X-Message-Number: 27981
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 10:18:07 EDT
Subject: Singularity "aware"?

Flavonoid writes in part:

>It occurred  to me recently that shortly after the Singularity becomes 
>aware, it  will want to know where all its humans are at.

It's almost certainly a waste of time to try to guess events at or after  the 
Singularity (or the "Spike"), but such discussions may possibly have a bit  
of influence on cryonics recruitment, and the pessimism in Flavonoid's 
viewpoint  is unhelpful, as well as probably unsound.
First, the quotation above implies that the Singularity will involve a huge  
computer network with effective power to control most communications and  with 
consciousness (feeling or the capacity for subjective experiences). All of  
this is more likely wrong than right.
The question of subjectivity in digital computers has been rehashed many  
times, and I have repeatedly shown, to my satisfaction at least, that  

subjectivity in computers (as usually defined) is uncertain and probably  
The computer(s) of the Singularity will probably not have anything  

corresponding to human feelings or desires, merely programmed goals and  
Most importantly, almost everyone with a potentially powerful computer will  
know the risks and will want to remain in control. Very likely there will  not 
be any autonomous computers--instead they will be extensions of a human  

brain. Our biological brains already include a great many subsets that operate  
an unconscious level, but generally serve the essential self and can usually  
be overridden by the conscious self if necessary. 
Of course there is a chance that some genius will get a head start and his  
computer will out-think all the others and improve itself so rapidly that the  
genius will effectively control the world. But that's only a small chance.  
Because of competition, and because of teamwork, there will likely be many  

nearly simultaneous spike people, and no world tyrant. Eventually every  person 
every family may have its own personal extension super  computer/fabricator 
linked to the biological brain(s), and most of them on the  alert for 
Further, it seems likely that power-hunger (power over other people) will  
decline as a motivator, for reasons that seem obvious.
Robert Ettinger

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