Re: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Randall Randall (
Date: Sat Jan 03 2004 - 11:03:07 MST

On Saturday, January 3, 2004, at 12:22 PM, Lawrence Foard wrote:

> On Sat, 3 Jan 2004, Randall Randall wrote:
>> Even a population made up of exclusively altruistic individuals
>> would require those individuals to pretend self-interest in
>> order to find an optimal solution to goods distribution, no?
> And why wouldn't a society where individuals worked only in others
> interests not work? Imagine that the pleasure reward from service
> is proportional to the good done by the act.

How do you make that true? Prices are one reasonably
efficient way. If you have another way, I'm willing
to hear about it (but this list may not be the proper

> For example while cleaning
> sewers is an unpleasant task, its a task which accomplishs a great
> deal of good (preventing sewer backup), and would be a highly desirable
> task for the altruistic minded organism.

Right, but if no one ever considers their own needs,
others have to guess at what those needs are, and
they will often guess wrong.

As a producer of goods or services, you only know
the service you produce is actually useful if others
are willing to pay for it. Without this information,
you may spend your time producing goods that no one
wants. It doesn't matter how altruistic you are about
donating your time to producing sewer-cleaning tutorials
if no one wants them; you're just wasting your time.

> Humans as currently wired have a mix of self interest and altruistic
> pleasure. Even as we are altruistic pleasure can be one of the greatest
> pleasures.

How many times in your life has someone given you
a gift that they expected you to be overjoyed with,
but which you were indifferent to, or simply didn't
like? Now rule out all the instances where you
told the person what you needed.

Imagine if you depended on others' gift-giving for
getting everything you wanted. You'd have to talk
about what you needed all the time in order to have
any great chance of getting something resembling it.

Randall Randall

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