Art as Shriek safeguard

From: pdugan (
Date: Fri Dec 02 2005 - 06:46:33 MST

>> it just might
>> be art that makes the difference between a Prevail scenario and a Shriek.
>How so?

  In two capacities, short-term (ten to twenty years) and long-term (the
singularity and beyond):

   Short-term: the thinking in the AGI community, especially in FAI research,
will be influenced not only by well composed discussion, well documented
research, and incremental AGI products whose utility raises performance
benchmarks, but also by the fiction and art which provides new metaphores and
modes of understanding. Mr. Chapel pointed that out in his previous e-mail.
However, the way the community gains their memes, of any flavor, will in some
way depend on the culture at large, as will the way in which funding is
gained. Most importantly, the way in which the AGI's communities efforts are
recieved will depend on the memetic landscape of the culture at large, and it
is almost inevitable that as the singularity gets closer a cultural
transformation will take place, perhaps a renaissance to some, certianly
disruptive to many. The art which is being produced in this meantime will help
sculpt the cultural transformation, and thereby affect how an FAI is produced,
self-improved and effected on the rest of the world. The function of the best
art is arguably to raise awareness, and awareness is something everyone from
the AGI researcher to the guy working at 711 could use plenty of in the coming

   Long-term: in functional terms, art is simply information patterns which
aling to a specific, presumably desirable, set of formative hueristics. Since
a post-human civilization's likely endeavor will be to generate new informatic
patterns, in some way or another, the best way to avoid nasty existential
dillemas like the Halting Problem (say to an algorithm seeking to generate all
possible experiences) is to incorporate aesthetic concerns into the underlying
mechanisms. Its relatable to the classic "intelligence doesn't equal wisdom"
hypothesis. What we really want out of recursively improving intelligence is
greater wisdom, with the associated benifits, and that means that the increase
in informatic content generation must be accompanied by an increase in
hueristic integrity and, perhaps, beauty.

Patrick Dugan

"Its turtles all the way down!" - old lady attending Bertrand Shaw lecture on geoscience

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