RE: Multiple Future Bens

From: imustsleepnow (
Date: Thu Dec 26 2002 - 14:35:13 MST

I had an interesting (at least to me) reaction to the
‘multiple bens’ E-mail.

I read it with the assumption that when the multiple
bens keep in touch it is analogous to having someone
you know very well (a brother for instance) tell you
in detail about some experience they just had. I know
that the communication link could be enhanced to be so
much incredibly more that it approaches (or exceeds)
first hand experience, but since it wasn’t specified I
didn’t assume that at first. I assumed that only the
first ben is a continuation of you.

Then I thought, how nice for you to create enhanced
clones that will have interesting experiences. Each
clone alone gets the full benefits of its experiences.
The only pleasure you will get is in watching them,
and in living their good (and bad) times vicariously,
much like watching your kids grow up. But wait, you
already have kids and are watching them grow up…

Then I thought, since you made the first ben immortal,
why don’t you just do your same scenario, only
serially rather than in parallel. By definition
‘immortal’ means there’s enough time to do it
serially. Then the first ben gets all the experiences
first hand. You could try the scenarios for a few
millennia each as a spot check, then decide which one
you wanted. I mean what’s the hurry with all the
parallelism given that you have forever (or at least
until the universe winds down and by then that problem
may be solved as well). Also with parallelism there
will always be a resource problem since each ‘enhanced
clone’ you make may have similar tendencies to
replicate 5 or more times, and anyone can see that
eventually (given immortality) the single proto-ben
just ate up all the resources (read ‘all the matter in
the universe’). What about the other 5 billion
proto-people, what resources do they get?

One problem I have with the multiple-ben scenario
seems to be that my human brain views another copy
(regardless of how identical) as another person,
another identity. And any experience they get is
theirs, not mine. The only way I can see this working
for me is if ,when another copy is created ,the
original is destroyed or put into indefinite stasis.
Then I can think of the clone as a continuation of me
and not someone else who resembles me. You see if
creating identities similar to yourself is really all
that fulfilling then Ben basically is already immortal
if he considers his self to be perpetuated through his
kids, and then through their kids ... and he should
already have total fulfillment all queued up through
his progeny who will eventually do most everything he
has ever wanted. Why then is he proposing more

I think what solves this identity problem in my mind
is the bandwidth of the communication links between
identities. As the communication gets improved, then
at some point the experience is basically first hand.
Of course to fully experience multiple versions of
myself simultaneously, then ‘I’ would have to have
increased capability beyond what it would take to make
my enhanced clone what I originally defined it to be.
And I am assuming that each self would also want the
simultaneous experiences of each of the others so all
selves would need increased capacity. (Not a problem ,
just an observation.)

Then I thought, why create all of these other selves,
why not just create one high capacity self with high
bandwidth connections to other enhanced people who
thought of ways to enhance themselves that I have and
that I haven’t even dreamed of. With enough raw
processing power I could live all lives. The
connections would be non-intrusive so it didn’t in any
way impede on other’s experiences. There is the
problem that some lives would be crappy, but that
could be solved with an intelligent filter which only
passes those experiences on to me that I would like.
Given many people would choose enhancement and
immortality, and given how many people there already
are (5 billion plus), then virtually all of my
fantasies would be played out (i.e. all 5 bens and
many many more).

Then the train of thought ended where it always ends
when I think about things like this. All of this is
just my human brain daydreaming about how to achieve
one of its basic goals, to get pleasure
(=fulfillment=whatever you want to call it). I contend
we are all hedonistic to the extreme. Why don’t I just
leave everything else the same and change what gives
me pleasure to be ... nothing, and then I could bliss
out forever over nothing at all and save a lot of
effort. And yes I am aware of previous discussions on
this. But wait you say, how unfulfilling, ‘I’ could
NEVER be happy with such a shallow existence. But
remember only your human brain sees it as shallow
(read as ‘non-pleasurable’) and only because it is
evolved not to take that ‘shallowest’ route, or else
you wouldn’t be here. All of the too-shallow people
didn’t survive (must... resist ...temptation
diverge here). I contend that you were evolved to look
for more than that. Looking for more than that gives
you more pleasure than taking only short term pleasure
and hence all the hoohaa about beauty and esthetics
and ‘making progress’ and 'enjoying challenges' and
the 'desire to be moral' and blah blah blah is
evolutions ploy, which is what guaranteed your
existence today. Everything that you do is because you
believe it will give you pleasure (even sacrifice and
working hard is rewarded by pleasurable feelings that
it is the ‘right’ thing to do in the long term). And
yes there is a shortcut. Probably just flipping a
single bit somewhere shuts down all that desire to
accomplish all these grand scenarios and makes you
ecstatic to forego them. Eternal ecstasy. I think
people who don’t see this are missing something very
fundamental. This is to be expected since evolution
would have guaranteed that it was hard to see and
accept. Now if I could just find that bit...

The only true goal of the singularity is to find that
bit for everyone, flip it, and then guarantee their
ssurvival forever.

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