[ExI] To Max, re Natasha and Extropy (Kevin Haskell)

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 11:05:17 UTC 2011

2011/6/26 Kevin Haskell <kgh1kgh2 at gmail.com>
> So, if don't believe in the Singularity happening, where would you list yourself as being?

I would add a few qualifications:

- "Singularity" need not refer to Kurzweil's concept thereof, let
alone the even more radical version proposed by the Singularity
Institute for Artificial Intelligence. It remains a broader and useful
metaphor to indicate also in a historical sense the point where we
expect our predictive tools to break down. As it is true for physical
singularities, there is nothing especially mystical in that, nor we
seriously assume infinite quantities to be there or probabilities out
of the range between 0 and 1, simply that our "equations" cease
working as significant approximation at a given point. Historically,
this may well indicate a rupture more than a Rapture.

- Computing power may be a big ingredient of such a rupture, but a)
anthropomorphic behaviours such as that of classical AGIs (such as
that making it plausible to speak of "motivations", etc.) are not a
direct or necessary consequence of the increase in the performances of
our systems, nor they are so crucial for their usefulness and
interest, and b) other technologies, eg, of the "wet" kind, may end up
being equally or more relevant to a singularity in the sense above.

- There is a sense other than "free-willing" where the word
"voluntarist" comes into play. That is, many rapture- or doom-mongers,
including those of the most benign versions, insist on the
"inevitability" of a singularity, or at least its "inevitability
unless". Voluntarism here also means that paradigm-shifting changes,
far from taking place automagically, happen because of a literally
"superhuman" collective will to this end, and the presence of such a
will in our age and culture should really not be taken for granted.
Rather the opposite, in fact.

The last thing being the main reason why I think that transhumanism is
important *as a philosophy and set of values*, and worth fighting for.

Stefano Vaj

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