Re: Collective Volition, next take

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Sat Jul 23 2005 - 12:12:40 MDT

Actually I'm going to go ahead and explain anyway, because frankly
this is scaring the crap out of me and if I get run over by the
proverbial bus this evening there won't be anyone to deliver the

The deadliest flaw in CV (actually it's far worse than merely deadly,
as will be seen) is that it's still chasing the ghost of
universe-dictated morality, that in simpler form was the source of
Eliezer's and my first subjunctive planet kills. It throws vast
resources of intelligence - information-processing ability - behind
moral axioms evolved for survival on the plains of Africa, and then -
this is the problem - proceeds as though with unlimited power comes
unlimited moral authority. In reality, a glut of intelligence/power
combined with confinement - a high ratio of force to space - triggers
the K-strategist elements of said axiom system, applying selective
pressure in favor of memes corresponding to the moral concept of
"evil". (Consider the trend in ratio of lawyers to engineers in the
population over the last century for an infinitesimal foreshadowing.)

In pursuit of a guiding light that isn't there, the RPOP would
extrapolate the interaction between K-strategist genes and parasite
memes and force the result, with utter indifference to the
consequences, on the entire human race. There will be no goal system
for any element of the Collective but power - not clean power over the
material world (which will effectively have ceased to exist except as
the RPOP's substrate) but power always and only over others - a regime
of the most absolute, perfectly distilled evil ever contemplated by
the human mind. (Watch an old movie called "Zardoz" for a little more

I had arrived at the visual metaphor for the CV world of a ball of
worms, each composed of smaller worms down at infinitum, each worm
forever devouring its neighbor and being devoured in turn. But there's
a component missing.

I had been guessing that in the regime of hyperparasite memetic
evolution, consciousness would dissolve - but that may not be so. This
may not be just another subjunctive planet kill. The real horror is
that sentience under CV might continue to exist.

If CV is ever on the point of being implemented, I strongly recommend
having fast, thorough means of suicide ready to hand; the Collective
is unlikely to permit escape once established. And if you're thinking
about signing up for cryonics, I'd suggest reconsidering.

- Russell

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