“Species Dominance” Poll Results

For years, I have been complaining in the media that the level of optimism of Ray Kurzweil, concerning the rise of massively intelligent machines (artilects = artificial intellects) this century, is irresponsibly high. Kurzweil is a “Pollyannist” i.e. he sees everything through rose colored glasses. I, on the other hand, paint a very pessimistic picture, predicting that a portion of humanity (the Terrans (anti artilect)) will go to war to stop the Cosmists (pro artilect) and Cyborgists (who want to upgrade themselves into artilects) from building artilects that will have mental capacities trillions of trillions of times above human levels. This “Artilect War” I predict will kill billions of people, using later 21st century weaponry. I am thus a “Jeremaist” because I think that the most realistic scenario is actually the worst.

Our polar opposite views on the rise of the artilect this century, don’t seen to have influenced each other very much, so I began to wonder what could be done to get the pollyannists to take the negative scenarios more seriously. The answer I came up with was to use opinion polls with the general public, to benefit from the “wisdom of the crowds.” If the pollyannists could see that a substantial proportion of humanity thought that the negative scenarios should be taken seriously,  then maybe they would tone down the level of their optimism and become more realistic, more balanced, i.e. more pessimistic.

So, in the second half of 2011, I started taking opinion polls, by creating questionnaires. This essay reports on the results of two such polls. The first was a rather amateurish affair on my part, which nevertheless shocked me. It was to an Australian group of academic electronic engineers, 60% of whom thought that an “Artilect War” is coming between the Terrans and the Cosmists/Cyborgists. The second (more professional) was to an American group of designers/architects who were more optimistic, which showed interesting gender, religiosity, and age gaps in its results.

The 1st Questionnaire

In August of 2011, I gave a “species dominance” talk to some electronic engineers at Melbourne University, in Victoria, Australia. The audience consisted mainly of professors, lecturers, post docs and grad students, i.e. heavily “techie.” What follows is the questionnaire itself, and then the results and a bit of analysis. In the next section (3.) a more serious questionnaire follows, that resulted from consultation with a sociology professor, along with its results.

QUESTIONNAIRE on

MACHINES with SUPER HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

Definitions (please read this first)

Artilect : artificial intellect, massively intelligent machine

Cosmist : a person who wants humanity to build artilects

Terran : a person who does not want humanity to build artilects

Cyborg : cybernetic organism, part machine part human

Cyborgist : a person who wants to become an artilect by adding components to his brain

Species Dominance Debate : Should humanity build artilects in the coming decades?

Artilect War : A species dominance war between the Terrans and Cosmists/Cyborgists

A) Your sex

a)       Male

b)       Female

Ans :

B) Your age

Ans :

C) Your occupation/job

Ans :

D) Your religion (if any)

Ans :

1.  Which ONE of these three philosophies do you have the most sympathy for?

a)       Terranism (building artilects/cyborgs is too risky to human survival)

b)       Cosmism (artilect building is like god building)

c)       Cyborgism (modifying humans to become artilects)

Ans:

2.  Do you think humanity should allow artilects to exist that are more intelligent than humans? (Yes or No)

Ans:

3.  Do you think humanity should allow cyborgs to exist that are more intelligent than humans? (Yes or No)

Ans:

4.  Do you think that a species dominance war between human groups is –

a)       Extremely unlikely

b)       Moderately unlikely

c)       Moderately likely

d)       Highly likely

Ans:

5.   If super intelligent artilects come into being, do you think they will wipe out humanity with –

a)       Zero probability

b)       Very low probability

c)       Moderate probability

d)       High probability

e)       Certainty

Ans:

6.   Do you think a planet-wide maximum legal limit should be placed on the level of intelligence in our machines?

a)       Yes

b)       No

Ans:

7.   If you answered Yes to 6. should that maximum level of artificial intelligence be

less than human intelligence levels?

a)       Yes

b)       No

Ans:

8.   If our machines approach human intelligence levels in the coming decades, would that make you feel –

a)       Very fearful

b)       Fearful

c)       Indifferent

d)       Optimistic

e)       Very optimistic

Ans:

9.   In the next few decades, which of these three technologies do you think will most change the way we live?

a)       Artificial Intelligence

b)       Biotechnology

c)       Nanotechnology

Ans :

10.   Should humanity technologically extend its mental and physical capabilities?

a)       Yes

b)       No

Ans :

11.   Should humanity embrace or ban “super human” technologies?

a)         Embrace

b)         Ban

Ans :

 

Analysis/Comments re Questionnaire “Machines with Super Human Intelligence”

QA : males 24, females 5

QD : religious 6, non religious 15

Q1 : Preferred philosophy? Terran 6, Cosmist 6, Cyborgist 12

Q2 : Should build artilects?  yes 25, no 2

Q3 : Should build cyborgs?  yes 21, no 6

Q4 : Artilect War coming? Extr unlikely 6, mod unlikely 6, mod likely 9, highly likely 8

Q5 : Artilects wipe out humanity? Zero prob 5, v low prob 11, mod prob 9, high prob 3,

certain 0

Q6 : Limit on AIQ? yes 7, no 20

Q7 : AIQ less than human?  Yes 2, no 6

Q8 : Fearful/optimistic? v fearful 1, fearful 3, indiff 3, optimistic 15, v optimistic 6

Q9 : Biggest changer?  AI 4, Bio 11, Nano 10

Q10 : Extend mental/physical?  yes 25, no 3

Q11 : Embrace superhuman?  embrace 24, ban 2

 

Comments

QA : Males more interested in this issue? 5:1

QD : Most were non religious ~ 5:2

Q1 :  Cyborgism most popular, Cyb:Ter ~2:1, Cyb:Cos ~2:1

Q2 : Most want to see artilects built 25:2

Q3 : Most want to see cyborgs built 7:2

Q4 :  17:29 think mod or highly likely an artilect war is coming, i.e. ~60%

12:29 think mod or extraord unlikely an artilect war is coming, i.e. ~40%

i.e. 3:2  mod high-high:mod low-low

Q5 : Few people think artilects will wipe out humanity

Q6 : Most people DON’T want a limit on AIQ levels.  20:7

Q8 : Most people (v.) optimistic about machines approaching human level IQ  20:7

Q9 : Most people think biotech/nanotech will have biggest impact over AI 5:1

Q10 : Nearly everyone thinks humanity should extend mental/physical capacities ~8:1

Q11 : Nearly everyone thinks humanity should embrace super human technologies ~12:1

 

General Comments

If further, more scientifically based, questionnaires continue to show similar answers to Q4 above, then this is highly significant. It would mean that the majority of people think that an Artilect War is coming. This will force the more optimistic of the artilect futurists to be less sanguine, and it will give the debate on the species dominance issue more focus. The world media should then be contacted, because this is big news. If an Artilect War comes, then it may be the most significant event ever to happen to humanity, especially if billions of people are killed as a result.

The 2nd Questionnaire

The above first questionnaire was created by me. It will be obvious to anyone that it was an amateurish affair. I am not a sociologist nor a psychologist, so my first questionnaire’s methodology was not very scientific. It was more a “consciousness raising” device. Various sociologists criticized me for it, so for the second questionnaire, I got some professional help. The father of my good friend Ben Goertzel (Ted Goertzel) is an American sociology professor, so I asked for his help in making a second questionnaire by sending him the first as a guide to what I was trying to do. He then sent back his suggestions, which I changed a little bit (meaning that, while Ted’s advice was very helpful, he can’t be held responsible for what I ultimately did with it!). The resulting 19 questions, you can see below.

This questionnaire, in the actual format that was distributed to the people who filled it in, can be found here. On one side of the single page questionnaire were definitions of the three main philosophies concerning the species dominance debate. These definitions were needed so that people who were new to the debate could familiarize themselves with the main viewpoints. The other side contained the questions.

In October of 2011, I gave an invited talk to the Applied Brilliance meeting (similar in format to the TED talks) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA. A video of this talk can be found (http://vimeo.com/31063556). The husband of the organizer of Applied Brilliance (Deborah Patton) helped tidy up the questionnaire a bit, and now I will use it again at the Humanity Plus Hong Kong conference  in  Hong Kong in December 2011.

At the Applied Brilliance meeting, 42 of the 45 attendees filled in the questionnaires. It was an interesting bunch of people (mostly designers and architects, and definitely non techies), with a more or less 50/50 split between male and female, theist and atheist, and “oldies” (more than 50 years old (>50)) and “youngies” (less than 50 years old (<50)), so I was able to compare across gender, religiosity and age lines.

Specifically, of the 42 respondees, 24 were male, 18 female; 20 were theists, 22 atheists; 19 were under 50 (<50), 23 were over 50 (>50). 10 of them labeled themselves “Cosmists”, i.e. they believed that humanity should  build artilects (“artificial artilects”, massively intelligent machines), 7 labeled themselves “Terrans,” i.e. they believed that  humanity should NOT build artilects, and 9 labeled themselves “Cyborgists”, i.e. they believed that people should modify themselves to become artilects. 16 were not sure.

Summarizing :

Respondees : 42

Males  24, Females : 18

Theists : 20, Atheists : 22

Youngies (<50) : 23, Oldies (>50) : 19

Cosmists 10, Terrans 7, Cyborgists 9, Not sure 16

Notes on the 2nd Questionnaire

The questionnaire consisted of 19 opinions that respondees were asked to give a 1 to 5 score to. 5 meant strongly agree, 4 moderately agree, 3 not sure, 2 moderately disagree, 1 strongly disagree. The number of people who scored 5 or 4 were said in the percentages below, to have “agreed”. Those who scored 3 were said to be unsure (?). The number of people who scored 2 or 1 were said, in the percentages below, to have “disagreed.” For the raw scores, see (http://profhugodegaris.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/copy-of-artbrilliancequestionnaireexcel.xls).

The results are formatted as follows, taking one of the opinions as an example :

Q10 There should be a law limiting the intelligence of computers and robots.

(male: a 04%, ? 21%, d 67%) (ath: a 00%, ? 18%, d 73%) (>50: a 00%, ? 16%, d 84%)

(fem:   a 06%, ? 22%, d 67%) (th:   a 15%, ? 25%, d 55%) (<50: a 09%, ? 26%, d 52%)

(all:     a 02%, ? 21%, d 69%)

Comments: Most disagreed, especially the atheists, and the oldies very especially.

The opinion statement should be straightforward. (male: a 04%, ? 21%, d 67%) means that 4% of the males agreed, 21% weren’t sure, 67% disagreed. The abbreviations used were, male: for male, fem: for female, ath: for atheist, th: for theist, >50: for the oldies, <50: for the youngies, all: for all the respondees. If a subgroup (e.g. atheists) of one of the 3 categories (gender, religiosity, age) differed by more than 15 percentage points from its corresponding opposite subgroup (e.g. theists), the percentages are given in red, for emphasis. The percentages are followed by comments that summarize in words, the main results of the opinion. These comments reflect closely the percentages of the all: results, as well as the red percentages.

2nd QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS

Q1  Scientists should try to build computers that are smarter than people.

(male: a 67%, ? 13%, d 17%) (ath: a 55%, ? 14%, d 23%) (>50: a 74%, ? 16%, d 11%)

(fem:   a 44%, ? 33%, d 06%) (th: a 60%, ? 30%, d 10%) (<50: a 43%, ? 26%, d 22%)

(all:     a 57%, ? 21%, d 17%

Comments: Most agreed, especially the men and oldies.

Q2 People should be allowed to implant computers into their bodies.

(male: a 67%, ? 21%, d 08%) (ath: a 55%, ? 32%, d 05%) (>50: a 63%, ? 26%, d 11%)

(fem:   a 39%, ? 50%, d 06%) (th: a 55%, ? 35%, d 10%) (<50: a 48%, ? 39%, d 04%)

(all:     a 55%, ? 33%, d 07%)

Comments: Half agreed, with the men and oldies agreeing more.

Q3 Highly intelligent computers will be risky to human survival.

(male: a 29%, ? 25%, d 33%) (ath: a 27%, ? 27%, d 36%) (>50: a 26%, ? 32%, d 37%)

(fem:   a 33%, ? 28%, d 33%) (th:   a 35%, ? 25%, d 35%) (<50: a 35%, ? 22%, d 35%)

(all:      a 31%, ? 26%, d 38%)

Comments: Only about 40% disagreed, a third agreed. Scary.

Q4 It is against God and nature to build computers smarter than people.

(male: a 13%, ? 00%, d 83%) (ath: a 00%, ? 09%, d 82%) (>50: a 05%, ? 00%, d 95%)

(fem:   a 00%, ? 28%, d 67%) (th: a 10%, ? 15%, d 75%) (<50: a 04%, ? 22%, d 65%)

(all:     a 02%, ? 12%, d 81%)

Comments: Most (80%) disagreed with this, especially the oldies vs. the youngies.

Q5 Building computers smarter than people should be against the law.

(male: a 04%, ? 13%, d 79%) (ath: a 00%, ? 14%, d 77%) (>50: a 00%, ? 11%, d 89%)

(fem:   a 00%, ? 22%, d 72%) (th:   a 05%, ? 20%, d 75%) (<50: a 04%, ? 22%, d 65%)

(all:     a 00%, ? 17%, d 79%)

Comments: Most (80%) disagreed, especially the oldies vs. the youngies.

Q6 It is against natural law to build robots that are part human.

(male: a 17%, ? 13%, d 63%) (ath: a 18%, ? 09%, d 64%) (>50: a 21%, ? 00%, d 79%)

(fem:   a 17%, ? 39%, d 39%) (th: a 15%, ? 40%, d 40%) (<50: a 13%, ? 43%, d 30%)

(all:     a 19%, ? 24%, d 50%)

Comments: About half disagreed, with males, atheists and oldies disagreeing a lot  more.

Q7 A war between robots and humans is likely to happen in the future.

(male: a 17%, ? 21%, d 54%) (ath: a 18%, ? 32%, d 41%) (>50: a 16%, ? 37%, d 47%)

(fem:   a 17%, ? 50%,d 28%) (th: a 15%, ? 35%, d 45%) (<50: a 17%, ? 30%, d 39%)

(all:     a 14%, ? 38%, d 43%)

Comments: Only about 40% disagreed, with the women disagreeing a lot less than the men.

Q8 If superhuman robots are built, they may not care about humanity.

(male: a 38%, ? 38%, d 17%) (ath: a 27%, ? 41%, d 23%) (>50: a 37%, ? 42%, d 21%)

(fem:   a 39%, ? 39%, d 17%) (th: a 50%, ? 35%, d 10%) (<50: a 39%, ? 35%, d 13%)

(all:     a 38%, ? 38%, d 17%)

Comments:Nearly 40% of people agree with this, especially the theists vs. the atheists. Ominous.

Q9 No one should be allowed to implant a computer in his or her body.

(male: a 17%, ? 13%, d 58%) (ath: a 14%, ? 18%, d 59%) (>50: a 05%, ? 16%, d 79%)

(fem:   a 00%, ? 28%, d 67%) (th: a 05%, ? 20%, d 65%) (<50: a 13%, ? 22%, d 48%)

(all:     a 07%, ? 19%, d 64%)

Comments: Most disagreed, especially the oldies, whereas the men agreed more than the women.

Q10 There should be a law limiting the intelligence of computers and robots.

(male: a 04%, ? 21%, d 67%) (ath: a 00%, ? 18%, d 73%) (>50: a 00%, ? 16%, d 84%)

(fem:   a 06%, ? 22%, d 67%) (th:   a 15%, ? 25%, d 55%) (<50: a 09%, ? 26%, d 52%)

(all:     a 02%, ? 21%, d 69%)

Comments: Most disagreed, especially the atheists and the oldies very especially.

Q11 I am frightened about the possibility of robots taking over the world.

(male: a 17%, ? 04%, d 71%) (ath: a 18%, ? 05%, d 68%) (>50: a 16%, ? 11%, d 74%)

(fem:   a 28%, ? 22%, d 44%) (th: a 25%, ? 15%, d 55%) (<50: a 26%, ? 13%, d 48%)

(all:     a 21%, ? 12%, d 60%)

Comments: Nearly 2/3 disagreed, especially the men and the oldies, but a third did not disagree.

Q12 It would be a great achievement to build robots smarter than humans.

(male: a 58%, ? 21%, d 13%) (ath: a 45%, ? 32%, d 14%) (>50: a 58%, ? 26%, d 16%)

(fem:   a 39%, ? 44%, d 22%) (th: a 55%, ? 30%, d 10%) (<50: a 43%, ? 35%, d 09%)

(all: a 50%, ? 31%, d 12%)

Comments: Half agreed, especially the men and the oldies.

Q13 There is a real danger that super-intelligent robots will wipe out humanity.

(male: a 08%, ? 21%, d 63%) (ath: a 05%, ? 32%, d 55%) (>50: a 05%, ? 32%, d 63%)

(fem:   a 11%, ? 39%, d 44%) (th: a 15%, ? 30%, d 50%) (<50: a 13%, ? 26%, d 48%)

(all: a 07%, ? 31%, d 55%)

Comments: Only about half disagreed, with the men and oldies disagreeing more.

Q14 It is human destiny to build entities smarter than ourselves.

(male: a 50%, ? 17%, d 21%) (ath: a 50%, ? 14%, d 27%) (>50: a 58%, ? 11%, d 26%)

(fem:   a 50%, ? 17%, d 28%) (th:   a 55%, ? 15%, d 20%) (<50: a 43%, ? 17%, d 26%)

(all: a 48%, ? 14%, d 29%)

Comments: Half agreed, especially the oldies, but nearly a third disagreed.

Q15 Scientists should leave the human genome as God and nature created it.

(male: a 13%, ? 25%, d 54%) (ath: a 09%, ? 32%, d 50%) (>50: a 16%, ? 16%, d 68%)

(fem:   a 22%, ? 33%, d 39%) (th:a 25%, ? 25%, d 45%) (<50: a 17%, ? 39%, d 30%)

(all: a 17%, ? 29%, d 48%)

Comments: About half disagreed, especially the men, the atheists and the oldies.

Q16 Genetic engineering should be used to cure diseases and improve crops.

(male: a 67%, ? 13%, d 13%) (ath: a 59%, ? 23%, d 09%) (>50: a 74%, ? 16%, d 11%)

(fem:   a 67%, ? 28%, d 00%) (th:a 75%, ? 15%, d 05%) (<50: a 61%, ? 22%, d 04%)

(all: a 67%, ? 19%, d 07%)

Comments: Most agreed, especially the theists.

Q17 Tiny robots should be built to enter the human blood stream and cure diseases.

(male: a 71%, ? 17%, d 04%) (ath: a 55%, ? 27%, d 09%) (>50: a 84%, ? 16%, d 00%)

(fem:   a 61%, ? 22%, d 11%) (th: a 80%, ? 10%, d 05%) (<50: a 52%, ? 22%, d 13%)

(all: a 67%, ? 19%, d 07%)

Comments: Most agreed, with the theists and the oldies agreeing strongly.

Q18 A species-dominance war (Terrans vs. Cosmists/Cyborgists) is coming.

(male: a 25%, ? 17%, d 50%) (ath: a 14%, ? 23%, d 55%) (>50: a 11%, ? 37%, d 53%)

(fem:   a 06%, ? 44%, d 44%) (th: a 15%, ? 35%, d 45%) (<50: a 17%, ? 17%, d 52%)

(all: a 14%, ? 29%, d 50%)

Comments: A quarter of the men agreed, almost no women. Half disagreed.

Q19 Human beings and artilects can peacefully coexist.

(male: a 58%, ? 21%, d 08%) (ath: a 59%, ? 23%, d 09%) (>50: a 63%, ? 21%, d 11%)

(fem:   a 33%, ? 44%, d 17%) (th:a 35%, ? 40%, d 15%) (<50: a 35%, ? 39%, d 13%)

(all: a 48%, ? 31%, d 12%)

Comments: Half agreed, but only a third of the women, with the men, the atheists and oldies agreeing more.

Gender, Religiosity, and Age GAPS

Men agreed more than women on the following opinions :-

Q1 Scientists should try to build computers that are smarter than people.

Q2 People should be allowed to implant computers into their bodies.

Q9 No one should be allowed to implant a computer in his or her body.

Q12 It would be a great achievement to build robots smarter than humans.

Q18 A species-dominance war (Terrans vs. Cosmists/Cyborgists) is coming.

Q19 Human beings and artilects can peacefully coexist.

 

Atheists agreed more than theists on the following opinions :-

Q6 It is against natural law to build robots that are part human.

Q19 Human beings and artilects can peacefully coexist.

 

Theists agreed more than atheists on the following opinions :-

Q8 If superhuman robots are built, they may not care about humanity.

Q15 Scientists should leave the human genome as God and nature created it.

Q16 Genetic engineering should be used to cure diseases and improve crops.

Q17 Tiny robots should be built to enter the human blood stream and cure diseases

 

Atheists disagreed more than theists on the following opinions :-

Q10 There should be a law limiting the intelligence of computers and robots.

 

Oldies agreed more than youngies on the following opinions :-

Q1  Scientists should try to build computers that are smarter than people.

Q2 People should be allowed to implant computers into their bodies.

Q12 It would be a great achievement to build robots smarter than humans.

Q14 It is human destiny to build entities smarter than ourselves.

Q17 Tiny robots should be built to enter the human blood stream and cure diseases.

Q19 Human beings and artilects can peacefully coexist.

 

Oldies disagreed more than youngies on the following opinions :-

Q4 It is against God and nature to build computers smarter than people.

Q5 Building computers smarter than people should be against the law.

Q6 It is against natural law to build robots that are part human.

Q9 No one should be allowed to implant a computer in his or her body.

Q10 There should be a law limiting the intelligence of computers and robots.

Q11 I am frightened about the possibility of robots taking over the world.

Q13 There is a real danger that super-intelligent robots will wipe out humanity.

Q15 Scientists should leave the human genome as God and nature created it.

It appears that the greatest differences lie between the oldies and the youngies, rather than between men and women, or theists and atheists.

There is a lot of detail in these answers that merit deeper study.

A New Branch of Sociology : “Artilect Sociology”

Given that the rise of the artilect will probably prove to be this century’s dominant global political issue, it makes sense to suggest that the sociologists and psychologists need to get interested in this huge issue and apply their respective skills to its elucidation.

I’m hoping that the above two questionnaires will inspire ambitious young graduate students or young tenure track professors in these two fields to undertake more comprehensive and more scientific studies on the species dominance issue. Once enough studies of this type are undertaken, we will be able to talk about the establishment of a new branch of sociology or psychology, namely “artilect sociology” or “artilect psychology”. Once it is established, professors can write textbooks and teach courses at undergraduate and graduate levels on the topic.

Once the “wisdom of the crowds” is used in the “species dominance debate” (i.e. “Should humanity build artilects this century?”) then a more realistic, more balanced scenario of what is likely to happen can be created, instead of the naively and irresponsibly optimistic scenarios of the “pollyannists.”

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    16 Comments

    1. The transformation from human to post human, what will be lost?

      I suppose this transformation has been going on since the dawn of the human species but now it is accelerating to the stage of cyborgism, where physical organs are being replaced by mechanized components.

      I hold out hope for DNA engineering to be the true transformation catalyst because replacing biology by computerized components is possibly the path to extinction for all carbon based Earth life.

    2. Yes. Well put, nexus.

    3. I see a great problem with this kind of thinking. It is based on fear and ego. A true wise society got no desire to dominate anyone neither having others dominate them. Why can’t we just let everyone do as they want without hurting each other? The whole thing screams false dichotomy to me. Also those neologisms are not really helpful either. So what if the “Terrans” don’t want to be cyborgs? Just let them live their life as they please and secure this right for everyone, including the right to become cyborgs or build AI. Also pure rational cold intelligence is not wisdom. Anything bad can be justified. The key is mutual respect. If AI really would be so smart as we are told, they would not act out of a lower ego like humans but understand why humans are so dull and strive to be something nobler which guarantees freedom for everyone and upholds balance.

    4. I really don’t think a “war” between Terrans and Artilects would last very long or be very challenging, given that Artilects would be trillions of times smarter. For example, how long would a war last between gorillas and humans? And we aren’t anywhere near trillions of times smarter than gorillas. Such a “war” would be more like taking candy away from a baby.

      • It’s not necessarily that obvious. Numbers, too, matter in combat. A single smart person with an excellent sword is (in many cases) in trouble against a hundred others armed with only mediocre swords.

        Of course, Artilects might invent some revolutionary new weapon, something to beat the nukes and missiles with. Will they? I don’t know.

    5. If you do further surveys, I think you need to alter the language of your questions. They are not framed in a neutral enough manner. Furthermore, you should step away from defining terms at the start and then having people make decisions about those terms. There is a lot of bias creeping into the results at the moment.

      For example, instead of asking people how likely they believe it is that Terrans will war with Artilects, it is much better to just avoid all of the new terminology. Rephrasing it to, “How likely do you believe it is that human built machines of massive inteligence will spark a war between those in favor of these machines and those not in favor of these machines?” Even that could be cleaned up more, you need to have the questions as general as possible, and you need to not be priming your respondants with a set of definitions at the begining.

      This is assuming you want valid results. If you are seeking just to confirm what you already believe, then ignore what I wrote. Good luck.

    6. I think Vance Woodwards point on how vague the idea of a “Dominance war” is should be extended to q5, “If super intelligent artilects come into being, do you think they will wipe out humanity with”. Similarly to the fact that dominance isn’t necessarily achieved through physical imposition, I found myself having to answer “high probability” to most accurately reflect my opinion, all the while knowing that my opinion, if expressed in its entirety couldn’t be construed as thinking that artilects will kill all terrans. This seems very significant to me, because most transhumanists that I know do believe that conversion of humans into cyborgs will eventually result in few to no humans remaining.
      I could waste my time knit picking about this article, but the bottom line should be that while questionnaires are not without value, determining a popular opinion does not give an arguement more weight, and I think that the analysis of details are distracting some of the readers from remembering that.
      Very few people who claim to oppose new technologies succeed in practicing what they preach. If antiartilects are going to protest, they’re going to be doing it through a neural-linked protest app.

    7. Well, I think my AI already surpasses the intelligence level of those who think that “AIQ” of machines should be limited. 🙂

    8. In my own small way, I have also toyed with the idea that there will be conflict between those who want to create enhanced intelligence and those wish to prevent it (for example, “One Singularity or Many,” http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/11/10/one-singularity%E2%80%A6or-many/)

      But, as a dedicated “cyborgist,” I wonder if the advantages of enhanced intelligence would be so great that any conflict between Terrans and their rivals wouldn’t be very short indeed. And, given its speed, perhaps relartively bloodless. Not completely, but relatively.

      victor-storiguard.blogspot.com

    9. oops, I meant to say that “Dominance war” does suggest something less than guns/bombs.

    10. Aside from all the problems that you and the first commentor mentioned, you didn’t sufficiently define artilect war. Is it necessarily an all-out physical combat, or something more metaphoric, like who’s the best hedge-fund manager? “Dominance war” doesn’t seems to suggest something less than guns and bombs.

      And I don’t see how cyborgists and cosmists are mutually exclusive, which you apparently believe is obvious.

      Also, it seems like you’re surveying people whose opinions probably are so wildly different than the “pollyannists” that you’d really need to exclude them if you wanted any traction.

      For instance, if someone thinks that the words “against god” mean anything at all, I’m not listening to anything else they have to say. Believing in god is one thing. But “against god”? WTF does that even mean?

      And if somebody thinks anybody has a right to tell me what I may and may not put into my body, again, you can write them off as an opinion leader.

      Really, your survey is more like a questionnaire to figure out who are the people are that I am definitely not interested in hearing from.

      Anyhoooo, there seems to be a pretty fundamental disagreement. Off the top of my head, I can only guess that you believe either or both that (a) it is an inherent quality of life that it seeks to destroy or dominate everything else, especially those things that are most similar, OR (b) there never will be a time of post-scarcity.

      You seem to think one or both things things are obviously true. Maybe you think (a) and (b) just might be true, and therefore they are things that we should be concerned about.

      Either way, I reckon that those with a favorable future outlook probably think (a) and (b) are obviously false, myself included (that is, they think that I am obviously false, too).

      Whatever it is, I suspect there’s some fundamental disagreement about reality or the nature of sentient life that needs to be resolved before you’re ever going start swaying anybody’s opinion with or without a survey.

    11. Dear Professor Hugo de Garis,

      Thank you for bringing binary clarity to this conversation. Your questionnaire intentionally or inadvertaly causes the respondent to consider the fact that Male and Female are the only sexes/genders. One may choose an aberrant sexual act but that’s not a gender.

      Sticking to facts in your poll causes participants to think about their gender ( not how one chooses to be “sexual” ) thus their answers impact how they view their gender. It makes sense that this type of questionnaire brings balance by causing critical rational thought.

      I can think of no better way to bring honesty to humanity’s reality than to ask us to be truthful with ourselves (Are we male or female?)

      Creating a gender child in a test tube or medical procedures to change gender only circles the facts of natural creation.
      Of course we are free to go around natural law.

      Introspective and thought provoking Sir.

      Thanks Again

    12. “If the pollyannists could see that a substantial proportion of humanity thought that the negative scenarios should be taken seriously, then maybe they would tone down the level of their optimism and become more realistic, more balanced, i.e. more pessimistic.”

      I don’t see why they would. I even don’t see why it would matter. You can’t stop current technological developments, not by debate, not by other means. So the future will happen, optimistic, pessimistic, or anything in between.

      From a sociological and historical point of view these kind of questionaires are interesting (What where people thinking about the singularity at 2011?) but it won’t change a thing about the future.
      If you want pessimism, here you have it…

      • Your position is hopeless.
        Either people don’t listen to you and billions die.
        Or, they listen to you, avert the Artilect War and you go down in history as an idiot.
        They will mock your questionaire.
        How’s that for pessimism.

    13. 1) Your sex

      a) Male
      b) Female

      I stopped reading at this point because the quality of a BINARY only mindset towards gender is infinitely limited. To avoid further aggravation and possible hegelian eclectic type agendas (either total war jeremaist/total peace pollyannists – more subtle or subconscious proselytization – why can’t there be limited wars in treaty areas with some of the world at peace and other parts at war eh?), I skipped the article, fairly disgusted.

      Heres how this first, should have read, exposing the severe limitations of thought methodology that made me leave off reading the rest of the article :

      1) Your sex

      a) Male
      b) Female
      c) Intergender
      d) Sexless
      e) Other Gender not listed above : ________ (pls. fill in/describe)

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