Recently, Gary and Rachael Doan had a chance to sit down with Larry Sharpe, Gubernatorial candidate from New York on behalf of The Libertarian Republic. He spoke on his state, his run, and quite a lot about artificial intelligence.
GD: This is The Libertarian Republic, talking to Larry Sharpe.
Um… you don’t have to answer this one, but…
LS: Ask cruel questions. Don’t ask boring questions. Ask the good ones.
GD: Any comment on Sarwark’s recent vote on Arvin, or is that better left alone?
LS: My stance on Arvin has been clear for almost a year. And, I am not happy with what happened, but… I am no longer a member of the LNC. I decided to just go my own way, and that’s what I’m doing. Going my own way.
GD: Did you go your own way because of the Arvin stuff?
LS: I am not angry at Arvin at all. What I said in my note is true. I am disappointed in the LNC. But I realize the LNC has a right to do whatever it wants to do. It’s motivated to do what it wants, and it does. I can’t be part of it, so I resigned.
GD: You’re running for Governor of New York.
GD: Probably a better way to phrase this, but… why don’t you think New York is beyond saving, at this point?
LS: It’s a great question. And it might be beyond saving. But I am a New Yorker. I was born and raised in New York. It’s my city, it’s my state… I don’t want to accept that it’s broken. I may find that it is, too much… I don’t… but I don’t think so. Because when I go around the state, I find people open to my message. About 70% of New Yorkers don’t vote at all. They’ve just given up. That means there are 70% of New Yorkers who are ready for a change. If I can mobilize them, clearly New York is not broken beyond repair. But if I can’t mobilize them, then maybe it is.
The problem is we have this learned helplessness. We think there is no chance. And about a hundred thousand New Yorkers leave New York state every year. There’s an exodus, because of how bad it is. And our taxes have to keep going up because our population keeps going down. So we’re in a terrible death spiral. But there’s an advantage, though. We’re a blue state with a very unpopular blue governor. And the Republican Party in a statewide election is very broken in my state. Locally, they’re very viable. But statewide, it’s impossible. Not just that, in my race, it’ll be a five way race, and we are a plurality state. So I could win the Governorship with 25%, theoretically. So that’s why I’m running.
GD: Over the past couple of months, the murder rate in London has overtaken the murder rate in New York. Why do you think this is, and what does it tell us?
LS: It makes no sense, because they have gun laws, and gun laws always work.
LS: I don’t understand. Gun laws always work.
GD: Speaking of gun laws… New York’s SAFE Act… is it unconstitutional, and if it is, which provisions make it different than other gun regulations that have been upheld elsewhere?
LS: The SAFE Act is irrelevant. What I mean by that is, it doesn’t make anybody safe. It’s marketed well, with the word ‘safe’ in it, so it sounds amazing– ‘Look! It says safe right in the title!’
GD: Like the Patriot Act or Freedo–
LS: Like the Patriot Act. Exactly right. So it sounds amazing. But it clearly is not. Noone’s helped by the SAFE Act. The SAFE Act basically just makes a bunch of legal gun owners criminals overnight. It says, ‘I am the King, and I’ve decided that certain things aren’t good for you, so now you’re criminals’.
GD: Who was your favorite previous Governor of New York and why?
LS: I don’t have any.
GD: You don’t have any? I actually like that answer a lot…
Woman: And you don’t mean that in the Gary Johnson way where you can’t… think… of any…
LS: No, I don’t have any.
GD: Well, to be fair, there aren’t too many good world leaders out there currently… so maybe Gary should get a pass on that one…
You’ve recently spoke against eminent domain, at least in general terms. Are there any instances when eminent domain is an appropriate government tool?
LS: Yes, absolutely. There is one specific case where eminent domain is fine. And that is… two things must be true. Number one, there must be no other realistic alternative. And two, not enacting eminent domain would cause direct harm to someone. In those two specific cases… if those two things are true, eminent domain is OK.
GD: Vaguely political, vaguely not, but.. interesting but probably unrelated to your race… how worried are you about the dangers of AI to the future of mankind?
LS: I say it all the time. It is an issue we have to worry about, right? The biggest issues that we’re having in our economy are not evil corporations or evil immigrants. It is technology. And if you’ve seen me talk in front of colleges, I bring this up all the time. AI is an issue. And we have to think of AI as any other type of technology. Think about it like chess, right?. When they first made strides toward AI, they made it in a chess board, because it’s a place where you can close off the world. It’s a 64 box world, and you can put AI in that. It’s a perfect place to start AI. If you remember back in the day, chess masters always beat the computer. Then all of a sudden it was kind of. Now, computer always beats chess master. But what beats computer? Computer plus chess master. That beats computer. Same thing with everything. When you had a horse and a plow, that was amazing technology. But what’s better than the horse and the plow? A guy moving the horse telling the horse where to go! Person with technology, right? You add person. So we have to think about how are we going to work with AI?
GD: Like Elon Musk’s idea of the… ah… brain lattice link…
GD: Neuroli– yeah, that’s it.
LS: We have to work with AI. If we don’t, we have a big problem. Because at the moment, we still have too many people who don’t want to be free. Right? We’ve been taught that we don’t need to be free. If only there was a good king, then everything would be ok. If we just have a good king. Well, AI fits that king bill very well. So, if we don’t think of it that way, we will allow AI to run our world, and eventually run our society.
GD: And then you could have an immortal king that never really has to go away too, I ah…
LS: You would have an immortal king. Look, the reality of AI is that eventually you will have humans that live too damn long. Right? That’s going to happen. And the sad part is, I was talking to my daughter, my daughter was talking about how she was afraid of dying. This was several years ago. I said, ‘Why are you afraid of dying?’
She said ‘Well, I’m going to die one day.’
I said, ‘Death is a gift. Don’t you understand that?’
She said ‘What?’
I said, ‘It’s a gift. If I was never going to die, I would never do anything. I would have no fire in me to achieve anything. I wouldn’t have you. If I was going to live to four hundred, I’d have kids when I’m three hundred, or closer to four hundred, or whenever. I have a biological clock. I’ve have a terminal disease. I’ve only got about forty or fifty years left.
GD: The terminal disease of life?
LS: That is correct. Life is a terminal disease. That’s what it is. So… death is a gift. If I didn’t have it, life would be terrible. If I lived forever, what would I ever want to achieve? I’d just want to be happy all day. That’s happening. I’d simply want to be happy all day. So eventually, when I have AI, the brain will decide what drug has to go into my body, it’ll sit right here on my waist, it’ll pump the right mix of endorphins, so I’ll always feel happy, and I’ll live to four hundred.
RD: Well, that’s one concept of AI, for sure. But if you’re talking about things from a biomedical perspective, that’s what I’m in school for, so it’s really interesting to me. Like… extending human life. If immortality were theoretically possible, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want… because you want to be happy and you want to be free. So assuming that there’s not something that’s plugged into you…
LS: It’s two points. One is AI, one is extended life… they’re two separate things, but I say they go together. Because for me to have eternal life, AI will have to be a part of that, in some way, shape or form, right? I don’t know all the details, but it’ll probably be combined in some way. Once I become immortal and AI becomes part of my body, what point do I stop being human?
At one point do I stop becoming human?
At one point, my feelings and emotions I would see as… and this is every horrible sci-fi movie in the world, my emotions become my problem, right? Remember, one percent of the population is sociopathic anyway, right?
RD: You don’t think it could work in a way where we’re upgrading humans and not erasing their humanity?
LS: Maybe. It’s possible. But if you look at how we’ve been using technology so far, hasn’t it been destroying the human parts of us? Hasn’t it been rewarding psychopathic or sociopathic activity? Hasn’t it been doing that consistently as we move more towards greater technology?
RD: Maybe the internet, but not technology.
LS: What’s the difference?
RD: What’s the difference? Well, for example, I study biomedical…
LS: Is this OK, or no?
GD: Oh, yeah, yeah. This is interesting. Keep going on.
RD: Yeah, yeah, he’ll edit it. It’s fine.
RD: I study biomedical engineering. So, for example, technology now allows me… if the valve in your left ventricle starts not opening and closing to the right timing, I’m able to replace your valve. That’s technology. And we’re getting it to where–
LS: One second. The future of that is a brain in the box. That’s the future. You go down a road, and it’s a brain in a box. That’s what it is. That’s the future of humanity. Whether that’s one hundred years or one thousand years.
RD: I don’t disagree, and cyborgs–
LS: Not even cyborgs. Cyborgs are part, and it won’t be part. It’ll be brain in a box. Once it’s brain in a box, why would I have sex?
RD: Because you want to?
LS: No, because I can easily copy that feeling with drugs. Easily by then, and immediately. Press a button. Boom. Done.
RD: If people don’t die, do we need to have sex?
LS: Thank you. Which means we have children. Thank you. Everything begins to change. That is how it works.
RD: But if people don’t die, do we need to have children?
LS: We don’t. And if you don’t have children, are you actually human? And that’s a question. I’m not saying you’re not, but that is a question. The definition of live includes reproduction. Literally. Once we stop reproducing, are we still alive? Are we still human?
RD: Do you think that in this dystopia, that people would choose to stop reproducing? Because I think that people with the means would still…
LS: We would want to produce, but why would we reproduce? Because we need bodies for some reason. That’s not love. That’s not family. That’s 1984 deciding when we require people.
RD: But if we still have a brain, though… love is oxytocins. Love is… love is in our brain.
LS: I press a button, and I feel that. That’s my point. My point is, the end is… I want to feel loved? Press a button, endorphins shoot out, and I feel loved. The button of feeling love happens.
But we have to go one step further. Not just that. It’s already happening to where technology lets us outsource our actual brains. Knowledge is google now. What happens when I can link google directly to my brain?
RD: I’ve wanted that since I was a young teenager.
LS: Yes, but then we’ll all start having a hive mind. The future is a hive mind. If we create a hive mind, are we still human?
RD: Do you think that linking our brains to the internet would necessarily in and of itself create a hive mind?
LS: Not necessarily, but probably would eventually.
RD: I think we already have a kind of hive mind already.
LS: No, no, no… we have group think. There’s a difference. Group think is not the hive mind. Group think is actually refusing to think. Hive mind is we all think together. It’s different. Group think is a refusal to think. He says ‘sieg heil’, we say ‘sieg heil’, that’s group think. But we all believe ‘sieg heil’, because of the information, that’s hive mind.
GD: For the record, I don’t believe ‘sieg heil’.
LS: Yeah he does, he’s lying.
RD: None of us do. Also, anybody reading The Libertarian Republic, don’t let this reflect…
LS: Yes, but in any case… does that make sense?
RD: It does and it doesn’t to me. Because… so the way you just described it was that we’re all are able think together. So in a way… if we’re able to transmit our thoughts and intentions together between one another, that also limits the kind of… like, you think I’m evil because I think that taxation is theft.
GD: Well, it also limits the kinds of individuality that not just libertarians see as preferable…
RD: I don’t like collectivism, but if we’re using our thoughts together, like… I don’t know if there’s any way to bounce them off of different kinds of… I don’t know, this is all theoretical, but do we get the most efficient answer if we were to work on it together without thinking, like… you’re bad because you think that way…
LS: I’ll go back to my question again: Are we human at that point? And I don’t know if that’s true, but that is my worry. If we stop reproducing and we have hive mind… is that what a human being is? I think we will be something else. It’ll be human-like, but it won’t be human anymore. It’ll be something else, and I don’t know what is…
GD: A non-natural evolution that gets us to be either the Borg or the Pleroma?
LS: There we go. Maybe we become the Borg. Which… Borgs are humanoid… but they aren’t really…
RD: I love that he got your reference. That’s super cute.
GD: I’m more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek, for the record…
LS: Let’s keep going, keep going… this was a bit…
GD: Alright, back on track… one more on a different track. As libertarians, it’s common for us to repeat a mantra of “taxation is theft”. However, not all taxation is equal. What form of taxation do you think is the least odious option?
LS: Well, taxation is not theft for most Americans. Taxation being theft depends on the individual. The vast majority of Americans, no matter where you check this out, surveys, anecdotally, most Americans still to this day believe in their hearts that taxation is necessary for a civilized society. They want to be taxed. They just don’t want to be taxed as much.
Some, every poll says they think they’re taxed enough. But most usually say that if you count those taxed enough and not enough, it’s usually 50 percent or more in an area. Sixty percent or so always say taxation is fine, but it might be too much. If you consent to taxation, it’s not theft. So for most Americans, it’s not theft. For some, it’s extortion, not theft. I’m not just taking your money. I am forcing you to buy my stuff. You’re going to buy my wars, and buy my so-and-so, and buy everything I do, but I’m not taking it for nothing. You’re getting something in return. Just what I tell you you’re getting. That’s extortion.
GD: Absolutely. I just meant more among the lines of difference between income tax, capital gains, gas taxes…
LS: Ah, yes. Any kind of tax in general should be based in theory, upon usage. So it should be similar to paying for a product or service. The closer you can get your taxes to paying for a product or service, the better.
GD: I really appreciate you taking the time, man. This was awesome.
LS: Of course… this was great. Alright, we’re going to bail. It was good to talk to you, my friend.