Re: Singularity awareness

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Jun 04 2006 - 13:09:34 MDT

On Jun 1, 2006, at 11:06 PM, Mary Tobias wrote:

> Michael Vassar wrote:
>> I strongly agree. that knowledge of the singularity becoming
>> public is an existential risk, but I would worry more about a
>> governmental race to UFAI or to strong MNT as the mode of
>> destruction. Oh yes, and the possibility of fanatics killing
>> those few people who could plausibly enable FAI to happen first.
>> I think that the singularity is already too high profile for my
>> tastes, though there is a trade-off between awareness and the
>> difficulty of recruiting FAI researchers.
> What of those who have trillions of dollars invested in the status
> quo, people with intrenched interests in having the world continue
> on exactly the way it's currently going?

If you mean that some groups have their continued or desired relative
advantage firmly in mind then that is of course true. Some begin to
see their greatest advantage in the radical betterment of all or at
least in radical change. I doubt very much that many thinking
persons fail to notice that the status quo has considerable downsides
and threats even to their esteemed selves.

> I am personally much more concerned that global governments and the
> industries that control them (and just to be clear, those interests
> are not pointed in the direction of the greater good or human
> advancement) are systematically shutting down the very structures
> required to take humanity to the next level.

It is not at all clear that some of these groups are fundamentally
pointed away from the direction of the greater good and human
advancement. Some of them have such as an explicit part of their
charter. Even many a corporation has a more or less 'good' model of
what they are about. I do not see where they are "systematically
shutting down the very structures required..". I sometimes have
this somewhat paranoid interpretation but I doubt it is the case.

> With the recent decision sealed by the new supreme court, Justice
> Alito espoused that "Government employees cannot expect the right,
> or to have ability to practice the First Amendment..." in effect
> government should be opaque to the public, and anyone who tries to
> penetrate that obfuscation, should be considered at least a
> security risk and possibly a terrorist.

This does not make the rather broad point above at all cleanly. Yes
this is a disgusting and dangerous ruling but its scope is much more
provincial and limited than the above claims.

> Before we can even begin to seriously address the critical
> conditions necessary to create any kind of transcendental AI or
> even a pervasive global technocracy, we may well first have to
> address the human propensity for totalitarianism, fascism,
> sociopathy, superstition and genocide.

I doubt it very much. Humans have been attempting to understand and
address these thing in various ways using our limited human abilities
for a very long time. It is very doubtful that we limited humans can
successfully "address" these things. I certainly would not want to
wait to achieve much higher intelligence likely needed to resolve
such until we have already somehow muddled our way to a resolution.
Such an attempt would all too likely lead to our demise.

> A world where only a tiny handful of obscenely weathy people, using
> the fruits of technology to enslave and control the greater masses
> will never achieve the end we envision or hope for... those in
> power will never allow a run-away intelligence to be born let alone
> exist. That would certainly be the beginning of the end of their
> control.

A rant against relative wealth does not help. Yes there is a strong
possibility of using various evolving tech for very dystopian
possibilities. But we cannot remove all such possibilities *before*
moving forward. Those in power thrive on greater intelligence.
They will aid its creation and at some point its control and
consequences will allude their grasp. You cannot end concentration
of wealth and power before proceeding. Some concentration of wealth
and power are actually essential to some of the necessary progress.
Telling which are essential and which are "obscene" is itself
apparently beyond our capabilities.

- samantha

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