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Sep 22, 2005


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» AC05 Post-Game Report from reBang weblog
Terra Nova regular Cory Ondrejka has posted an entry on last weekend's Accelerating Change conference. I'd conversed with someone in Second Life earlier this week who attended but didn't get many details, so this is an interesting synopsis (although... [Read More]

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Cory>I think that they should, but they should strive for the same level of rigor that Ray Kurzweil brings to the table. Ray’s talk was, if anything, even more preposterous than Dr. Amen’s, but extraordinary claims must be supported by extraordinary evidence. Ray went to great pains to provide it, Dr. Amen did not.

I almost have to laugh at this--it is only my respect for you, Cory, that supplies the necessary restraint. Kurzweil, to my mind, is a perfect example of someone who is fascinating and brilliant but completely lacking in philosophical accuity. He does attempt to supply a level of rigor to his work, I suppose, but his most important claims--the 'inevitability' of the 'singularity', uploading our consciousnesses, his 'laws' about evolutionary 'progress', etc.--are as shining examples of unsupported handwaving as one could ever hope to read and equally lacking in empirical support.

I guess I'm just rattling on to say that I agree with your sentiment about futurism--in order for it to be taken seriously and become legitimized, it could do with a bit more empirical grounding and a lot more philosophical clarity.



WoW players would never accept data about quests or loot this uncritically.

Huh? They do all the time. Most people I know treat the online databases as pretty much accurate, allowing for exceptions arising from patch changes or the occasional oversight. I've even had a few times where someone asked for quest help but had completely wrong information and refused to believe me when I told them different. But, overall, nobody I knows requires external third-party verification of data found in the online databases before they accept it as fact. I've certainly never heard of double-blind studies to verify loot information. ;)

Not to say that we shouldn't require more proof from people when they make claims like you discussed, but you picked the wrong contrast group, IMHO.


monkeysan, I generally find Ray somewhat kookie as well, but the amount of data that he has generated supporting power laws in evolution and human development is pretty impressive. There is an entirely separate debate about whether or not that creates the singularity or not.

Brian, the amount of work that MMO players will go through to find optimum paths is really impressive and they will share that data with each other. Agreed that it's a stretch to call that science, however.

Note edit in body. Jerry P pointed me toward the same Quackwatch link I had used that the ASF had placed in Dr. Amen's bio. Kudos to ASF for adding it, although negative kudos for burying it several links down.


OMG... Ondrejka and Vinge! What a duo! That was my favoritest part of reading this. So what'd he enjoy most? Is he gonna sign up and come inworld more? ^_^


I look forward to hearing the talks on ITC. Thanks for the overview.


Brian, the amount of work that MMO players will go through to find optimum paths is really impressive and they will share that data with each other. Agreed that it's a stretch to call that science, however.

Right, but not everyone goes through the calculations to do so. Generally it's a few inventive souls (aka Explorer's in Bartle's original grouping) that go through the calculations, then lots of other people cribbing the information. Many times people stick with that information even when things change. I've seen many times where people stick to the "old ways" without critical thought even though the game has changed because that's the way they've always done it.

Anyway, cool writeup, Cory. I was thinking about heading to the conference, but I've been up to my eyeballs in consulting work right now.

Have fun,



I have been looking for good criticism of Ray's work but have been unable to find any. By good I mean criticisms that responds to his arguments and with counter arguments and alternative explanation for the data he presents or refutation of the data .

So do you have anything here? Why do you think think increasing computational power combined with better AI theory and brain reverse engineering wont lead to greater than human level intelligence? (ie the singularity)

P.S AC2005 was great fun :)

Rob Sperry

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