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TheOtherDave comments on Living By Your Own Strength - Less Wrong

23 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 December 2008 12:37AM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 19 November 2010 04:27:13PM 5 points [-]

It seems to me that what you object to here as "wielding borrowed strength" are all cases of incompletely wielding borrowed strength... for example, Newton having access to the results of Galileo's celestial discoveries but not to the experience of discovery itself.

And, agreed, that can be dangerous. So can using an acetylene torch without knowing how.

As you suggest, one way around this would be for Newton to have actually made the same discoveries himself. And, sure, with enough surplus of power and time, and the elimination of any goals where reaching them sooner was important, we could set up the system to allow that.

But I submit that another way around it would be for Newton to have access to Galileo's experience. I mean, if the important aspects of Galileo's experience can be encoded in Galileo's brain and subsequently decoded and experienced by Galileo -- which I assume you agree is not only possible but routine -- there seems no in-principle reason why they can't also be encoded by Galileo's brain and subsequently decoded and experienced by Newton.

I think, on reflection, I want a future where experiences are routinely shared among individuals... not just sensory experiences, but cognitive ones. Like what we do today with writing and art, except much much better.

I want a future where if you've discovered Pythagoras' theorem from scratch while sitting on your couch, you can convey that experience to me via a deep encoding and not just via superficial ones, such that I also have the experience of having discovered Pythagoras' theorem from scratch while sitting on your couch.

(Yes, sure, there is some sense in which you actually had the experience and I didn't. And that distinction is important in many contexts... for example, if you discover something valuable, even if I share the experience of having discovered it I'm not entitled to any rewards for having discovered it. But in the context you've raised here, I don't think the distinction is important.)

I recognize that many people don't want this and indeed many are actively repulsed by it. Perhaps you're one of them... judging from the subtext of this post you seem to be, though I'm not entirely certain.

That's OK; I'm not trying to proselytize it. I don't think they/you would have any obligation to share my experiences any more than they/you are obligated today to read my writing.

But neither would I want to be obligated to keep my experiences isolated, or to be restricted to just the experiences my body has had, once experience-sharing technology became available.