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A refugee from Kurzweilai.net


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24 replies to this topic

#1
funkervogt

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Hello,

 

I'm funkervogt, a new user who just fled the legendary forum at Kurzweilai.net following its deactivation. If there are any fellow refugees here, give me a shout out. 


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#2
wjfox

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Welcome to the forum! :) Good to have you here. Do you know if the Kurzweil forums will be restored / relaunched?


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#3
Erowind

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Oh no what happened, I always loved that site even though I never made an account.


Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#4
funkervogt

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Welcome to the forum! :) Good to have you here. Do you know if the Kurzweil forums will be restored / relaunched?

The moderators didn't say anything about relaunching the forum at any time. Simultaneous with the deletion of the forum, the Kurzweilai.net main page disabled the Comments feature for its content, which I took as a clear sign that they're ending all "social media" aspects of the site.

 

 

Oh no what happened, I always loved that site even though I never made an account.

The Kurzweilai.net forum was totally deleted today. Last November, the moderator announced, without clearly explaining the rationale, that the forum would be shut down on January 1. Several last-minute extensions kept bumping that deadline, but we finally ran out of luck today. 

 

I'm not sure why Ray Kurzweil decided to do this, but my guess is he might have gotten tired of the negative user content and criticism of him and his theories. Ironically, the forum was much worse in the 2013-14, when there was almost no moderation, and the forum was overloaded with flame wars between very nasty people. Just when I thought the forum had turned a corner and stabilized, they decided to terminate it. 


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#5
BasilBerylium

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Hi.


This website has a magic that makes people draw back here like moths to light.


#6
Yuli Ban

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Welcome to the forum! :) Good to have you here. Do you know if the Kurzweil forums will be restored / relaunched?

The moderators didn't say anything about relaunching the forum at any time. Simultaneous with the deletion of the forum, the Kurzweilai.net main page disabled the Comments feature for its content, which I took as a clear sign that they're ending all "social media" aspects of the site.

 

 

Oh no what happened, I always loved that site even though I never made an account.

The Kurzweilai.net forum was totally deleted today. Last November, the moderator announced, without clearly explaining the rationale, that the forum would be shut down on January 1. Several last-minute extensions kept bumping that deadline, but we finally ran out of luck today. 

 

I'm not sure why Ray Kurzweil decided to do this, but my guess is he might have gotten tired of the negative user content and criticism of him and his theories. Ironically, the forum was much worse in the 2013-14, when there was almost no moderation, and the forum was overloaded with flame wars between very nasty people. Just when I thought the forum had turned a corner and stabilized, they decided to terminate it. 

Oh I remember those days. RedQ was the worst, forever_freedom was basically toeing the line between anarcho-capitalist and plutocratic fascism, Spikosauropod stated his intention to destroy the forum, and I think there were also some neo-Nazis occasionally coming in? I just bowed out entirely around late 2016.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#7
Erowind

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There would have been value in archiving this sort of thing. It is actually a loss to humanity that the forum's conversations are gone.

Speaking of which, is FTN archived and if not how would we go about doing so? I can't imagine the data takes up too much hard drive space if images are removed.

Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#8
funkervogt

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There would have been value in archiving this sort of thing. It is actually a loss to humanity that the forum's conversations are gone.

Agreed. While most of the Kurzweilai.net forum's discussions were redundant (e.g. - WAY too much talking about technological unemployment and socialism vs. capitalism), a small fraction of them were genuinely creative and insightful.

 

Fortunately, I don't think the forum is lost forever. In the four month lead-up to the forum's deletion, several users including myself made personal attempts to copy the forum. I crudely copied and pasted my hundreds of threads into Microsoft Notepad and saved them as .txt files, and more tech-savvy members tried to copy the whole site using software-based automation. I wouldn't be surprised if a ZIP file containing everything surfaced at some point, either from one of them or made by the Kurzweilai staff. 

 

Let me add that the Kurzweilai.net forum that was terminated yesterday was actually the SECOND user forum to exist on that site. The first forum existed from 2001 - 2010, was called "Mind-X", and is archived here: 

 

FINAL Mind-X posts: http://www.kurzweila...t/mindx/top.php

FIRST Mind-X posts: http://www.kurzweila...x/top.php?p=292

 

I hope the second forum (which was just called "Forum" and dispensed with the "Mind-X" title) is archived and made available as well. 


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#9
funkervogt

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A Kurzweilai.net forum user also tried to archive the second forum here: https://web.archive....lai.net/forums/

 

I'm not sure how stable or complete it is, though. It seems buggy. 



#10
zEVerzan

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Welcome! Sorry to hear about kurzweilAI.


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
Attention is currency in the "free marketplace of ideas".
I do other stuff besides gripe about the future! Twitter Youtube DeviantArt +-PATREON-+

#11
caltrek

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Welcome aboard.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#12
Casey

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Welcome. Along with a scattered few others like purpose and nanostuff, you were one of the few KurzweilAI posters with a healthy blend of optimism and skepticism. The majority of the userbase tended to gravitate towards the unhealthy and irrational end of those two extremes.


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#13
BasilBerylium

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^ And the big debates, mainly the ones about politics.


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This website has a magic that makes people draw back here like moths to light.


#14
funkervogt

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Welcome. Along with a scattered few others like purpose and nanostuff, you were one of the few KurzweilAI posters with a healthy blend of optimism and skepticism. The majority of the userbase tended to gravitate towards the unhealthy and irrational end of those two extremes.

Are you a former Kurzweilai member? 

 

Predictor, michael184, purpose, CNOT, GLOVE, and a few others were also intelligent, balanced people. 



#15
Casey

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Welcome. Along with a scattered few others like purpose and nanostuff, you were one of the few KurzweilAI posters with a healthy blend of optimism and skepticism. The majority of the userbase tended to gravitate towards the unhealthy and irrational end of those two extremes.

Are you a former Kurzweilai member? 

 

Predictor, michael184, purpose, CNOT, GLOVE, and a few others were also intelligent, balanced people. 

 

 

Yep, Casey1987. I don't really agree on michael (one of his last posts was saying that literally nothing will change between now and 2030 besides minor iphone updates), but the others were certainly all good posters, purpose especially. 



#16
Voight-Kampff

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[A copy of my original post here from 10-13-2018 that never appeared:]
 
This is CNOT from that forum. I just came across this thread when searching online tonight for KurzweilAI.net's forum. I hadn't heard it had been deleted.
 
 
 
I voluntarily left that forum for a number of reasons: (1) The lady moderator was forgiving all the worst trolls and allowing  them back into the forum after they had been expelled, which to me meant the rules were useless and the forum was inherently hostile, dumbed down, and incorrigible. It soon got to the point that I hated even to visit the forum, whereas initially I hung out there all day long; (2) Some of the worst insulters of me, especially star0, were never punished at all. At the end most users still loved him just because he brought them news that those users were too lazy to find on their own; (3) The lady moderator wouldn't adopt my suggestions for cleaning out the trolls based on an objective mathematical algorithm I developed; (4) The lady moderator enthusiastically told me she could help me find a job, but then she did nothing about that; (5) The lady moderator was using political type persuasion to get me to agree with her policies, which was coercion I resented; (6) I came to realize the site and forum were not what they seemed. Remember that the general wisdom was that Ray Kurzweil never participated or even looked at the forum, so I suspect his name was being used to promote the site that in reality had nothing to do with him directly. Now that I've learned a lot more about politics I believe something even more sinister was going on, and I'm glad I left before becoming a part of it; (7) It was all talk, no action, especially with codesimian, who was supposed to collaborate with me on a Java program to model dreaming in an AI architecture, but then dropped all contact with me with no explanation. Then there was the guy who never launched the Extropia site he promised, the endless talk of collaboration for financial purposes, especially for a state-of-the-art online dating service. I may be poor, but I'm a man of action, and this endless inaction from everyone was intolerable to me, especially since I'd hoped to find a professional job during the recession with help from my contacts there.
 
 
 
Nice to hear from you all. I haven't perused this forum yet; I joined tonight only to let folks know what happened to me and what I thought of that forum at the end. To me it's good riddance, though there were some excellent references to technical material I wish I'd saved. Maybe I will find a new home here, but be forewarned that I've become much more politically aware, so as a result any posts I may make will likely contain very heavily political slant, although above the level of any specific party issues.

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#17
Yuli Ban

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Welcome, CNOT! What exactly do you mean by "sinister?"

 

2) Sorry to hear Starspawn0 wasn't kind to you. He seems like such a fine fellow otherwise.

3) I can't help but imagine that some users— primarily RedQ and Spikosauropod— were definitely screaming about being persecuted and claiming that the forum shutting down was a leftist/"Democrass" conspiracy meant to silence their opinions in particular.

4) Was there possibly a funding problem? Or perhaps Google/Alphabet didn't approve of the forum being attached to Kurzweil's name?


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#18
Voight-Kampff

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Welcome, CNOT! What exactly do you mean by "sinister?"

 

In general, there were many warning signs of something wrong, especially questionable ethics and deceit, which in conjunction with extremely advanced and dangerous technologies (especially AI and nanotechnology) were a creepy combination.
 
First, let's consider transhumanism. Many people claim that transhumanism is being sold to the general population in the same way that globalism (https://www.youtube....h?v=pOWrCKP46_w) or communism has been sold to the general population in various countries. Each sounds like a great philosophy at first, and I admit each has the potential for being utopian *in theory*, but only if one ignores history, human nature, and rule by the elites. In practice, long before the general population could ever benefit from any such philosophy, with transhumanism the general population would be essentially enslaved by chips embedded in their bodies from birth so that they could be tracked like animals in the wild while at the same time the Internet of Things (https://www.youtube....h?v=vgoX_m6Mkko) would be watching, recording, and transmitting everything a person does from within their own home, ratting on them with every tiny infraction, and such chips could conceivably not only read brain signals, but also control them from a distance (https://www.youtube....h?v=62s3FinAoC0). Human nature is such that someone in a powerful position with ambitions of world control (the dream of every school boy, so why would adults be any different?) would find it easy to seize control of such a grid, even legally, whereupon human freedom and dignity could be immediately and permanently erased, a scenario many times worse than in Orwell's "1984." Transhumanism constitutes a high security risk, and the magnitude and impact of it is so large that society must never permit a takeover of the human population to happen. It's like turning over a password, house key, or your gun to someone you don't know, while you naively trust them to do the beneficial things they promised to do with those tools. Hitler loved fools like that, and politicians lie at least as badly as street hustlers, and with much more widespread results. Since the site indirectly promoted transhumanism, it was implicitly on the borderline of promoting a potentially extremely dangerous philosophy. (Note: I do support transhumanism, but only when it is done voluntarily and wisely.)
 
Second, let's consider the integrity of the site itself.
  • The forum was mentioned in a published book ("Apocalyptic AI," Robert Geraci, 2010) as a warning from a Christian perspective about taking AGI and transhumanism too far. This was how I found out about the site. Since I disagreed with the book's premise I didn't mind joining the forum.
  • Some users there were prominent Christian proselytizers, and seemed to be there in reaction to the dangerous nature of what was being promoted. I don't think anybody thought those proselytizers were effective, however, including myself, since their logic and knowledge were too poor.
  • The site was clearly not what it seemed to be, especially regarding its relationship to Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil had no contact and presumably no interest in the forum, for example.
  • The main moderator lady did not keep her word on multiple issues, which indicated additional dishonesty.
  • The main moderator lady used at least one well-known political trick that I knew was commonly used by very dirty politicians.
  • The site required anyone joining to consent to their comments being used by the site for commercial purposes, and accounts could never be deleted. It was as if the site were selectively collecting positive comments about AI and transhumanism to sell to the public.
  • Multiple users were not what they seemed to be. Remember the supposed transsexual who turned out to be lying about everything? And codesimian claimed to have genius IQ yet I caught him making outrageous boasts that could not possibly be true, like proving the Continuum Hypothesis, or turning 3D spheres inside out.
  • Extropia, who was a truly bizarre lady who adamantly stuck to her story that she was not human but an AI bot, was highly favored by the top moderator and others. Taken literally, Extropia's claims had to be complete nonsense.
  • The top moderators kept switching between Giulio Prisco and the British lady I mentioned, which suggested discord in their ranks.
 
It was this combination of potentially dangerous high technology with questionable motives of a site promoting it that in retrospect made me glad I left. I didn't want to be an unwittingly quoted spokesperson for some secret nefarious government agenda. The political aspects I mentioned above are connected in deep, tangled ways, often documented only in highly scattered declassified documents using unexpected terminology (https://www.youtube....h?v=yFQzdJPM4nE), way too lengthy to explain briefly. Because of my expertise in AI, I could tell that many claims by reactionaries against future technology, including almost all claims against Ray Kurzweil or Ben Goertzel or AI, were complete garbage based on faulty logic and poor knowledge, but since high-level political topics are very interconnected as I mentioned, even the few irrefutable claims I found of government cover-ups made other connected claims of nefarious agendas look much more credible. I'm now convinced that something very big, very dangerous, and very secret is going on on this planet. Maybe that site wasn't part of it, but that site still strikes me as a good candidate for a group promoting extreme anti-freedom technology.

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#19
Yuli Ban

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I dunno, it sounds more to me like the forum attracted a motley crew of cranks and mentally ill trolls that weren't removed due to a dearth of moderation.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#20
funkervogt

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Welcome, CNOT! It's great to have you here. 

 

 

I voluntarily left that forum for a number of reasons: (1) The lady moderator was forgiving all the worst trolls and allowing  them back into the forum after they had been expelled, which to me meant the rules were useless and the forum was inherently hostile, dumbed down, and incorrigible. It soon got to the point that I hated even to visit the forum, whereas initially I hung out there all day long; (2) Some of the worst insulters of me, especially star0, were never punished at all. At the end most users still loved him just because he brought them news that those users were too lazy to find on their own; (3) The lady moderator wouldn't adopt my suggestions for cleaning out the trolls based on an objective mathematical algorithm I developed; (4) The lady moderator enthusiastically told me she could help me find a job, but then she did nothing about that; (5) The lady moderator was using political type persuasion to get me to agree with her policies, which was coercion I resented; (6) I came to realize the site and forum were not what they seemed. Remember that the general wisdom was that Ray Kurzweil never participated or even looked at the forum, so I suspect his name was being used to promote the site that in reality had nothing to do with him directly. Now that I've learned a lot more about politics I believe something even more sinister was going on, and I'm glad I left before becoming a part of it; (7) It was all talk, no action, especially with codesimian, who was supposed to collaborate with me on a Java program to model dreaming in an AI architecture, but then dropped all contact with me with no explanation. Then there was the guy who never launched the Extropia site he promised, the endless talk of collaboration for financial purposes, especially for a state-of-the-art online dating service. I may be poor, but I'm a man of action, and this endless inaction from everyone was intolerable to me, especially since I'd hoped to find a professional job during the recession with help from my contacts there.
 
 
 
Nice to hear from you all. I haven't perused this forum yet; I joined tonight only to let folks know what happened to me and what I thought of that forum at the end. To me it's good riddance, though there were some excellent references to technical material I wish I'd saved. Maybe I will find a new home here, but be forewarned that I've become much more politically aware, so as a result any posts I may make will likely contain very heavily political slant, although above the level of any specific party issues.

 

I remember all of those problems with the Kurzweilai.net forum well. "Amara" was the name of the "lady moderator" you describe, and yes, she was indeed guilty of the incompetence and poor judgement you mention. 

 

During a particularly intense period of acrimony on the forum, a few concerned users and I got together and made a concerted effort to petition the forum's leadership (possibly Ray Kurzweil himself) to get rid of the handful of people who were harassing everyone else, and Amara defensively revealed that none of the problems were her fault since she wasn't actually the site's "moderator." She had some other title and role, like "content manager" or something vague like that, and the actual moderator (e.g. - the person with the ability to suspend and ban forum users and to lock and delete threads) was an unnamed person we could only contact via XYZ@kurzweilai.net email. That revealed a lot about the fundamental dysfunction on the forum: the person everyone thought was the moderator and to whom all the complaints were directed was not actually the moderator, and even though she was aware for years that users were mistaken in their belief about what she did, Amara didn't correct the misunderstanding until things hit rock bottom and a group of angry users confronted her about why she wasn't doing anything to help. 

 

It was also clear that Amara and the moderator didn't communicate with each other enough, and she didn't seem to be aware of just how many complaints some of the worst users had against them. 

 

Anyway, futuretimeline.net is a much better-run forum (though, to be honest, that isn't much of a compliment since it just means basic moderation gets done here). I recommend you stick to writing about futurism, technology and science and avoid any unrelated political talk. Good to have you. Start posting content! 


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