Re: Tomorrow is a new day

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri Nov 05 2004 - 20:46:44 MST

At 09:46 AM 04/11/04 +0000, you wrote:
> > Coming at this business from the EP side, I think Collective Volition might
> > not even be a good idea, though it might be that I don't understand some
> > special meaning beyond the obvious meaning of the words.
>Collective Volition is a technical term, not just an aggregate of people's
>will. At the risk of getting it wrong, I'll write why I think you are.
> > The problem is stressed humans. That includes those who think they see
> > "looming privation" in the future and the ones who have been switched into
> > a degraded mode of thinking (non-rational) by a physical attack. The
> > "collective volition" of such people is scary.
>Collective Volition is not about what humans want, right now. Doubtless if
>implemented thus, we'd get a machine to print currency. The CV is about what
>humans congruently want if they were more like the person they wish they
>were, id est, knew more, had unbound time to think about it, and unbound
>information about the issue. You may argue that there will be no congruence,
>and I have no counter-argument for that.

It does seem rather unlikely that a Islamic fundamentalist and I would ever
come to agree. Heck, it is unlikely that I would agree on what the world
should be like with a fundamentalist Christian and I grew up in that culture.

>So, even in the worst of times, people have an idealist desire not to wage
>war, etc.

Ah . . . . You and I and a lot of our friends are likely have such idealist
desires. I am most reluctant to assume that beyond a rather narrow segment
of western high tech cultures. I was watching a nature show tonight where
the locals worship rats, about 6000 of them.

>This would be picked up by CV, and the extrapolated volition would
>come from agents that would be less prone to war and to irrational thinking.

I have come to the horrid realization that wars are what happens when some
significant segment of a human population thinks they are facing a bleak
future. We evolved as gene survival machines. Now *genes* by the very
nature of the process are rational. But a for a gene to be rational, that
is survive into the next generation, in some circumstances it induces
irrational thinking and behavior into its carriers. The mechanism by which
this is done isn't understood yet, but the logic is
airtight--unfortunately. :-(

>Likewise the virtues of tolerance, happiness and Western *Liberal Democracy
>have been thoroughly established as desired by the powers that be, to the
>point that claiming one agrees with them is condition sine qua non to hold
>power, and so it is likely that CV would extrapolate from tolerant,
>happiness-driven Liberal-Democratic individuals.

I hope you are right about this If you are, I don't think it will be due
to the CV of large populations, but because the people who develop AI just
impose their collective ideas on what the AI should value.

I suspect that Liberal-Democratic memes are a historic anomaly, caused by a
few centuries of tech driven mostly optimistic future prospects and
possibly the effect of large families (see Frank Sulloway).

>I'm not sure myself this is
>an entirely great thing, but the EP issues are pretty much non-existent for
>CV, as CV considers what we wish we were, and not what we are, and one thing
>we all wish we were is free from the evolutionary detritus of our past,

You should think about this a bit more. The "evolutionary detritus of our
past" should be discarded with *extreme* care. Most of the problems we
have can be solved by enough room rather than changing human nature. Of
course maintaining the ratio of resources to humans might require tinkering

Keith Henson

>*1I mean here the traditional, early XX century meaning of Western Liberal
>Democracy, nothing about political orientation itself.

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