarly indomitable process,
once bootstrapped. Then we could worry about it superseding or
otherwise trampling us. But this doesn't seem like a more immediate
risk to civilization than the crises we're exposed to by scientific
backwardness. Machines are a long way from competing for space and
resources with us, and that situation is generally improving. I'd
argue that outbreaks of grey goo are a sign of a civilization that has
solved a great deal of its other problems!

But there is always, always a strong case to be made for conservatism.

On 9/26/08, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:
> --- On Fri, 9/26/08, Nick Tarleton <> wrote:
>> > Bostrom does not seem to offer any good alternatives.
> [to self improvement via evolution].
>> Sections 6-11?
> I don't buy it. Humans know how to control the evolution of lower species by
> selective breeding, eradicating or protecting different species, and genetic
> engineering. But our own cultural beliefs cause us to evolve backwards.
> Rationally, we should not use medical technology to save lives because it
> allows weak genes to propagate. We oppose human cloning, genetic experiments
> with embryos, and restricting the right to have children based on fitness
> tests. Instead, the birth rate is highest among parents with the least
> education. How do we expect to control the evolution of a superior species
> if we cannot control our own?
> -- Matt Mahoney,

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