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What Do Elon Musk and the Taliban Have in Common?

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    What do Elon Musk and the Taliban have in common? Both have equated advanced technologies they’re afraid of, with Satan.

    [See the full post at: What Do Elon Musk and the Taliban Have in Common?]


    Serban: Yeah, I have read lots of Nick Bostrom’s stuff and also debated/discussed with him and his FHI colleagues in person at Oxford.

    See my dialogue with MIRI honcho Luke Muehlhauser at https://hplusmagazine.com/2012/05/05/how-dangerous-is-artificial-general-intelligence-muelhauser-interviews-goertzel/ … he thinks basically the same way as Bostrom

    I don’t think Bostrom’s argument is insane. It’s somewhat paranoid, in the sense that it takes **possibilities** (with unclear probabilities attached) and then systematically talks about them as if they were **high probabilities**….

    My experience with Bostrom and his chums is that they tend to start out with arguments like “AGI will probably kill all humans, if we don’t specifically design it not to, in some way that we have no idea how to do now.” … and then when you push them, they end up with weaker arguments effectively amounting to “AGI might kill all humans, and you can’t say this is impossible, so we should all be really scared.” But the latter argument can be made about an awful lot of technologies.

    I would like to emphasize, though, that I like Nick personally and have a lot of respect for his intellect and his leadership skills.


    Sup, Ben. I guess you did not receive my email back in October. So instead of re-sending like you suggest on your web page, I’ll just post it publicly instead =)

    Subject: Quick caveat about your article on summoning the Devil


    While I agree with everything on your article, it just occurred to me: Ray Kurzweil did answer to whether or not God exists with: Not Yet. =)

    Now, how seriously you take both positions will dictate whether you proceed to the next logical conclusion: Justice being an art, perfect ethics probably being impossible (tho I do advocate trying to approach perfection in every endeavor) we are now down to semantics, are we talking God or the Devil here? =)

    Maybe perfect evil is as hard or perhaps even harder to accomplish than good on some situations at least, even war can have good consequences even if it’s mostly gruesome. (I’d rather avoid it tho =)) The point being that the Devil won’t possibly be 100% evil either..

    In summary, we are on a gray area now where the sole difference between both opinions being where on the spectrum of “evilness” such entity will lie, a high dimensional spectrum to say the least, full of trade-offs, we sure don’t wanna be accused of manichaeism here, do we? =)

    But.. what if one of those opinions we may be biased to agree with? Why no Religion on earth ever seems to consider an Evil God? Even if it would solve such philosophical conundrums as injustice and suffering on the world etc. With a much simpler Occam’s razor eliminating any intellectual jugglings such as free will or righteousness tests.. 😉

    If Taliban was the analogy there, what would be the proper analogy towards Kurzweil if we were to apply the same judgment on what he’s said?

    Just playing the Devil’s advocate a bit (so to speak), I for one can’t wait for AI to CHANGE the human condition =) hopefully for the better.



    People fear a superhuman AGI largely because they are superimposing humanistic behaviors. Human behavior on its worst day makes a demon look like a saint. But honestly, what are demons, saints and God? They are nothing more than a human construct of control and power deemed to be superhuman. One might say, mankind’s first artificial general intelligence. Sadly, I feel we are closing in on the day when the evangelicals begin their very vocal opposition.

    I find it quite curious that Elon Musk is heavily invested in Deep Mind, especially now that it has merged with Google. Demonize something very publically to impede the progress of your competition. One has to wonder if Bill Gates hasn’t done the same thing.

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