[ExI] Singularity - Non-Gender Specific

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Tue Sep 29 23:48:51 UTC 2009

natasha at natasha.cc wrote:
> It seems that the Singularity is "driven"
> nowadays.  I remember talking to Vernor about if we could steer or
> drive the Singularity and he said it might not be possible.

Hmm, is the singularity something that is "just happening", something that
is driven by a lot of human desires or something some group needs to
"push" for? I can certainly see how some people might filter this question
through gender stereotypes, like saying that people wanting to influence
things to get a particular kind of singularity are expressing a male need
for control. But that misses the point of the discussion, seeing it as a
metaphor for something else rather than a discussion about what kind of
future we want or may end up in.

That discussion can of course be biased for the usual cultural and
sociological reasons.

> Nevertheless, I realize that the driving force behind the Singularity
> is male-directed.  I am not saying this is good or bad.  I am saying
> that it MIGHT be wise to rethink it.

I wonder *which* singularity idea this refers to. Is it the concept of
accelerating progress, the concept that superintelligence may be around
the corner to speed things up a lot, the concept that we may be
approaching a horizon of predictability, the concept of a big historical
rupture or that we may be at/approaching a historically singular
point/period (e.g. Robin Hanson's "dreamtime",
http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/09/this-is-the-dream-time.html )? Are
all these concepts male-directed?

Personally I think we should care less about the capital S Singularity and
look more at what we can do to shape the future and consider where we
should want to be going. Understanding potential events like the
singularity might be helpful, but it is not the end all of future
foresight. (We'll see if I change my mind at the Singularity Summit :-)

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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