Posts

Comments

Comment by phane2 on Failed Utopia #4-2 · 2009-01-21T16:17:56.000Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I'm not buying into the terror of this situation. But then, romance doesn't have a large effect on me. I suppose the equivalent would be something like, "From now on, you'll meet more interesting and engaging people than you ever have before. You'll have stronger friendships, better conversations, rivals rather than enemies, etc etc. The catch is, you'll have to abandon your current friends forever." Which I don't think I'd take you up on. But if it was forced upon me, I don't know what I'd do. It doesn't fit in with my current categories. I think there'd be a lot of regret, but, as Robin suggested, a year down the road I might not think it was such a bad thing.

Comment by phane2 on Building Weirdtopia · 2009-01-13T10:19:32.000Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Sexual Weirdtopia:

The world envisioned in the strange philosophies of E. Yudkowsky, where the sentient citizens of terra-gen civilization have convinced themselves that the only noble pursuit is becoming pregnant. Sex has evolved into an elaborate emotional and intellectual ritual, combining features of philosophy, mathematics, and social activity. Emotional attachment to 'ephemeral' events does not come naturally to these beings, so sex is nearly always "for keeps," with at least one party (occasionally more) becoming impregnated with a unique seed-entity. Due to the dynamic way in which the seed-entity is designed through the interactions of the parents during sex, the cognitive distance between citizens is often staggering. Still, most citizens agree that no endeavor can match sex in importance. What little terra-gen culture does not center around making one another pregnant is seen as an idle diversion with little value and no consequences.

Comment by phane2 on Emotional Involvement · 2009-01-08T07:04:17.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer,

Your argument that people do not get emotionally attached "enough" to videogames is due, I think, to your oversimplification of what a "videogame" is. Not that I think you don't know the first thing about videogames (clearly, if you've been brought to tears from a game, you respect them at least somewhat). I think it's more that you're simplifying for the sake of argument and throwing out too much. Basically, what you're saying is that difficult, novel, and sensual experiences are not enough: they also have to "count." Our lives will be dispassionate without the "meaning" of "real" experience with lasting consequences, as opposed to games that don't matter. A few points to make:

  1. Humans get an enormous amount out of games already, especially competitive ones, and there's a lot to be said for self-improvement through games. There are many people whose golf performance is one of the most important things in their lives. Some people are the same way with Smash Brothers. Me and many of my close friends take games very seriously. I would consider gaming to be the most enriching thing I do. I don't think that's a sickness on my part, and I don't think I'd be having more fun if I made money doing it (Or, if I had to do it in order to keep civilization moving, or whatever other rubric of "lasting importance" you want to use).
  2. Doesn't your argument work equally well against basically all art? Writing, music, movies, anything? Hell, most of those are even less valuable since they're not interactive. Essentially, you're saying "why should you bother doing anything if it doesn't trigger your fundamental survival buttons that make you feel awesome?" Except that, people dedicate huge amounts of their lives to stuff like writing. And games, too. Will posthumans not create and enjoy art? Why not?
  3. In the posthuman world, what's left to matter? We already don't get chased by tigers unless we really want to, and presumably posthumans will have the choice to not eat unless they really want to. Even our stances on making children or upholding social relationships aren't so sacred that we wouldn't tweak them. In the end, staying tied to "biologically attractive" things seems no different than any other "bored rich person" hobby.
  4. The line between being a pleasure center and being a eudaimonic civilization participant seems dubious to me. On the one hand, a giant super-efficient orgasm-brain is not the most admirable thing I can imagine. But on the other, we're talking about a posthuman future in which the kinds of outcomes that would constitute "progress" are up for considerable debate. What kinds of things should we like? Some things are "admirable" to like, and others aren't, I guess. Should posthumans like food? Sex? Mathematics? Having bigger and awesomer brains? I don't know. No matter what you name, they all seem vulnerable to falling into an "orgasmic pit trap" from which there may be no return. Among all the things that posthumans might be interested in, only a few stand out (to me) as being too valuable to accept their rejection by our future selves. Among them is an interest in designing and appreciating experiences; upholding a culture to discuss what is beautiful, what is fun, what is aesthetically pleasing. This is what you've labeled "videogames." As you've said, it doesn't press our fundamental survival buttons. Is that enough to discredit it as making our lives worthwhile? Why does achieving greatness in this endeavor not "count?" Why isn't it a meaningful thing for intelligent, experiential beings to do?

I would appreciate your thoughts/comments.