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MaoShan comments on The Value (and Danger) of Ritual - Less Wrong

29 Post author: Raemon 30 December 2011 06:52AM

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Comment author: MaoShan 01 February 2012 03:50:15AM *  3 points [-]

One way I think that rituals and folklore gain their power is by personifying an abstract idea, giving it something for a social creature to fixate on. This can be done for the Singularity by giving it a name. This may sound strange, but it's not that far from reality to begin with. The Singularity is an event, that is true, but I also link it in my mind to what comes from that event. That is, FAI or uFAI.

A lot of the general ideas of an AI would be considered to have a personality, or at least the ability to communicate with humans. There are lots of shared characteristics exclusive to either FAI or uFAI, allowing us the ability to imagine this future personality, regardless of the engineering details. Most who are willing to accept the idea of either type of AI resulting from the Singularity should see a friend in one, an enemy in the other. History has shown that many people are willing to worship and fear ultrapowerful beings who don't actually exist; it doesn't seem too far a leap to worship and fear ultrapowerful beings who just don't happen to exist yet.

Evolution, nature, the universe, and statistics can have qualitatively positive or negative personal consequences, but calling them God and Devil give them focus. They have their own nebulous sets of characteristics, and when enough of those are present, behold, the Devil did it, or behold, God's mercy hath done this. Is God a computer? No. Is the devil a hyperintelligent self-aware program? No.

We have two new gods in need of names.

Oh, I meant, this is a possibility of the misuse of ritual. Yeah.