Though it does take a mature understanding to appreciate this impossibility, so it's not surprising that people go around proposing clever shortcuts.
"Shut up and do the impossible" isn't the same as expecting to find a cheap way out.
The Wright Brothers obviously proposed a clever shortcut - more clever than the other, failed shortcuts - a cheap way out, that ended the "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible" era.
You need your fundamental breakthrough - the moment you can think, like the guys probably thought, "I'm pretty ... (read more)
By being maximally tuned to the problem, I mean that you have maximized your knowledge about the domain (you know the dead-ends) and your techniques and methods are sufficient in number and capability (your know all the tricks and have created some of your own); you lack nothing and can simply flow.
Extraordinary results require extraordinary effort? Not necessarily. You may achieve extraordinary results, effortlessly like water flowing around rocks. Don't consider the problem domain as outside of yourself. Become a part of the problem system, so that it effortlessly self-optimizes and develops as if by itself and you merely find yourself in the midst of it every day, feeling more like an observer than a participator. When it feels like an effort, you're not maximally tuned to the problem.
How long would it take for an AGI engineer from the (seemingly inevitable) future to explain it to you so you could build one? Is it humanly possible - is a single person capable of understanding and remembering all of it? It's been said there's not one person who understands a modern microcomputer in its totality - perhaps the last of the low hanging fruit was picked by people in the age of Steve Wozniak.
Attempting the "impossible": like chewing, chewing, and chewing, unable to swallow; it's not soft and small enough yet. When you do get to swallow a small bit, you will often regurgitate it. But some of it may remain in your system, enough to subsist on, just barely, and you may know not to take another bite of the same part of "impossible".
Science. Live a life with a purpose.
Science. Live a life worth living.
Science. Keepin' it real.
On the unfairness of existence:
Those who (want to) understand and are able, joyously create things that have always existed as potentials.
Those who don't (want to) understand and can't do anything real, make stuff up that never was possible and never will be.
The former last forever in eternal glory, spanning geological timescales and civilizations, for the patterns they create are compatible with the structure of the universe and sustained by it, while oblivion is reserved for the latter.
Science. The real stuff. Be all you can be.
Alice, can't tell crap from great? Don't worry, 90% of people share your inability. Why? Because 90% of everything is crap. (Sturgeon's law)
Lets fix the things that are obviously crap first. After that, well address the iffy things.
Towards less crappy greatness.
"Frankly it reeks of cultism and dogma,"
Oh, I wouldn't worry about that too much; that's a cunning project underway to enbias Eliezer with delusions-of-grandeur bias, smarter-than-thou bias and whatnot.
Anything to harden our master. :D
This is a big do-it-yourself project. Don't complain about there not being enough opportunities to do meaningful things. If you don't find anything meaningful to do, that's your failure, not the failure of the universe. Searching for meaningful problems to solve is part of the project.
Correction: headway - I meant to say headstart.
So you don't think you could catch up? If you had been frozen somewhere between -10000 and -100 years and revived now, don't you think you could start learning what the heck it is people are doing and understand nowadays? Besides a lot of the pre-freeze life-experience would be fully applicable to present. Everyone starts learning from the point of birth. You'd have headway compared to those who just start out from nothing.
There are things we can meaningfully contribute to even in a Sysop universe, filled with Minds. We, after all, are minds, too, which h... (read more)
"The weird obsequiousness towards Eliezer makes yet another appearance on OB."
Quite the contrary. I'd prefer it be so that Eliezer is a dime a dozen. It's the relative darkness around that keeps him in the spotlight. Is suspect there's nothing special - in the Von Neumann sense - about this chap, just that I haven't found anyone like him so far. Care to point some others like him?
"Important to whom?"
Important to the development of the universe. It's an open-ended project where we, its sentient part, decide what the rewards are, we decide what's important. I've come to the conclusion that optimizing, understanding, and controlling that which is (existence) asymptotically perfectly, is the most obvious goal. Until we have that figured out, we need to stick around.
Even if you're only capable of becoming an average, main sequence star, and not a quasistellar object outshining billions of others, what you must do is to become that star and not remain unlit. Oftentimes those who appear to shine brightly do so only because there's relative darkness around.
What if Eliezers weren't so damn rare; what if there were 100,000 x "luminaries"; which Eliezer's blog would you read?
"what makes you so damn important that you need to live forever? Get over yourself. After you die, there will be others taking over your work, assuming it was worth doing. Leave some biological and intellectual offspring and shuffle off this mortal coil and give a new generation a chance"
I vehemently disagree. What makes me so damn important, huh? What makes you so damn unimportant that you're not even giving it a try? The answer to both of these: You, yourself; you make yourself dman important or don't. Importance and significance are self-made.... (read more)
"but on the other hand you're essentially saying that if a person is not a Chosen One, there's not much he can really contribute."
Do you think there aren't at least a few Neos whom Eliezer, and transhumanism in general, hasn't reached and influenced? I'm sure there are many, though I put the upper limit of number of people capable of doing anything worthwhile below 1M (whether they're doing anything is another matter). Perhaps the figure is much lower. But the "luminaries", boy, they are rare.
Millions of people are capable of hoovering money well in excess of their personal need. Projects aiming for post-humanity only need to target those people to secure unlimited funding.
What I don't understand is that we live on a planet, where we don't have all people with significant loose change
A) signing up for cryonics
B) super-saturating the coffers of life-extensionists, extinction-risk-reducers, and AGI developers.
Instead we currently live on a planet, where their combined (probably) trillions of currency units are doing nothing but bloating as 1s and 0s on hard drives.
Can someone explain why?
"The standard rebuttal is that evil is Man's own fault,"
There is no evil. There is neutrality. The universe isn't man's fault; it isn't anyone's fault.
I'm not at all saddened by these facts. My emotional state is unaltered. It's because I take them neutrally.
I've experienced severe pain enough to know that
A) Torture works. Really. It does. If you don't believe it, try it. It'll be a short lesson.
B) Pain is not such a big deal. It's just an avoid-this-at-all-cost -signal. Sure, I'm in agony, sure, I'd hate to remain in a situation where that sig... (read more)