Anarchopapist has triggered a twitter storm with this. It is a post that has many different threads running into it, and through it. The most relevant compliment I can pay it is to say that it is potentially disturbing, in something far more than a psychological sense. It will be interesting to see how contagious it proves to be. (As this post demonstrates, Outside in is already infected.)
Laliberte asks: “is there a difference between Prometheus’ fire and Pandora’s box?” Given everything said about the Promethean, and the very considerable ideological-theoretical work that it does, is it not strange that the Pandoran is scarcely recognized as a term, or a concept, at all? To talk about fire is mere shallow bedazzlement, in comparison to any serious examination of boxes. Boxes not only have a shape, but also an inside and an outside, which means — at least implicitly — a transcendental structure. They model worlds, and suggest ways out of them.
Pandora’s box, of course, is significant above all for its content, which is released, or gets out. Promethean flame, which is stolen, is contrasted with Pandoran plague, which escapes. Laliberte seizes the opportunity to discuss memes (and the ‘hypermeme’). An infectious being is set loose, in the shape of a Neoreactionary Basilisk. (On twitter, Michael Anissimov deplores the irresponsibility of this outbreak.)
Pandora (Πανδώρα — the all-gifted, and perhaps omni-munificent), is a figure from the deepest recesses of Classical Antiquity, whose first detectable echoes are found in the Hesiodic texts of the 7th century BC. Her myth functions — at least superficially — as a theodicy, comparable in many ways to the story of the Biblical Eve. She releases evil into history through curiosity, and thus knots together a dreadful intelligence, of a kind that anticipates Roko’s Basilisk and the menace of Unfriendly AI. The AI Box Experiment is so Pandoran it stings.
Among the horrors of the Basilisk, is that to talk about it being inside — and how to keep it there — is already the way that it gets out. Hence the extraordinary panic it generates, among those who begin to get it (in the epidemiological sense, among others). Even to think about it is to succumb.
At Less Wrong, hushed tones attest to the resilient veneration of Pandora. She is dangerous (and anything dangerous, given only intelligence, can be a weapon).