Re: Unbounded happiness.

From: Byrne Hobart (
Date: Tue Apr 22 2008 - 14:54:08 MDT

[resending due to mail error]

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 4:52 PM, Byrne Hobart <> wrote:

> On Tue, 22 Apr 2008 "Stuart Armstrong"
> > <> said:
> >
> > > The happy people I know are more likely to do a lot
> > > of interesting and otherwise stimulating stuff
> >
> > I'm assuming the happy people you know are not Heroin addicts, because
> > that's the sort of fate our decedents may face. If you have total
> > control of your source code a positive feedback loop may be inevitable;
> > and complex things just don't do well in positive feedback loops. I
> > could be wrong, I certainly hope so.
> I suspect that our control over our own source code will be a little more
> gradual. Every time you have a choice between a hedonist source-change (e.g.
> make TV more interesting) versus a productive source change (like making TV
> and light fiction uncomfortable to experience), you're also making a choice
> between a smaller or larger impact on the future. Whatever the theoretical
> maximum level of happiness is, the people who strive for it will be
> irrelevant.
> Although this just puts the same question on a different level. Instead of
> pursuing happiness level X, we can talk about pursuing the pursuit thereof.
> People who will tend to adjust their absolute level of happiness will either
> end up high as a kite or suicidal, so in the end it may be that success is a
> matter of not letting yourself go off the rails in regard to average
> happiness, but ensuring that your feeling of happiness correlates with your
> actual well-being.
> But *that* policy will keep people from feeling any self-control. If you
> can program yourself such that solving hard AI problems is as fun as having
> sex, your ability to resist temptation will atrophy -- which is fine, unless
> someone comes up with a *new* temptation that you get addicted to before
> you can reprogram yourself not to enjoy it.

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