Therefore, the last group is right, there will be no singularity, and the future will be bad. The author ignores the future almost completely, in favor of having very strong opinions on which futurist movements include the right or wrong sorts of people.You’re going to protest that there has to be something more than that. AI risk researchers are “majority men, although more women than in the previous group”; techno-utopians are “more women still…but in the end that does not denote progress”.Jed Mc Caleb, founder of Bitcoin exchange MTGOX, donated 0,000 of his profits to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which deals with long-term concerns about the Singularity.In the real world, everyone from all four “quadrants” of futurist are either allies, or the same people.First, it purports to explain what we should think about the future, but never makes a real argument for it.
But her optimists just care about flashy new things like cryptocurrency. But one possible application for cryptocurrency is peer-to-peer microfinance via smart contracts – ie one of the most promising solutions to bias in big financial institutions. But cryptocurrency enthusiasts are working on it, and it seems weird to deny this matters or that the whole reason behind developing some of these flashy new technologies is to solve recognized societal problems.All singularitarians were “sex-starved teenagers” and they all “wax eloquent about meritocracy over expensive wine” in a “super-rich bubble”.The lovingly detailed descriptions everyone’s social class, racial breakdown, gender ratio, what politics the author imagines they have, and what sexual insecurities she thinks produced their opinions.Likewise, when the author discusses bad “singularity” technologies that only white men could want, she includes “better quality of life through medical breakthroughs”. Again, this would make sense if the author doesn’t really believe in futurology except as a way of sending the right class signals. Do gross male nerds from the outgroup support that or oppose that? I’m sure if her mental editor had caught it, she’d have realized that she was supposed to support that kind of thing, but it would be a post-processing addition to her thought stream rather than a natural component of it.Fourth, the article presupposes a bitter conflict between the four quadrants, whereas actually people tend to be a lot more on the same side than she expects. It’s an attempt to classify and analyze various types of futurism, in much the same way that a Jack Chick tract could be described as “an attempt to classify and analyze various types of religion”.I have more disagreements with it than can fit in a blog post, but let’s stick with the top five.In real life, this is what futurists are doing too.The Asilomar Conference on Beneficial AI was organized by people whose main interest was far-future Singularity scenarios, but it included some of the top experts on algorithmic bias, gave the subject a lot of airtime, and ended up with all participants signing onto a set of principles urging more work both on near-term AI problems like algorithmic bias and long-term AI problems like the development of superintelligence.And then there’s the kind dealing with important real-world problems like increased frequency of hurricanes and creeping desertification. The scientists involved may have different research interests and skillsets, but not necessarily different opinions.Obviously we should have some people working on near-term problems and other people laying the groundwork to work on long-term problems.