[ExI] Meat v. Machine

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Wed Dec 29 19:23:19 UTC 2010

2010/12/29 Darren Greer wrote:
> Surely we'd be able to recognize the technology of a post-singularity
> civilization before we'd recognize their ethical motivations?
> I'm pretty new at this, and just trying to understand. So I may be covering
> very old ground here, but this thought has been troubling me for many years.

You're correct. If there were gigantic engineering projects out there,
we would notice the effects.

Eugen has said that may be because that they are just too far away for
us to see (outside our light-cone). That is certainly a possibility.

I think the more likely possibility is, as Keith points out, that real
engineering is very hard. Bit-twiddling on computers is much, much

Even Eugene admits that there is a long road ahead, developing robotic
engineers, cheap entry to space, nano-tech, etc. before large space
projects become feasible.

My expectation is that humanity will have so much fun playing with
electronics, virtual reality, uploading, full-immersion entertainment,
etc. that the thought of going outside and getting your hands dirty
will come way down the list. When people can build stuff in virtual
reality almost instantaneously, why join a 20 year project of hard
work?  Half your working life gone and all that fun missed out on.

If you can become a god quickly and easily in virtual reality, using
little more than your own resources, why struggle for years trying to
drive giant projects involving thousands of people? You can't do the
real world space thing on your own. It takes nation-scale efforts to
build a space-faring civ. And nations won't do that without really,
really good reasons.

This is another way of saying that advanced civilizations lose
themselves in virtual reality. The attraction is too strong.


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