[FoRK] Singularity / fear (for Ken)

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Sun Nov 15 12:38:17 PST 2009

Benjamin Banville? (whoever THAT is) writes again:

> Terribly sorry, did I accidentally call attention to the nature of  
> your technoreligious beliefs? Tell me the one about achieving escape  
> velocity and merging with the machine intelligence, again, Daddy.

Sorry, apparently I have to be more clear about my retort.  I was  
*attempting* to call attention to the peculiar fact that you thought,  
somehow, that merely restating the title of a quite-good (and Actually  
Funny(tm)) critique of Singularitarians by <Somebody Not Named  
Benjamin Black> might be novel or somehow useful on this context, and  
your even more peculiar apparent belief that you might get some  
rhetorical mileage out of the thing.  Don't think your club card at  
the Fraternal Order of Half-Price Fiction Writer's Dinner Room and  
Lounge gets you co-option rights from your frat brothers  
automagically. ;-)

As for the "nature of my technoreligious beliefs" --- please show me  
again where I said that any such thing was a certainty, or indicated  
"belief" as opposed to some unspecified probability distribution?  If  
you mistakenly think I did that, I'm guessing that the typical liberal- 
arts preparation for those in your apparent "profession" did not  
involve a mandatory class in statistics.  I don't think anything in  
particular is a certainty;  but there are a lot better ways of  
"critiquing" such things than you've offered here.  Even this, if you  
prefer the touchier-feelier-fuzzier-less-quantified approach:


Now, I happen to think there are a number of weaknesses both in  
Vassar's and Cannell's defense of the idea and even more acutely in  
Fish's critique.  But even that's clearly not the level of discussion  
of interest to you.  In any case, absent some mysterian assumptions,  
the evidence appears to me, and some but not all others working in the  
field, to be mounting rather rapidly to skew the probability  
distribution in favor of "might as well assume it's likelier than not,  
modulo other existential risks."  And hence the extrapolation and  
scenario planning is in order;  in any case:  extraordinary risks  
require extraordinary caution, while extraordinary opportunities  
require careful evaluation.  No room for religion on any side of the  
argument, IMHO.  Only Rev. Bayes will do, Mr. Button, I mean Black, I  
mean Banville.

But you would appear to prefer the kind of "argument" more recently  
offered in e.g. Superfreakonomics regarding global climate change.   
For a critique of THAT, cf. any of the recent discussions thereof  
comparing Levitt et. al.'s tactics to that of e.g. creationists and  
other epistemologically-sketchy types.  Sorry, I'm not game for that.  
(I'm sure Google can help you there, too.  See, our AI overlords are  
"helpful." ;-)

As for this:


Consider the chump stumped.  Would you care to expand the acronym?


PS - FWIW, I despise crime-drama novels.  Particularly, poorly-written  

PPS - yes, I do realize you aren't THAT Benjamin Black.  (Uh,  
right...  right?)  Too funny an opportunity to raz to pass up,  
though.  ;-)

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