[extropy-chat] The mixed blessing of silence

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Wed Jan 18 20:04:41 UTC 2006

It's easy to call for peace, an end to conflict, without blaming any
specific parties.  It scores you points with everyone who's sick of
hearing about it, usually the majority.  It sounds like deep wisdom and
gets you a reputation as a nice guy.

But a population of doves is easily invaded by hawks.  When no one will
protest, anyone can get away with anything.

There is such a thing as an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy.  There is
also such a thing as yammering about the subject unproductively  because
no side is willing to accept anything less than a complete victory.

So I don't feel too guilty about posting my opinions, *once*.  Playing
flame tennis, on and on, is a bad idea.  Remember, though, that not
everyone has the luxury of a standing, pre-built reputation good enough
that they can afford to ignore attacks, confident that others know
better than to listen.  Don't assume that other people can get away with
ignoring attacks.  They're not responding to annoy you, they're
responding because there are real penalties for not responding.

I know you're fed up with big messy public battles.  The alternative may
be for things to go wrong silently.  That is the option you are
presented with, when you hear the deeply wise, easy, convenient calls
for everyone to just shut up.  It doesn't get rid of the problem.  It
shuts off the sensor that lights up to indicate the problem.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list