[ExI] RIP Singularitarianism

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Jun 20 10:04:10 UTC 2007

On Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 08:23:05AM +0100, Russell Wallace wrote:

>    I was once a Singularitarian. I will not again go into the factual

There seems to have been a definition drift (looks like SL4 folks did a little 
Wikipedia editing):



''Originally the term singularitarian was defined in 1991 by Extropian Mark Plus 
to mean "one who believes the concept of a Singularity", this term has since 
been redefined to mean "Singularity activist" or "friend of the Singularity"; 
that is, one who acts so as to bring about the Singularity.''


I'm certainly a singularitarian in the sense of the original definition.
I don't completely subscribe to Vingean reality models, but a lot of it
is really down-to-earth and plausible.

>    truths and falsehoods associated with this belief system (those
>    arguments have been had many a time and oft), merely note that I once
>    adhered to it as a system.

Which system exactly? You don't say.

>    Why did I change? For factual reasons, by turning around and
>    reexamining my inventory of beliefs and discarding those that were not
>    supported by material reality, to be sure.

What is not supported by material reality? Your hints are very
difficult to read.

>    But also - and to the point - for moral reasons. Singularitarianism
>    was once a beacon of hope, to which a good man would be proud to
>    subscribe.

Hmm, never subscribed to that particular notion. I think any hard
takeoff (the kind that makes the world outside incomprehensible
over the course of a year, or  less) could mean wrecking the biosphere,
and death of a lot of people, or a complete extinction.

>    What went wrong? Well, it's late in the day. The meme pool is
>    poisoned, parasite-ridden. Fear and paranoia contaminate it on all
>    sides.

Dunno, looks like a minor storm in a waterglass to me.

>    And at the end of the day, what drove me to unsubscribe from the
>    Singularity list was that the most vocal contributors were and
>    remained in a sphexish loop that computers will spring out of
>    basements and start devouring human flesh and conquering the world.

You must have been on some other singularity list than me. The vocal
contributors have been discussing the issues of space delivery, which
is, admittedly, borderline offtopic for the list. The list has been
really quiet, too.

>    Over and over again, I don't mind arguing against that nonsense once
>    or twice, but when transmission volume is directly proportional to
>    fear and paranoia even - especially - among those who claim to be
>    technophiles, who should be forward drivers, when it is so tireless
>    that one wonders whether the primary contributors live under a bridge,
>    that they have no purpose in life than transmitting their parasitic
>    meme complexes... then one must bow out.

Who is precisely the vocal pusher of those 'parasitic memes'?

>    We may live, break the bounds of time and space, become the seed for
>    sentience in this Hubble volume. Or we may die, strangled by our own

Hey, we will. (Minus the unknown probability we and our technology get
wiped out by one of them pesky existential threats).

>    fear until real death comes for us. Either way, explicit

Death will come quite certainly to most to all of these who read these
message, the question however is, who's going to come back, if at all?
(Meaning, do you have a contract, and does cryonics work out in the end?)

>    Singularitarian work is already dead, cf: SIAI, Novamente. All I can
>    do is get on with my own (non-Singularity) work.

I don't see particular reasons to limit AI research to commercial,
closed-source efforts. If it's any good, it will thrive as an open source
project. You certainly can continue with what you were doing as
a single guy in your spare time. Progress will be slower, but if you
think it's doomed, I don't see how you expected to succeed as part
of a team.

>    My point, though, is that there's a gap in meme space: anyone want to
>    coin a philosophy that means making actual progress, _no_ parasite
>    memes admitted?

People who make actual progress don't have time to read this list.
I mean this literally, if you're on a project, you just don't have time
and focus for this.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list