Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One

From: sam kayley (
Date: Thu Jan 26 2006 - 16:14:46 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
To: <>
Cc: "ExI chat list" <>
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:52 PM
Subject: Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One

> When I saw the subject line, I immediately thought of a bumper sticker
> reading "Great Old One or Bust".
> Russell Wallace wrote:
> >
> > Another scenario in which the two views might give different results is
> > the wish expressed by some transhumanists that can be summarized as
> > "when I grow up I want to be a Great Old One"; that is, over the next
> > while - say, a million subjective years - they want to continually
> > modify and augment themselves such that the result will be, as they see
> > it, as far beyond the original as the original was beyond an amoeba. (I
> > don't personally accept the analogy even given the premises, but it gets
> > the point across nicely enough that I did happily make use of it for
> > science fiction purposes.)
> >
> > To me, as a subscriber to the pattern view, this doesn't make sense
> > because said entity wouldn't be me anymore, so it would be a form of
> > suicide; one could still regard the future existence of such an entity
> > as a cool thing, but why would one have a desire to use oneself in
> > particular as a seed/raw material?
> Even the Eliezer of 1996, who knew so much less than I as to constitute
> perhaps a different person, knew the answer to that.
> 1: A finite computer has only a finite number of possible states. In
> the long run, then, you *must* either die (not do any processing past a
> finite number of operations), go into an infinite loop (also implying no
> further processing), or grow beyond any finite bound. Those are your
> only three options, no matter the physics. Being human forever isn't on
> the list. That is not a moral judgment, it's an unarguable mathematical
> fact. In the long run - the really long run - humanity isn't an option.

This leaves open whether in growing without bound some features remain
constant. There is a range of options between utter transformation and slow
expansion of the substrate.

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