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How do your friends and family react to discussion about the singularity?

singularity athiesm Luddite the future intellegence amplification

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#1
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For example, whenever I talk about the singularity my best friend tells me that he "doesn't want to be a machine," and "art will die, since art was created by man". Also one of my other friends tell me that they don't want synthetic phenomenon going on in their brain. Another person I know said that machines can't have souls and that the soul can't be uploaded into a machine.

It makes me really worried. When the singularity happens will the majority of people will be anti singularity? Will we stay Luddites for the rest of time if people will make it not okay to amplify your intelligence? 



#2
wjfox

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I talk to my parents about it fairly regularly. They seem genuinely interested in what I have to say. My Dad (who is 65) is especially fascinated by the idea of brain implants and telepathy, while my Mum shows an interest in aging research, medical cures, etc. as well as the decline of religion (she is atheist). My brother isn't really that interested however and thinks I'm overly optimistic about the various trends.

 

I have some friends who are science/tech geeks like me, and one friend in particular (Mic) who LOVES talking about space, exoplanets, astrobiology, faster than light travel etc. Wish he'd post here more often, because he's very knowledgeable.

 

The Singularity is definitely being talked about more and more. I've noticed on Reddit especially, it appears regularly on front page topics.


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#3
Alric

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My friends are pretty doubtful but think it would be pretty cool. I went into a lot of detail with it with one friend and I think I started convincing him and he was getting more into the idea but is still a little doubtful. My parents and stuff are even more doubtful though and I don't really talk to them about it much. My step father in particular. I was talking to him about living a long time and he mentioned like Adam and Noah living hundreds of years, and I was all, "Yeah if you believe that." And he was like, "Yeah they are historical figures." And I was all, "No, they are biblical figures, big different." And that kind of ended the discussion.

 

These are all people with cell phones, and computers though. It is one thing to say you don't think something is possible, and it is another to see it available and turn it down. I think when presented with new cool technology they will all accept it. They are just take things as it comes and don't look too far ahead. I think most of these people will accept the singularity when it slaps them in the face and they will enjoy it. They just think everything is going to stay how it is now though, so don't have faith in the future.



#4
caltrek

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I really don't talk about the subject with friends and family. If I did, I would probably just get a lot of blank stares and questions about what "the singularity" is.

 

Melding with something bigger than yourself is a very old and spiritually significant topic. Artificial intelligence has more of a 21st century air about it. It is curious to see how those two ideas are coming together.   


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


#5
Yuli Ban

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Mother thinks it's all sci fi, and most of my friends (most) fall back on Terminator.

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


#6
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I'm also worried about how religious people will react to accelerating technological change. There might have to be an android rights movement. I've come across TONS of internet drama about how the singularity is the devil and stuff. Tons.

 

 

I'm worried about stuff like this.



#7
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Mother thinks it's all sci fi, and most of my friends (most) fall back on Terminator.

I've never watched The Terminator, because I thought it would just make me irritated. Maybe I'll watch it some time soon.



#8
Mike the average

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Thanks for starting this thread, I've been wondering how bad I am at conveying the message!

 

Most of my friends hear what I have to say but have no further interest and a lot of these are well educated geeks even, that's whats disappointing.  Everyone else has no interest, females in particular quietly walk away thinking im ACTUALLY going mad.  I have not inspired even one person to have an interest in the future/singularity.  Its like people aren't interested in the future and its hard to tell them how incredibly different tech will be in 50 years.

 

Actually ive only vaguely inspired my jamming partner Gene aka 'the genie', aka 'the Genius' aka 'Mike and the Genie' who smokes a bit of weed now and then and is into pseudo science, telescopes, magnets and perpetual motors.... im not sure that counts?


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'Force always attracts men of low morality' - Einstein
'Great spirits always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds' - Einstein

#9
explorer154

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One of my friends  has graduated at the Faculty for Electric Engineering (the most prestigious and difficult college in my country) and he is also very smart and interested in technology and extremely talented for mathematics. Yet he is quite skeptical about singularity and all those things. He repeats how AI is extremely difficult and highly technical and specialized field, and how it didn't produce extreme progress through its history...

He's also thinking that technology is just one aspect of life and can't be a solution to all problems, like panacea. IMO also singularitarianism is a bit too focused on just one thing, so it has some elements of religion to it as well. I know what exponential growth is but still, I find it a bit difficult to assume that everything will happen as Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge predict. It's all nice to talk about it as long as it is somewhere in the future. When you imagine it actually happening in the present, the whole idea becomes more dangerous and more unrealistic as well. We need to put into equation also politics, sub-singularitarian form of AI that may also be powerful, and that will probably be used by governments, etc... I think such a big and disruptive technology will be more controlled than we imagine. It's also debatable if people will ever try to make a true strong AI...

 

I guess we are too much thinking about future and technology advances instead of focusing on improving our life now in present. We could learn something from Kurzweil: he is trying to make his body and mind healthy and robust with all those supplements and stuff. Maybe he is going a bit too far with it. But we need to focus on improving ourselves mentally and phisically through exercise, reading, improving social skills, work, etc...

 

I think singularity will be very disruptive event if it ever happens. Imagine differences in the world at that moment. It's not the same if you happen to be in Sweden at that time, or in Congo or Chad or Ethiopia. Maybe you'll be sick. Some people will be illiterate. Some will be stupid. Some will be morbidly obese. Many will be depressed and have huge psychological issues.

 

I think singularity is event that we know nothing about... but we should try to plan our life as if it won't happen, but also we need to be ready if it does happen. In both cases, we should work on having good relationships, friendships, hobbies, good job, some funds, being out of debt, good health, and all the other usual boring stuff.



#10
caltrek

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I'm also worried about how religious people will react to accelerating technological change. There might have to be an android rights movement. I've come across TONS of internet drama about how the singularity is the devil and stuff. Tons.

 

 

I'm worried about stuff like this.

I am not quite sure what you are worried about in the example you cite.  The lady is obviously a little paranoid about stuff, but seemed like an essentially harmless individual. Are you worried about the same things she is worried about? ...or about her paranoia?

 

Don't be paranoid about paranoia.  :bye:


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


#11
Jakob

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Mostly, people I know are only mildly interested, if at all, in things like this.



#12
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I'm also worried about how religious people will react to accelerating technological change. There might have to be an android rights movement. I've come across TONS of internet drama about how the singularity is the devil and stuff. Tons.

 

 

I'm worried about stuff like this.

I am not quite sure what you are worried about in the example you cite.  The lady is obviously a little paranoid about stuff, but seemed like an essentially harmless individual. Are you worried about the same things she is worried about? ...or about her paranoia?

 

Don't be paranoid about paranoia.  :bye:

 

I'm worried about how she is paranoid.



#13
SG-1

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They all say that "man's knowledge is flawed, and we can't do that because it would be undoing what God did" 

They believe that God won't allow man to live longer so transhumanism won't happen, and if it does it will bring the end of the world.  They would rather die than get an implant.


Hey.  Stop reading.  The post is over.


#14
caltrek

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Unfortunately, paranoia is a part of the human condition. Fear is something that had a certain survival value during the evolution of our species. Some times that fear is rational, and sometimes it takes on irrational forms. I would not worry too much about the particular lady in question in that she did seem to have a certain sense of humor about what she was talking about.  It is the terrorist types who express their paranoia through violence rather than expressions of affection that most worry me. I am not sure that the singularity has generated enough fear for that type to emerge. Unfortunately, those types seem to be able to express their alienation at the drop of the hat about any number of issues. That is why we have law enforcement agencies and mental health institutions.

 

It is also good to remember that even paranoid people have enemies. So even though somebody may display gross ignorance about certain things they fear, they might not totally miss the mark in other aspects of what they worry about. I think the lady in the video falls into that category. Areas of vast ignorance blended with some essentially good advice. A strange combination indeed.   


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


#15
Raklian

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All those doubts and misgivings by so many people are the reason many of us won't make it through the Singularity. Won't make it in the sense they have lost sense of relevance or purpose in their relationship to the new, world-changing paradigm. They'll start to fight against this change until they'll either get pushed out into the fringes or killed in the process.


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#16
Jakob

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They all say that "man's knowledge is flawed, and we can't do that because it would be undoing what God did" 

They believe that God won't allow man to live longer so transhumanism won't happen, and if it does it will bring the end of the world.  They would rather die than get an implant.

That's ridiculous. I hope they'll change their tune when they see the great advantages that upgrading oneself offers.



#17
caltrek

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They all say that "man's knowledge is flawed, and we can't do that because it would be undoing what God did" 

They believe that God won't allow man to live longer so transhumanism won't happen, and if it does it will bring the end of the world.  They would rather die than get an implant.

That's ridiculous. I hope they'll change their tune when they see the great advantages that upgrading oneself offers.

 

The problem I see with that formulation is exactly what is meant by "upgrading oneself".  That is one of those phrases that can be deceptively simple on the surface, and yet very complex and difficult to pin down in practice. Sure, certain types of transplants will come to be seen as no-brainers. Still, things involving the human mind will by nature be much more problematic to sort out. 


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


#18
SG-1

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They don't mind using prosthesis and stuff like that.  They have a problem making us better mentally and physically.  It's sacrilegious to them.  My mom really thinks that science proves God's existence and that when you deny him you are just looking at the data wrong; therefore, you just have an opinion.


Hey.  Stop reading.  The post is over.


#19
Brohanne Jahms

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I never talk about the singularity itself, but what could be possible with future technology. They never believe me until I explain it or make a point and then they have nothing else to say on the matter. I've ran into a few people who don't like the idea and even lash out, but I don't bother wasting my time arguing with someone who's not open minded on the subject. Things are going to happen whether they like it or not and they'll end up adjusting to some degree or another.



#20
caltrek

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On the subject of the singularity versus religion.

 

Yes, I do believe Christians detect a threat here. For no other reason than because the belief in the benefits of the singularity very much strikes me as a new kind of religion. One that embraces the unity of things in much the same way as more traditional religions.  These more traditional religions exist side by side with each other and are themselves seen by many practitioners as mutually exclusive belief systems. So an embrace of the singularity is quite understandably seen as yet another competitor on the field.

 

I would point out that one of the strengths of Islam is how the unfolding of history is seen as being according to the will of God. They also believe that "things are going to happen whether they like it or not".

 

So one way of phrasing the question is: does God believe in the singularity?

 

Of course before answering that question, one needs to also address the question: does God exist?

 

Which in turn points to the question: what do you mean by "God"?


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






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: singularity, athiesm, Luddite, the future, intellegence amplification

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