Slate Magazine has discovered Roko’s Basilisk: The most terrifying thought experiment of all time, which postulates that an all-powerful Godlike artificial intelligence will punish everyone who didn’t help it come into existence in a computer-generated afterlife.
SF author Charlie Stross blogged about Roko’s Basilisk last year, and correctly identified is an a nasty mashup of the bleakest elements of Calvinist theology with H.P.Lovecraft’s “Things Man Was Not Meant To Know”.
Leaving aside the essentially Calvinist nature of Extropian techno-theology exposed herein (thou canst be punished in the afterlife for not devoting thine every waking moment to fighting for God, thou miserable slacking sinner), it amuses me that these folks actually presume that we’d cop the blame for it—much less that they seem to be in a tizzy over the mere idea that spreading this meme could be tantamount to a crime against humanity (because it DOOMS EVERYONE who is aware of it).
And now I discover I’m followed by Roko’s Basilisk on Twitter. Should I be worried?
There is so much rejoicing from teachers and parents over the removal of the appalling Michael Gove from education that you’re sure it’s being used to bury bad news. So presumably David Cameron wants to bury the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill so badly he’s willing to sacrifice one of the most hated cabinet members to do so.
Infamous foaming-at-the-mouth American conservative pundit Ann Coulter thinks any growing interest in soccer a sign of nation’s moral decay.
The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO’s “Girls,” light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is “catching on” is exceeded only by the ones pretending women’s basketball is fascinating.
The whole thing is either a hilarious parody worthy of The Onion, or a terrifying insight into the world-view of American conservatism. And there is absolutely no way of telling which of the two it is. Another example of Poe’s Law in action.
If there are conservatives that genuinely take her seriously, it’s proof that spending too long in any echo chamber makes your bullshit detectors stop working.
In a blog post entitled “Inside the Mirrortocracy“, Carlos Bueno skewers the notion of hiring for “cultural fit”, where a perfectly qualified candidate can be rejected purely for liking the wrong sports or having the wrong taste in music.
Calling it out and making fun of it is not enough. Whatever else one can say about the Mirrortocracy, it has the virtue of actually working, in the sense that the lucky few who break in have a decent rate of success. Compared to what, well, that is carefully left unasked. The collateral damage of “false negatives” is as large as it is invisible. But it is difficult to argue with success. It takes a humility and generosity that must come from within. It can’t be forced on others, only encouraged to develop.
Lest you get the wrong idea, I’m not making a moral case but a fairly amoral one. It’s hard to argue against the fact that the Valley is unfairly exclusionary. This implies that there is a large untapped talent pool to be developed. Since the tech war boils down to a talent war, the company that figures out how to get over itself and tap that pool wins.
Yes, it’s probably far worse in Silicon Valley than perhaps it is in the rest of the world, but I’m sure there are plenty of other places in the world with similar problems. And as Carlos Bueno says, it results in a monoculture so limiting that those inside don’t even realise it.
So Wonga have been caught chasing debt using fake law firms. This bunch of malevolent sharks are the epitome of everything that’s wrong with David Cameron’s Britain. They deserve to have Russian soldiers planting their flag atop the ruins of Wonga HQ, while their CEO commits suicide in the bunker beneath. After which the surviving board members flee to the jungles of Paraguay, only to be hunted down and put on trial for their crimes.
I see Tony Blair is bloviating about Iraq again. I don’t really care about what he has to say. I don’t remember any media pundits going to Spandau prison in Berlin in 1956 and asking any of the inmates what to do about the Suez crisis.
So Richard Dawkins claims fairy tales are harmful to children because reasons. He’ll be coming after music next, after all, it’s made-up stuff that engages emotion rather than reason. His “Ian Paisley of Atheism” schtick is getting increasingly tiresome now. It makes me wonder if he’s really a deep-cover Anglican, on a mission to make Atheism look silly.