[ExI] I am a Singularitian who does not believe in the Singularity

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Thu Oct 1 17:01:59 UTC 2009

On Sep 30, 2009 Giulio Prisco sent a first rate post, I agree with  
most of it both the letter and the spirit.
> The Singularity is a clean mathematical concept—perhaps too clean

True, it will not be a Singularity in the strict mathematical sense  
because the rate of change will not become infinite, just far too fast  
for humans to deal with. Perhaps a better word would have been  
"Horizon", but it's too late to change now.

> I suspect the change we will see in this century, dramatic and
> world changing as they might appear to us, will appear as just
> business than usual to the younger generations.

I'm not saying when it will happen but if that younger generation is  
still using biology sooner or later changes will happen so fast they  
will be unable to cope because of the pokey sub sonic signals in their  
brains .

> I must admit to a certain skepticism toward FAI: if super  
> intelligences are
> really super intelligent (that is, much more intelligent than us),  
> they will be
> easily able to circumvent any limitations we may try to impose on  
> them.

I agree 100%, and yet [...]

> Eliezer Yudkowsky and the Singularity Institute for Artificial
> Intelligence propose that research be undertaken to produce friendly
> artificial intelligence (FAI) in order to address the dangers.

And they've actually convinced themselves it could work! It's amazing  
how wishful thinking can delude even the most powerful minds.

> Very few transhumanists think practical, operational indefinite life
> extension and mind uploading will be a reality in the next two or
> three decades. Probably Kurzweil himself does not _really_ believe it.

Oh I think Kurzweil really believes it and is in fact absolutely  
certain of it; that doesn't mean he's correct of course, although he  
may be.

> Similarly, I don’t see a Singularity in 2045.

I refuse to give a date because with the significant exception of  
Moore's Law history has shown that our ability to pin a date on a  
future technological development is pretty poor, and this is before  
the huge acceleration that will happen as we approach the Singularity.  
I will say that even if the Singularity doesn't happen for a thousand  
years in 999 years it will still seem like a very long way off, so  
whenever it happens it will come as a big surprise to most.

>  I think one Kurzweil is worth thousands of critics.


  John K Clark

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