Re: answers I'd like from an SI

From: Gwern Branwen (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2007 - 06:56:58 MST

On 2007.11.15 18:50:34 +1100, Stathis Papaioannou <> scribbled 0 lines:
> On 15/11/2007, Norman Noman <> wrote:
> > As for the joke so funny it makes people die laughing, yes, I
> > absolutely think this is possible.
> The existence of an SI means that if such a joke is possible, the SI
> will find it; but obviously it won't find it if it is impossible. You
> need some justification other than the possibility of an SI to claim
> that a universally lethal joke is possible.
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

Alright, I'll give it a go.

1) Dying of laughter is possible, and has probably occurred multiple throughout history (<>, <>).
2) People are capable of endlessly repetitive actions, even self-injurious actions, and equally endlessly repetitive mental states (examples being common in schizophrenia and other mental disorders).
3) If one begins thinking in a mental loop, and said loop involves laughter, one will continue laughing (#2).
4) Laughter will eventually kill you if continued indefinitely. (Obviously. Either through dehydration or whatever kills in fatal hilarity.)

So now all we need to know is, can an SI create a joke that will cause one to laugh at all (yes - we can, after all), and could it also package in it the means to put you into a schizophrenic state? This second proposition is weaker and easier to show than whether an SI could create a lethal joke, I think, and probably true. If people can be driven to suicide by what someone says, surely producing a schizophrenic or paranoid loop would be even easier?


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