[extropy-chat] Fools building AIs - A New Take

Russell Wallace russell.wallace at gmail.com
Tue Oct 10 08:32:18 UTC 2006

On 10/10/06, Samantha  Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:
>   It seems to me that the majority of the people here actually do want
> the human race to be replaced by something superior.

There is a difference between "species X is no longer around because it
evolved into species Y" and "species X is no longer around because it became
extinct, leaving no descendants".

I remember one night when I was I don't know, maybe 10 years old, and sick
with one of those bugs that children pick up that's really trivial, but is
utter misery from the first person viewpoint, and I couldn't sleep all
night, but I stayed awake with the printed version of David Attenborough's
'Life on Earth', and the physical misery just didn't matter because I was so
entranced with the beauty of the vision, life crawling out of the primordial
slime and climbing ever upwards; and I began dimly to appreciate the moral
freight on our - my - shoulders, to pass on the torch, not only for the
welfare of future generations (which isn't something a 10 year old, however
smart, can get that much of a grip on) but to make all those lives before us
have meaning, not only those who died in the sky over Britain in 1940 AD and
in the pass of Thermopylae in 480 BC, but all those who suffered and died
with defective genes that the handful with lucky mutations might do better,
back to the first fish that struggled out of the ocean.

If our descendants a thousand years from now feel the same, I think our
generation will have done its job.

One of the most moving passages for me in all of Christian mythology has
been this (where I take God as a metaphor for the principles of evolution
and self-organization, Adam as a metaphor for our predecessors and the foe
to be entropy):

"O Loving wisdom of our God
When all was sin and shame
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.

O wisest love! that flesh and blood
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail."
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