[ExI] Fwd: [tt] reddit on Shortwhile

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 22 12:04:35 UTC 2011

Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> wrote:

Loads of stuff, most of which I didn't read (life's too short!).

Even scientists can get uncomfortable with extrapolations of things they accept as true, into realms they aren't used to thinking about.

How many people, when shown the grains-of-rice-on-a-chessboard thing, say to themselves "No, that can't be right!", even while accepting the maths behind exponential increases.  It just *seems* wrong.  Our intuitions drive most of our thinking, scientists included.  Heck, just ask any random joe which will fall faster, a box with a ton of iron in it, or a same-sized box with a ton of feathers.

Yes, it's a trick question, but most people would get it wrong.  And almost everyone will get it wrong if you say a box with one feather in it.

The tech. singularity is one of the less intuitive things we can think about, and on top of that, it's a pretty uncomfortable subject for a lot of people.  You're bound to get emotional responses, especially when someone actually realises what it really means.  Scary stuff!

Ben Zaiboc


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