Re: Nonsingularitarian America and us

From: Tom McCabe (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2007 - 19:06:05 MDT

--- Diego Navarro <> wrote:

> From a singularitarian POV, I find two things about
> Pierce's concept
> of Idiot America interesting:
> 1) Can we even get to the Singularity as the war
> against reason
> advances? Yes, I'm not in America and I know many
> cultures are less
> backwards by now, but between the rise of Islam in
> Europe and a
> possible global recession to result from the dollar
> crash, does the
> Singularity scenario stand in face of short-term
> dystopia?

First of all, a recession does not qualify as a
dystopia. We've been through much worse, even in the
past hundred years. The "rise of Islam" in Europe is a

Secondly, the general public's attitude is currently a
non-issue. The vast majority of people are
scientifically illiterate, and probably would not
understand the implications surrounding the
Singularity, even if you explained it to them in great
detail. There are numerous organizations- colleges,
nonprofits, various educational foundations- which
work to educate the SL0 public about technology. These
organizations are far better funded than any of the
transhumanist foundations, and we can't hope to
compete with them on their own goals for lack of

If you look at SIAI's Singularity Challenge, you
notice that SIAI receives a large amount of support
from a small number of donors. The National Space
Society, also a nonprofit, raised only ~70% more money
than SIAI did this year, despite having twenty
thousand paying members. The Singularity is simply
too high-level a concept for us to rely on massive
public support to push us through- we should
concentrate our efforts on getting large amounts of
support from a fairly small number of people. Trying
to educate everyone in the US about the Singularity
would simply result in mass confusion and us going

> 2) Idiot America is based on the idea that authority
> derives from
> popularity. Charles Stross develops this concept of
> "reputation
> markets" -- which very much excited me and made me
> want to live in
> this agalmic hyperrational economy -- pushing
> progress forward, but
> according to Pierce, the reputation markets have
> already failed us.

"Failed us" in what sense? Every human institution I
can think of has gaping obvious flaws. Democracy is
the worst form of government, except for all the
others. The same thing for capitalism.

> It's a great read, and I don't feel it's off-topic
> at all.

If you're already aware of how something might be
off-topic, why not provide counter-arguments, rather
than simply asserting "it's on topic!"?

 - Tom

Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell.

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