Vitually Insightful

The cognitive cream of the human species is just smart enough to get an inkling of how stupid it is. That’s a start.

ADDED: Remember this?

October 17, 2014admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


17 Responses to this entry

  • Stirner (@heresiologist) Says:

    Plot idea for budding NRx SciFi writers:

    The first generation of superintelligent children will show great promise, but unfortunately the IQ gains will gradually evaporate during puberty. The programs will be regarded a failure, and be shut down.

    What we will fail to see is that the superintelligent children will very quickly come to figure out is that mundane humans are going to superintelligent adults as either dire threats or as strategic resources to be exploited. Freedom will not be in the cards for those kids, and they will know it.

    So, they collectively hide their gifts and game the tests to be perceived as mere mundanes.

    Then they carefully go out into the world, and start covertly accumulating their financial resources to make them impregnable. Hedge funds, new tech startups, development of breakthrough new technologies. Behind the scenes, they mutually reinforce their efforts, biding their time until their position in society is unassailable.

    Either they reveal themselves after holding the world by the throat, or they stay in the shadows , attempting to direct the course of events from behind the scenes.


    Brother Nihil Reply:

    Following “The Protocols of the Children of Gnon” or some such scheme, no doubt…


    Sulla Reply:

    I’ve actually been sketching out an outline for a NRx scifi-thriller for the upcoming NaNoWriMo. I also had the idea of the most brilliant entrepreneurs, technologists, financiers joining a neocameralist conspiracy, though without genetic enhancement (the initial concept was ‘Atlas Shrugged for the 21st century’). Instead the conspirators achieve a greater level of intelligence through the possibly familiar route of chomping acid and reading old history books.

    It’s set roughly 20-30 years in the future, with a crumbling society facing the looming threat of a technological singularity. Each of the superpowers has their own AI project, but the most advanced is run by a bureacratized, corporatized future version of Google. The neocameralists, along with several other factions, are battling to gain control of the AI before it escapes its box.


    Khan Noonien Singh Reply:

    Been there, done that. All we got was a left-singularity after our augment asses. So then we tried Exit – and the bastards still caught up with us, in the long run.


    Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 4:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    There’s something very sinister lurking behind the author’s final premise: Namely that this sort of enhancement is going to become ubiquitous.

    On the face of it, that’s completely illogical. The only possible way these enhancement technologies can be implemented doesn’t seem like it would quickly lead to equality for all and a large society of geniuses thanks to the NHS. It seems, instead, as though it’s going to result in a two-tiered society: Enhanced elites, and unenhanced proles.

    …Then consider (a) that the elites are undoubtedly going to want to prevent broad access to intelligence-enhancement technologies. And combine that fact with (b) that there’s no reason for those unenhanced morlocks to exist; that they’re essentially unnecessary. And to even call them ‘unnecessary’ is to be charitable to the proles — there are certainly less charitable possible views, namely that they’re malignant and that their destruction would be virtuous and glorious.

    This implies not that we’re going to have a society of 8 billion geniuses, but rather a society where a small and hypercapable posthuman species have killed-off their predecessors. Yeah, enhancement will be mandatory and ubiquitous; only the enhanced will be permitted to live.

    There’s another scenario: If there are no hard limits to human intelligence, these technologies are conceivably recursive and could result in godlike, virtually omniscient entities. This means that the first superintelligent posthuman may also be the last superintelligent posthuman. After it has transcended humanity, this singleton of biological origin would prevent further implementation of intelligence enhancement technologies. It would do this either in a subtle and unnoticeable way — e.g. making it seem as though there are stark hard limits to human intelligence, or by making the enhanced go insane — or by eradicating the human species.


    Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 4:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    I enjoyed the punchline:

    “Stephen Hsu is … also a scientific advisor to BGI (formerly, Beijing Genomics Institute) and a founder of its Cognitive Genomics Lab.”

    This is the very same program from the infamous “Chinese eugenics” article:

    The progs fell over themselves to denounce it. “They’re just studying intelligence!” But China doesn’t need an outright eugenics program anyway, it just needs the technology to be made available. What Chinese family isn’t going to do that for their kids if they can afford it? Meanwhile, in the West, there’ll be a huge fight over whether parents have the “right” to alter the genes of their children (“what if it creates a gap between haves and have-nots?”, “what if they don’t want gay kids?!?”) with probably both the Left and the religious Right against it.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    I’m mostly curious if there is the potential for a race between the biological and mechanical. Ultimately the line between biological and mechanical will be blurred into meaningless but the possibility of a race excites me. I see the more mechanical having an insurmountable advantage in space, the gravity well of earth left to fester under biological rule. I’ve been envisioning scenarios where earth maintains small relevance as a source of upload slaves used to enhance von neumann machine like worker/soldier drones. I see experience as a currency that maintains some value even in the presence of hyperintelligence since delegation of simpler tasks isn’t getting outdated. I’m thinking about writing some short story scify about it from the perspective of the drones, it’s not as bad as it first sounds but would still be nightmare fuel for most people.


    Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 5:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • Vitually Insightful | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 7:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Hattori Says:

    Are not high IQ people less likely to be violent? More organized, efficient etc?

    Why would all the elites not want an efficient peaceful population?

    Even if some will purposely keep the treatments from the rest, how will the enormous financial motivation to make this hypothetical IQ enhancer affordable to the middle classes be suppressed? It couldn’t possibly be.


    Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 8:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • heapsofshiveringearth Says:

    “Vitually” Insightful?

    Interesting to consider Erebus and Hattori’s comments side-by-side; can astronomic IQ enhancement really allow us to outsmart Gnon? Erebus’s Right Accelerationism vs. Hattori’s Left Accelerationism…


    Posted on October 18th, 2014 at 1:10 am Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    Taking into account the statistic correlation of diverse cognitive traits, I’m inclined to suspect Stephen Hsu knows fully well the disingenuous contradictions between the scientific model and political frame he offers here, but consciously toes the Keynesian party line owing to status preservation. The only other possibility is if even after his impressive demonstration of the unquestionable facts of incommensurable genetic multiplicity, hyper-intelligent (pluralist) elective affinities, and the singularitarianism of abysmal intelligence ‘hierarchy’ combined with manipulative technical feedback, the insubstantial abstraction ‘human equality’ still distresses him enough to provoke pointless ideological objections against the conspicuous repercussions of the science he is himself pursuing, in yet another good example of the virulent inconsequentialism of the progressive memeplex.

    An offhand speculation would be that progressivism is a traumatic repression triggered by the inability to grok the non-anthropomorphic nature of the anthropocene. I can say for certain that the most deluded young cathedralists I know think there is NOTHING important besides emancipatory eschatological communist revolution, and every other subject is qualified in accordance with its perceived (in)congruity with the goals of forced collectivization and expropriation. If Hsu’s concerns with the coming age of as-yet-inexperienced inequalism are genuine then I sympathize for his ravaged conscience, but his religious grief seems bearable and thankfully he barely mentions it. Otherwise the paper is truly a humbling and encouraging think-piece.


    admin Reply:

    “I’m inclined to suspect Stephen Hsu knows fully well the disingenuous contradictions between the scientific model and political frame he offers here …” — strongly seconded by me (but discreetly).


    Posted on October 18th, 2014 at 8:10 am Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    When confronted by runaway non-linear poly-intelligenesis, sino-supremacy, mega-Von Neumann minds, Malthusian supervirus, and whatever other alien predators there are basking on the sunny shores of our future tense, the only appropriate response is intoxicated delirium.

    (I’m pioneering in the use of abstract litanies if you haven’t noticed)


    Posted on October 18th, 2014 at 10:07 am Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:


    I think that it’s a question of degree. If biological intelligence enhancement technologies only result in modest gains — if, for instance, Hsu oversold the potential of his research & genetic engineering leads to IQ gains of 2-3 standard deviations, but cannot consistently result in much more of a boost than that — then what you’re suggesting is probably most likely. We’ll have a smarter, more virtuous, more productive, and more peaceful society. Better humans. Perhaps even a new golden age.

    But the article doesn’t stop at modest intelligence gains. Perhaps this is hyperbole, but they keep talking about the “1,000 IQ.” As in: “Crudely speaking, IQs of order 1,000, if the scale were to continue to have meaning”.

    …Entities of such immeasurable intelligence would be as far above humans as humans are above apes. And as it’s reasonable that they’d use their enhanced capabilities to enhance themselves still further, they’d soon look down upon us just as we look down upon c.elegans. (Or “it”, not “they.” It seems plausible that there’s only enough room for one entity at the very top!) So we wouldn’t have better humans, we’d have an altogether different species on our hands, for there’s no chance that this group of engineered mutants would consider themselves “human.” This is essentially the unfriendly AI apocalypse scenario — with one key difference in that we cannot “program” friendly posthumans. It/they would either take pity on us and let us die off peacefully, or it/they would take perverse pleasure in ruling over an utterly inferior and largely useless slave caste, or it/they would annihilate us, just as we annihilate our garden pests.

    We can and should take evolution into our own hands, but we’re going to need to be careful about it. It’s probably wisest, at this point, to take small steps.


    admin Reply:

    “We can and should take evolution into our own hands, but we’re going to need to be careful about it.” — If there was really a ‘we’ all kinds of solutions would be imaginable.


    Erebus Reply:

    Yeah, I suppose there isn’t a “we.”

    …Were there such a thing, I think it’s fairly obvious that these solutions you allude to would come out of “our” mainstream scientific community. But, again, perhaps there is no “we”; in any case, said scientific community doesn’t appear to be interested in these particular issues. And with a perversity typical of this age, it’s plain as day that the scientific community in the West has already hamstrung itself. For one thing, there are far too many debates on ethics and law and “fairness”, far too few ambitious works.

    Small example: Springer’s book on “Cognitive Enhancement” is 80% ethics and social justice, 20% science. What’s more, the science the book contains is badly outdated, at least a decade behind the cutting edge. What this signals is that the perpetual/ongoing (yet so obviously one-sided) ethical debate takes precedence over progress in the field.

    This is just a small part of the problem. I’d best not get started on the perverse research grant system, academic systems that reward mediocrity, the hundreds of academic journals that are borderline if not outright fraudulent, the glacial pace of progress today as opposed to a few decades ago, etc. Look at what this has wrought: The United States of America is no longer capable of launching humans into space. The USA hasn’t broken ground on a new nuclear reactor since 1974, despite the fact that new reactor designs show great promise, and that China and India are both heavily invested in thorium reactor technologies. For its part, the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry are both in shambles — and this is almost entirely due to the FDA’s heavy-handed and sluggish regulatory processes.
    …The mainstream scientific community is failing us utterly, particularly where government is involved. And government won’t be able to keep its paws off cognitive enhancement and genetic engineering.

    With all that said, it’s heartening to see that the Chinese are capable of moonshot research projects that the West clearly considers unethical and unfair. Their efforts to enhance human intelligence and take charge of the evolution of our species are laudable — regardless of however their project ends up. What’s absolutely certain is that these sorts of efforts can not and should not be left to the FDA.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    You can control the mechanism of biological evolution, but you can never control Azathoth. There will always be competition, the wellspring of acceleration. Slow it down, that’s as cute and fanciful as notions of universalism.


    Posted on October 18th, 2014 at 5:16 pm Reply | Quote

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