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Mitchell_Porter comments on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young - Less Wrong

24 [deleted] 18 August 2012 03:17PM

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Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 22 August 2012 01:39:01AM 1 point [-]

a justification of some kind

If we accept the original framework of "you're allowed 95% utilons and 5% non-utilons", then it can still fall under the "allowed non-utilon" category.

If we were to take the other option and try to defend this as an optimal expenditure of money, it might be defended as an act of civilization-building. None of the charities you list will decide the fate of the world; they all depend on the existence somewhere else of a functioning self-sufficient society with spare capacity. Frankly, if you really do take the big picture, it is far from clear that any of those activities matter very much. Civilizational directions are not usually set by what happens in the most unfortunate places.

So if we swing to a different extreme and consider whether high-tech futurist activities might be the best place to spend money, then there's a different challenge - why spend your money on helping to make a single cryonic suspension happen, rather than on FAI research, brain modeling, or wherever you think the most neglected area is.

But actions of a different kind also matter. People who are attuned to these topics need to shake off the distractions of an uncomprehending world and remind themselves of why they took the ideas seriously to begin with. One step leads to another. Unless we just have a singularity first, a day is going to come when there's a lot more than just one desperate person, out of the 100,000 who die every day, seeking cryonic suspension.

When it really, finally dawns on the human race at large that cryonics might work, that a slightly more advanced medicine might cure most causes of death even without cryonics, etc., there is going to be mayhem. Sorting out a rational balance now between self-preservation, conventional charity, and futurist charity may do a little to alleviate that mayhem when it arrives; and it's clear that none of these activities should be wholly absent in the right balance. So we absolutely need to figure out how to accommodate something like Kim's situation into our "optimizing", rather than just putting it to one side.