It's interesting to note that those oh-so-advanced humans prefer to save children to saving adults, even though there don't seem to be any limits to natural lifespan anymore.
At our current tech-level this kind of thing can make sense because adults have less lifespan left; but without limits on natural lifespan (or neural degradation because of advanced age) older humans have, on average, had more resources invested into their development - and as such should on average be more knowledgeable, more productive and more interesting people.
It appears to me that the decision to save human children in favor of adults is a result of executing obsolete adaptions as opposed to shutting up and multiplying. I'm surprised nobody seems to have mentioned this yet - am I missing something obvious?
List of allusions I managed to catch (part 1):
Alderson starlines - Alderson Drive
Giant Science Vessel - GSV - General Systems Vehicle
Lord Programmer - allusion to the archeologist programmers in Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep?
Greater Archive - allusion to Orion's Arm's Greater Archives?
Will Wilkinson said at 50:48:
People will shout at you in germany if you jaywalk, I'm told.
I'd be relieved if the reason were that you ascribed probability significantly greater than 1% to a Long Slump, but I suspect it's because you worry humanity will run out of time in many of the other scenarios before FAI work is finished- reducing you to looking at the Black Swan possibilities within which the world might just be saved.
This use of the word 'wants' struck me as a distinction Eliezer would make, rather than this character.
Also, at the risk of being redundant: Great story.
To add to Abigail's point:
Is there significant evidence that the critically low term in the Drake Equation isn't f_i (i.e. P(intelligence|life))? If natural selection on earth hadn't happened to produce an intelligent species, I would assign a rather low probability of any locally evolved life surviving the local sun going nova.
I don't see any reasonable way of even assigning a lower bound to f_i.
The of helping someone, ...
Okay, so no one gets their driver's license until they've built their own Friendly AI, without help or instruction manuals. Seems to me like a reasonable test of adolescence.
Up to now there never seemed to be a reason to say this, but now that there is:
Eliezer Yudkowsky, afaict you're the most intelligent person I know. I don't know John Conway.
It's easier to say where someone else's argument is wrong, then to get the fact of the matter right;
You posted your raw email address needlessly. Yum.
How can you tell if someone is an idiot not worth refuting, or if they're a genius who's so far ahead of you to sound crazy to you? Could we think an AI had gone mad, and reboot it, when it is really genius.
In the case of you considering taking action against the entity (as in your example of deleting the AI), this is partly self-regulating: A sufficiently intelligent entity should see such an attack coming and have effective countermeasures in place (for instance, by communicating better to you so you don't conclude it has gone mad). If you attack it and succeed, that by itself places limits on how intelligent the target really was. Note that this part doesn't work if both sides are unmodified humans, because the relative differences in intelligence aren't large enough.