SL Callgirl Interested in the Singularity

In a display of knowledge that eclipses that displayed by many transhumanists, Khannea Suntzu, a “high-priced and highly-desired call girl” in SecondLife, speaks with Wagner James Au of New World Notes, the most widely read blog on SecondLife. Khannea is apparently fairly well-known, even outside of SL, as has been interviewed or profiled on the popular gaming portal 1 Up, and even the prestigious French publication Le Monde. When she contacted Wagner James Au, it was not to give an interview (which she’s done many times before), but to merely use him as a loudspeaker to talk about the Singularity:

“What does interest me is of an entirely different nature,” she continued. “The fact is, I have a bit obsessed with the idea of a singularity. You may have heard of it. Not everybody believes such a thing may actually happen, but after having read Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, I am deeply concerned. In his last two books he talks about this whole singularity business and sketches a prospect that it’ll be actually possible that in the next 10-20 years some part of what we are could be captured in some form of artificial medium. Maybe ‘we’ could be imprinted in a new substrate, effectively copying or transplanting ‘us’ into a new state of existence.

Not sure that we’ll choose to upload our entire bodies and minds by 2020, even if it were possible, but she continues:

“However, in the next 10-20 years there’s gonna be a whole lot of things happening. Starting with better VR and robotics, in the 2020s we’ll have computers that can think, hard AI, nanotechology, genetic therapies and maybe the first affordable life extension therapies. Most people around, maybe even you, have no clue what is gonna happen. By 2020 nearly all low-education jobs in the modern industrial societies can and will be replaced or streamlined by automated systems. You’ll see unemployment numbers in Europe, US and Japan ranging in the 20-30%. By 2025 production costs of all objects you can buy in the stores will be dropping fast because of nanofactory replication. That will create even more unemployment. By 2030 we’ll have actual mind-machine interfaces of some sort. What happens after that, I can’t even begin to speculate. It could all very well lead up to a real singularity, with some kind Artificial Intelligence (whether or not it IS self-aware) improving itself in spectacular increments. By 2050 we may have a world completely alien to the world we live in right now. I don’t know for sure but I expect spectacular things.”

What is she going to do about it?

“These ideas of mine effectively make me a bit of an obsessive,” she allowed, “though hopefully not Cassandra. I can go and circlejerk endlessly in the transhuman scene, but I’ve had enough of that. My primary interest is starting to instill some sort of public awareness, preferably inside SL.

The transhumanist scene (not “transhuman”) is certainly not a circle jerk, because new people are getting involved all the time, and the subjects for discussion are so broad that people exchange new knowledge regularly. I highly doubt that Khannea has even joined a transhumanist mailing list, otherwise she would at least have the “transhumanist” word down, but I’m sure she’s probably skimmed the transhumanism entry on Wikipedia.

So instead of participating in a circle jerk in “transhuman scene”, she’s going to be instilling public awareness in SL… perhaps during some of her call sessions? I don’t know. I always thought it was better to instill public awareness on a website that anyone can find in seconds via Google.

“I’ll be in my 60s in 2030. I have a fair chance of being alive by then, if the world doesnt suffer thermonuclear meltdown before then. If technology indeed does the unprecedented jumping through hoops I think it can, I want in on all that. And my guess is the best way to achieve that is to leave a mark, influence people, create awareness, foment discussion and maybe even political activism. I don’t want my already small chances to experience all this to be halved into the single percent digits. I am convinced that what I do and say, right now, can increase the chances, with whatever modest resources I have, of me seeing some spectacular sights in the next decades – or maybe the next centuries.

Influence people to do what? Be excited that technology will inevitably give us nanofactories, AI, and life extension therapies without any effort on our part? This is “passive singularitarianism”, and it’s quite silly.

“And yes,” she concluded, referring to the brunette avatar in fetish wear, “Khannea fits a central role in that. In fact, it is my sincere ambition to be her. I think that I have a fair shot of experiencing her, being her, to the best of my ability, before 2040. Maybe even well beyond 2100.”

Good luck! Now that you’re excited about The Singularity is Near, you should definitely take a shot at reading a substantial amount of other transhumanist writing.

In the end, it is my position that the web and real life will give us much greater leverage than SecondLife. If you have something to say, put it in HTML form. If you want to secure large donations for transhumanist projects, work out deals on the phone or in person, because hitting someone up on SL probably won’t take you very far. The comments on the interview show the general cluelessness of the SL poplace when it comes to transhumanism. Perhaps log out of SecondLife and use Google for a while?

Also, Anne shares her thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and the Singularity, which she’s just starting to get acquainted with.

Comments

  1. Will she stay in business, I wonder. At least, what her plans are? I guess, she will do it for nothing, if she stays after the Singularity.

  2. apparently her initial conception was completely wrong.

    Indeed it was. And while I still balk at the idea of what you refer to as “passive singularitarianism” (it IS silly!), I realize now that the singularity concept includes a more active contingent.

    SecondLife is compelling in some respects and I’ll certainly continue to play around in there a bit, but it’s definitely not the sort of format that allows for quick retrieval of useful information. I see it as more of a meetingplace and canvas for the imagination than anything else. Nevertheless, I do think there is some potential that some people might learn about transhumanism for the first time from within SL, which is probably positive.

  3. Ben Rogers

    While I am not a serious Second Life player myself, I have dabbled in it, and I am surprised that you seem to have such a negative opinion of it. Second Life is the most sophisticated virtual reality software currently available, at least in terms of the user experience. In many ways it recalls the VR from Stephenson’s Snowcrash, one of the most influential visions of VR in art. Second Life may very well be a precursor of some of the human-machine interface technologies that will inevitably be a major feature of a transhumanist singularity. And way more people read Wagner James Au’s blog than yours, so maybe you shouldn’t dismiss Khannea’s attempts at raising public awareness of singularity issues so easily.

  4. I don’t have any negative opinion of SecondLife… it’s just fine, I just think that her attitude (“I can basically just keep doing whatever I was doing all along, and I’ll be able to contribute to the Singularity just fine!”) is anathema. I love SecondLife and its flexibility very much, but you have to admit that it is cut off from the larger online world, like WoW. This makes it a highly suboptimal venue for getting across a serious message.

    Second Life may very well be a precursor of some of the human-machine interface technologies that will inevitably be a major feature of a transhumanist singularity.

    If you were to read and think about the issue in a non-fiction context for an extended period of time, you’ll see why this is certainly not the case.

    And way more people read Wagner James Au’s blog than yours, so maybe you shouldn’t dismiss Khannea’s attempts at raising public awareness of singularity issues so easily.

    And far more people have read Ray Kurzweil’s book than Wagner James Au’s blog. I dismiss her attempts because the prior probability of any given Kurzweil-reader having a positive impact on the Singularity is very low.

  5. joe conrad

    “The comments on the interview show the general cluelessness of the SL poplace when it comes to transhumanism.”

    do say!

    hmmmm…how about including a little critical analysis of transhumanism as well, then, just to show us your balanced point of view?

  6. joe conrad

    here…you can edit this for starters:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism

  7. khannea suntzu

    Trust me, I am active, in ways you may not associate with the name “khannea suntzu”.

    What surprises me is the inflexibility of some reactions I get. It is either, on the far extreme

    (a) complete xenophobia denial, mixed with accusation that transhumanists are selfidge white people who deny dying children in africa their fair share or …

    (b) transhumanists expect immediate, radical interaction and (see above) armchair transhumanists should be taken out to the shed and shot.

    Well, let me be clear – Khannea Sunztu is a caharacter in a virtual reality game I use for my entertainment, sexual gratification and to talk to people about stuff. I can talk about republicans in the US, about aluminium mines in southamerica, about indian food, about white canadian shepherds and lots of other stuff.

    Whenever I talk about transhumanism I am free to acknowledge (or not) the value of transhumanism as a movement. Personally I am convinced, and most on SL4 apparently agreed with me at the time, there are two fields the transhuman movements (and spin-off) can be of any use.

    1- explain the general idea and consequences to the ignorant

    2- create some very diffuse theoretical work on how society deals with these changes.

    The rest – creating political awareness, actual scientific research, doing life extension research or lobbying (like my good sexy friend damien crowe does), that’s up to the real people in the field. Transhumanists right now are trekkies. The real people are scientists or professionals.

    Is there overlap? Sure there is. But when there is overlap I dont see a banker label himself an exropian on his resume. Unless you are anders sandberg, some guy I emailed with in 1993.

    What I do as Khannea Suntzu, at best, is *mention the thing*. I will attract riducule, denial and outright anger doing that. I do it my way, erratic and naievely at some times and uncannily shrewd and wellvoiced at others. And I will keep doing it as I see fit – BECAUSE I LIKE DOING IT.

    I take fun in it. That’s all the reason I need. I do things because they are fun.

    As a side note, my rates for escorting in SL are negotiable. Please IM me in-game for any arrangements. My specialty is anal play and blowjobs. If you are interested, I do BDSM fetish sessions IRL too, 150 euro per hour (to eat primarily) in The Hague, the netherlands. Look for more details on http://www.vampix.nl

    Have fun y’all !

  8. Anna

    Well this is interesting.
    A virtual whore is advocating for Singularity. That has got to be a first:)

    In one respect, Khannea Suntzu is still introducing or mentioning a very important topic that needs to become public knowledge.
    That’s a good thing.

    On the other hand, the way it’s being advocated is not exactly my cup of tea.

    I’m a strong advocate for women’s rights. I would walk miles to justify at what lenghts women have been put into situations that they could not control.

    At the same time, in this generation (at least in Canada and the US), any male or female, that make money in exchange for sexual behavior, are looking to make a quick dollar without hard work or intelligence.

    So my final opinion: If Khannea Suntzu wants to keep mentioning “Singularity”, she is still generating topic of interest, I think that’s good.
    If she considers it “fun”, then who am I to judge but I still stand that I don’t see how much “fun” it can be to personally degrade yourself to make extra cash, in virtual life or in real life.
    Then again, if the demand is there, there will always be a supply.

    Would I consider her opinion as valuable?
    As much as I would consider most politicians opinions valuable.

    Just an opinion
    Anna:)

  9. My intention was to continue a dialog from SL4.org.

    Begin quote

    Thomas Buckner wrote:

    >>The singularity will arrive when 90% of the
    >>population consists of artists, priests
    >>and whores.;=)
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >Three names for the same thing. ;-)
    >
    >Tom Buckner
    >
    I should have added politicians.. ;)

    (But I think they will become obsolete sooner … ;|)

    End of quote

    I have no bad opinion about you – at all! Sorry if you understood that way.

    But since you are already here, the direct question remains. Do you – Khannea – expect that your interests will prolong after the Singularity? In one way or another?

    p.s.

    I am not Buckner.

  10. Khannea Suntzu

    Anna;

    Ik did actually work in escorting in 93 and 98, and am still loosely active in some form of prostitution IRL. I am a bit too old for actual lying on my back. Yes, I agree that hooking in the real world is generally exploitative and for many women the default option when they dont have another. However I whore myself in SL not to make money (2$ per 30 minutes of cybering I can do better elsewhere) but to meet people and have fun.

    Plus anna, I did an interview for LeMonde (google it) and it was quoted by a few dozen feminist websites. Just a side-note. I was just as surprised ! :)

    Thomas;

    I have no expectations on “the simgularity”. I am aware I have a depression problem IRL and am using “belief” in this singularity to give my life meaning and hope. I lost out in the RW job market, and pityfully poor and have at best a mind scarred by a lot of pain. I may in fact be slowly be going nuts because of the pain I suffer on a daily basis.

    I could opt to believe in god and heaven, but that trick doesnt seem to work for me. Maybe that time I studied philosophy led me towards granting credence to a transhuman ascension type scenario. Better living through science !

    If I were to paint a rosy picture of my ideal singularity scenario and get it from santaclaus I’d love it to be

    (a) egalitarian
    (b) fun
    (c) passionate

    In that world, yes, I would opt to be young, around 23, with a very sexual body, a largely edited mind and physique and yes, I would indulge in various available fetishist activities a few hours each day. Maybe I would roleplaying “escorting” type scenario’s, even if the concept itself would have lost meaning.

    If I make that, look me up :)

    Then again maybe, if I make it beyond a singularity, “me” would become a ego-less subroutine in a distributed network run somewhere inside the trojan asteroids. I’d be not me but rather something else. But ofcourse right now my sense of self leads me to speculate on scenarios where I’d still be some kind of me, … or maybe several versions of me.

    I dunno. Like I said, a singularity can be real good or real bad. I can see me dying as an old hag in a terminator run concentration camp as well. All bets are off.

  11. Anna

    Hi Khannea Suntzu,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to move the topic into a moral discussion.

    On a final note, although I admire your honesty, I still don’t agree with the behavior.
    Advocating this type of behavior is telling young girls that the behavior is exceptable, it’s “fun” to exploit yourself.
    I have no problem with you having fun in the virtual world, I have a problem that you are selling sex as a commodity.

    Again, I am in no way judging you, I am judging the promotion of it.
    I know that life doesn’t always deal the best of situations.

    I do wish you the best and if Singularity gives you hope then by all means continue to use it as you see fit.

    Anna:)

    The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
    Allan K. Chalmers

  12. Giulio Prisco

    Am I correct in sensing some kind of protectiveness of the historic transhumanist homeland?
    Come on, we have been trying hard but have had a nil impact on things so far. I am all in favor of trying some new PR approach and involving *many* new people in RL, Sl and wherever.

  13. Charles Anderson

    It sounds like we’ve already resigned ourselves to trying to figure out who is in the transhumanist movement and who is out.

    There’s room for every single living transhumanist soul that wants to come along for the ride.

    Like Michael, I think there’s room for intelligent activism in transhumanism. I believe Khannea feels the same way. At this point, we should worry most about informing the uninformed, increasing the numbers of transhumansits worldwide and getting transhumanists excited enough about being part of this movement that we can actually cause something positive to happen. We’ll have plenty of time to disagree about our personal transhumansit ideologies and moral ideologies later.

    Michael,keep doing what you’re doing…Khannea keep doing what you’re doing…and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. Please stay focused. We should spend most of our time being critical of those who misinform rather than fellow transhumanists.

  14. Ilja G

    Guys here…you are trying to figure out nothing here :) just fighting.
    To Khannea, Anna: it is difficult to argue on the Singularity matter with M. Anissimov because he is highly intellectual person with the strict vision on matters (Michael respect), as i got it he doesnt really wants to see a “low-profile” emotional comments in his blog.

    IMHO I would appreciate every person who is trying to understand the questions of the near future, because it is higly sophisticate and specific and not-every-day stuff(remember the 99,9999 %). Of course the judgements and opinions depends on the factors like education, personal vision, temper etc. As in my case Im trying to read and know more about the stuff from different sources – for self education, to understand more and structurize the information. It is not easy – lack of time, the every-day “to do list” (routine) eats a lot of time and leaves almost no room for the Future stuff.

    But the progress is growing exponentionally and only 10-20 years should pass to start to come up with the ultimate questions of civilization.

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  16. Khannea Suntzu

    So, Mike, reading this four years later, it’s still googled and read widely. You think I made any dent?

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  4. “I can go and circlejerk endlessly in the transhuman scene, but I’ve had enough of that” « Khannea Suntzu's Nymious Mess

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