Re: Tomorrow is a new day

From: David Picon Alvarez (
Date: Sat Nov 06 2004 - 00:01:02 MST

> It does seem rather unlikely that a Islamic fundamentalist and I would
> 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

I suppose the dangerous idea in CV is that there are _real_ answers to the
questions of what humans ought to be. Essentially, that just by being more
intelligent, more rational, more knowledgeable, we would all end up
cohereing towards the same answers, or a set of answers that would allow us
to live together, at least.

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

It's most often the case, and this goes back as far as ancient Greco-Roman
cultures, that war is bemoaned as a necessary evil, not aclaimed as a pure
However, I admit that people might not come to agree on this principle, even
with more intelligence, time to think, knowledge, etc.

> 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
> this is done isn't understood yet, but the logic is
> airtight--unfortunately. :-(

Wrong. Evolution has not come to an end. Genes are only _more rational_ than
the iteration which came before. In addition, collective volition would
extrapolate from the volition of the human agents, not their genes, and
(taking the mostly accepted assumption on this list that humans could be ran
in a different substrate than genes) it is entirely possible that part of CV
would be getting rid of genes and genetic evolution.

> 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.

In which case CV wouldn't have been implemented.

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

It doesn't very much matter what causes them, so long as they are deemed by
a hyper-rational human with loads of time and knowledge, to be desireable.
In addition, many of the bases for Liberal-Democracy go as far back as
Greece in their provenance. Maybe the situation hasn't been so that
Liberal-Democracy (or whatever other "progressive" political system) was
viable in the past, but it would be viable now. Also, the issues of scarcity
would very much change after singularity.

> 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
> anyway.

There's never enough room. Lightspeed is limited, and humans could expand at
exponential rates. However, if what you say is true (id est, human nature
should not be changed) CV could come to that outcome just as well, and give
us enough room, instead of helping us to live together in the room we have.
Of course, within the constraints of the possible.


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