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MichaelG comments on Crisis of Faith - Less Wrong

57 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 October 2008 10:08PM

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Comment author: MichaelG 11 October 2008 08:15:10AM 1 point [-]

Here's a doubt for you: I'm a nerd, I like nerds, I've worked on technology, and I've loved techie projects since I was a kid. Grew up on SF, all of that.

My problem lately is that I can't take Friendly AI arguments seriously. I do think AI is possible, that we will invent it. I do think that at some point in the next hundreds of years, it will be game over for the human race. We will be replaced and/or transformed.

I kind of like the human race! And I'm forced to conclude that a human race without that tiny fraction of nerds could last a good long time yet (tens of thousands of years) and would change only slowly, through biological evolution. They would not do much technology, since it takes nerds (in the broadest sense) to do this. But, they would still have fulfilling, human, lives.

On the other hand, I don't think a human race with nerds can forever avoid inventing a self-destructive technology like AI. So much as I have been brought up to think of politicians and generals as destroyers, and scientists and other nerds as creators, I have to admit that it's the other way around, ultimately.

The non-nerds can't destroy the human race. Only we nerds can do that.

That's my particular crisis of faith. Care to take a side?

Comment author: JohnH 22 April 2011 06:56:49PM 4 points [-]

The non-nerds can't destroy the human race.

Have you ever heard of the term hubris?

If you can't imagine ways in which the human race can be destroyed by non-nerds then that shows a lack of imagination not that it can not be done. Also, it isn't like nerds and non-nerds are actually a different species, people that do not have a natural aptitude for a subject are still capable of learning the subject,. If nerds all moved to nerdtopia other people would study what material there was on the subject and attempt to continue on. If this is not possible then you have applied the term nerd to be too broad such that it contains the majority of people and all that would be left are people that are incapable to fully taking care of themselves without some form of outside assistance and would thus destroy the human race by sheer ineptitude at basic survival skills.