Re: Bound unhappiness below (was Re: What if there's an expiration date?)

From: Nick Tarleton (
Date: Tue May 27 2008 - 21:15:58 MDT

On Tue, May 27, 2008 at 5:26 PM, Michael Anissimov
<> wrote:
> On Mon, May 5, 2008 at 8:14 AM, Stuart Armstrong
> <> wrote:
>> I'd suggest setting up utility so that pain caused to someone counts
>> more than equivalent benefits provided to another. As the quantity of
>> pain increases, the negative utility would increase much faster. Make
>> the limit huge (or maybe even infinite), and this should solve the
>> problems with most discount rates directly.
> Yes, this is called negative utilitarianism. It leads to the conclusion
> that humanity should be eliminated to reduce the future likelihood of
> Earth-originating life undergoing negative experiences to zero.

To be fair, he never said to give lexical priority to pain, only to
weight it more heavily - if that's meaningful, since introspectively
it doesn't seem that I, at least, weight pain and pleasure on the same
scale of intensity. (Which is not, of course, to say that they're
incommensurable in decision-making.)

The proposal seems unnecessary, though, because humans already seem to
assign utilities of significantly greater magnitude to the worst pains
than the best pleasures. And extrapolated volition obviates all this
up-front goal system patching, but I've bored you all with that

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