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Gondolinian comments on Roadmap: Plan of Action to Prevent Human Extinction Risks - Less Wrong

13 Post author: turchin 01 June 2015 09:58AM

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Comment author: Gondolinian 03 June 2015 12:34:30PM *  4 points [-]

(I know there are almost certainly problems with what I'm about to suggest, but I just thought I'd put it out there. I welcome corrections and constructive criticisms.)

You mention gene therapy to produce high-IQ people, but if that turns out not to be practical, or if we want to get started before we have the technology, couldn't we achieve the same through reproduction incentives? For example, paying and encouraging male geniuses to donate lots of sperm, and paying and encouraging lots of gifted-level or higher women to donate eggs (men can donate sperm more frequently than women can donate eggs, so the higher levels of women would not be enough to match the higher levels of men, and you'd have to bring in the next-highest level), and then just having the children of the two groups be born from surrogates, whose IQ AFAIK should not have any effect on the child's, and can therefore be selected based on how cheaply they can be hired?

Comment author: turchin 03 June 2015 12:42:09PM *  3 points [-]

If we have 200-300 years before well proved catastrophe, this technic may work. But in 10-50 years time scale it is better to search good clever students and pay them to work on x-risks.

Comment author: Gram_Stone 03 June 2015 10:24:30PM 3 points [-]

Embryo selection is a third alternative, the progress of which is more susceptible to policy decisions than gene therapy, and the effects of which are more immediate than selective breeding. I recommend Shulman & Bostrom (2014) for further information.

Comment author: Gondolinian 05 June 2015 04:47:04PM *  0 points [-]

If we have 200-300 years before well proved catastrophe, this technic may work.

If you're talking about significant population changes in IQ, then I agree, it would take a while to make that happen with only reproduction incentives. However, I was thinking more along the lines of just having a few thousands or tens of thousands of >145 IQ people more than we would otherwise, and that could be achieved in as little as one or two generations (< 50 years) if the program were successful enough.

Now for a slightly crazier idea. (Again, I'm just thinking out loud.) You take the children and send them to be unschooled by middle-class foster families, both to save money, and to make sure they are not getting the intellectual stimulation they need from their environment alone, which they might if you sent them to upper-class private schools, for example. But, you make sure they have Internet access, and you gradually introduce them to appropriately challenging MOOCs on math and philosophy specially made for them, designed to teach them a) the ethics of why they should want to save the world (think some of Nate's posts) and b) the skills they would need to do it (e.g., they should be up to speed on what MIRI recommends for aspiring AI researchers before they graduate high school).

The point of separating them from other smart people is that smart people tend to be mostly interested in money, power, status, etc., and that could spread to them if they are immersed in it. If their focus growing up is simply to find intellectual stimulation, then they would be essentially blank slates* and when they're introduced to problems that are very challenging and stimulating, have other smart people working on them, and are really, really important, they might be more likely to take them seriously.

*Please see my clarification below.

Comment author: Lumifer 05 June 2015 05:06:19PM *  2 points [-]

they would be essentially blank slates

I don't think this is how it works with people. Especially smart ones with full 'net access.

Comment author: Gondolinian 05 June 2015 05:22:09PM *  2 points [-]

I don't think this is how it works with people. Especially ones with full 'net access.

You're right; that was poorly phrased. I meant that they would have a lot less tying them down to the mainstream, like heavy schoolwork, expectations to get a good job, etc. Speaking from my own experience, not having those makes a huge difference in what ideas you're able to take seriously.

The Internet exposes one to many ideas, but 99% of them are nonsense, and smart people with the freedom to think about the things they want to think about eventually become pretty good at seeing that (again speaking from personal experience), so I think Internet access helps rather than hurts this "blank slate"-ness.

Comment author: Lumifer 05 June 2015 06:39:31PM 0 points [-]

they would have a lot less tying them down to the mainstream, like heavy schoolwork, expectations to get a good job, etc

I am confused as to why do you think it's a good thing.

You're basically trying to increase the variance of outcomes. I have no idea why do you think this variance will go precisely in the direction you want. For all I know you'll grow a collection of very very smart sociopaths. Or maybe wireheads. Or prophets of a new religion. Or something else entirely.