[extropy-chat] the RBL racket

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Mon Sep 11 07:36:49 UTC 2006

Russell Wallace wrote:
> On 9/11/06, *Eliezer S. Yudkowsky* <sentience at pobox.com 
> <mailto:sentience at pobox.com>> wrote:
>     Now, where does spam fall in this ranking?  In my book, it falls
>     somewhere around (3).
> I am very, very relieved that you cannot create or become a god.

Logical fallacy:  Ad hominem.

I didn't even say you should be put in prison for (3) - you just assumed 
it was what I meant.  You also didn't answer the question of where spam 
falls in your ranking.

I suspect scope neglect on your part - all those zeroes in the part 
about "slightly annoying a hundred million people" just glazing over in 
your vision.  Slightly annoying 1e8 humans probably adds more negative 
hedonic to the universe than one prison sentence; moreover, a 
prospective prison sentence may stop many such incidents.  The question 
is about rights and freedom, not hedonic balance.

My own attitude in this matter is not about annoyance, it's about human 
infrastructure.  If what were at stake were humanity's capability to 
send email, then yes, I would put people in prison to defend it.  But of 
course the current regime has been totally ineffective at stopping spam; 
humanity will find an effective technological solution, or else learn as 
a species that we are not ready for email.  It's actually pretty damned 
sad when you think about it.  Forget nukes or nanotech, the human 
species can't handle bloody text messaging.

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

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