Re: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Fri May 21 2004 - 00:50:38 MDT


Samantha wrote:
>> What does logic or your feelings have to do with it?
>> We are fast developing the ability to reprogram
>> ourselves.

Then you replied:
> Without the utmost caution, that way lies oblivion.

Gee, Keith, are you playing the harbinger of doom? I am eagerly looking
forward to reprogramming some of the counterproductive goals/desires in my
own mind... for a trivial example: my desire to consume large quantities of
bacon, cheese, chocolate and wine. Why would 'dialing down' my hunger for
fat, sugar and drugs lead me to doom?

> You really should read Minsky's society of mind
> on this topic. Being able to change your deepest
> desires on a whim is not a power to be used lightly.

I can't say I'm a Minsky fan, but I have read his stuff. Which essay or
essays are you referring to?

>> It sometimes seems to me that even SL4 folks
>> aren't fully cognizant of the degree of
>> incredible pending freedom.
> And after you have removed your basic drives just
> what are you going to do with that "freedom"?

This is a straw man, Keith. You bought up 'removal of basic drives'. Doing
that doesn't strike me as a thing to do lightly either, but nobody here
suggested taking such steps "lightly". In passing I would note that we
already do substantial modification of our basic drives through a myriad of
drugs. There are drugs to increase or decrease appetite, drugs to prevent
or encourage sleep, drugs to reduce pain, drugs to prevent nausea... and on
and on. Reprogramming would have far fewer side effects, and probably cost
less once the basic brain modifying infrastructure is in place to do it.
But this is SL3 territory.

> As I put it on another thread:
> "It is a dire and depressing business to realize
> that genes optimized in the stone age to cope
> with periodic privation of hunter gatherers are
> now pulling strings attached to nukes."

Depressing? Well maybe, if the genes started letting nukes fly. So far
they haven't - much. But aren't you arguing both sides of the issue now?
Surely it would be preferable to adjust the gene-spun human brains to better
handle the existential risks they have built for themselves, n'est-il pas?

Michael Roy Ames

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