I seem to recall that Yudkowsky first claimed he didn't need to get a degree in any of the fields on which he still illiterately pontificates because the singularity was supposedly so near it would be a waste of time. Of course nowadays Robot Cultists like Bostrom who managed at least to do the work to get into the academy are so busy enabling Yudkowsky as a member of the fellow-faithful, getting him publications and citations and speaking gigs he could scarcely manage for himself with his online catalog of facile pseudo-philosophical fanfic about Harry Potter and Flowers for Algernon, that it remains a waste of time for Yudkowsky to set aside his guru-gig and actually see if his marginal convictions would long survive unqualified were he to go through the long slog of engaging with people who actually know what they're talking about. I actually do not doubt Yudkowsky is intelligent enough to benefit from an actual degree program and long-term engagement with the demands of real research. The path he is on does damage to the world -- deranging the terms of public deliberation and providing rationales for elite-incumbent interests on urgent technoscience questions -- but also to himself as far as I'm concerned. A caveat though: philosophy departments will obviously let anybody through (hell, even me!), and Yudkowsky would not be helped in the least by a degree in philosophy which he then treated as an endorsement of his skills in computer science or his knowledge of physics. It is yet another sign of the extreme and at this point multi-generational decline into crisis of Anglo-American analytic philosophy that it can no longer insulate itself from futurology being done in its name and under its auspices.
Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Sunday, October 12, 2014
In the Moot long-time friend of blog "JimF" cites "Meta-Med Senior Health Research and Medical Associate" Dr. Scott Siskind, a.k.a "Scott S. Alexander" (he's quoting people quoting people quoting people so I might have the attribution wrong). Meta-Med, you may recall, is a plutocratic/"personalized" eugenicist/"enhancement" medical/"kindasorta" outfit with lots of robocultic muckety mucks behind it, and I drew some attention to it and to the transhumanists/singularitarians connected to it in the post to which the Moot I'm upgrading here is appended. Anyway, it turns out that in the recent best-selling and very widely reviewed book Superintelligence by transhumanist singularitarian Robot Cultist Nick Bostrom, "Eliezer [Yudkowsky] gets cited just about every other page, and in MIRI HQ there is a two-way videoscreen link from them to Nick Bostrom’s office in Oxford because they coordinate so much." This commenter then goes on to say that, "Searching the book’s bibliography [there are many] citations of MIRI people." MIRI is an acronym for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute which used to be the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (long associated with Yudkowsky fanboys), but changed its name as the burgeoning recent corporate-military mainstreaming of Singularity ideology via Singularity University (so-called), the Singularity Summit, and various Google projects to code a Robot God and end death have started to attract more serious attention and cash. The commenter does note an interesting traffic between MIRI folks and people being hired by Google in these projects, and so the name change may be as much or more a matter of creating confusions about uncomfortable associations than the official story of eliminating confusions about inaccurate associations. Be that as it may, MIRI in its present incarnation overlaps with Meta-Med in many of its funders and advisors, as full-on fulminating techno-transcendentalism still remains confined to a fairly cramped sub(cult)ure. Specific names that come up in the comment from the Moot about robocultic citations in Bostrom's bibliography are "Stuart Armstrong, Kaj Sotala, Paul Christiano, Wei Dai, Peter de Blanc, Nick Hay, Jeff Kaufman, Roko Mijic, Luke Muehlhauser, Carl Shulman, Michael Vassar, and nine different Eliezer publications." (Spelunk the Moot, by the way, to find half of these folks cutting their teeth the long decade through, some of them saying the most hilarious things imaginable.) To all this I added the following ruminations: