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Dojan comments on Amputation of Destiny - Less Wrong

26 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 29 December 2008 06:00PM

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Comment author: Dojan 21 January 2013 10:15:19PM 5 points [-]

I think sublimation is a big literary dodge of the very problem of recursive self-improvement, and doesn't make much sense, neither as a plot device nor as an explanation.

Comment author: Peterdjones 22 January 2013 03:39:34AM *  0 points [-]

It explains why Minds are so quirky (Look to Windwards)

But it's oddly religiious for a fully-paid-up athiest. Reminds me of something.....

Comment author: MugaSofer 22 January 2013 10:10:47AM 2 points [-]

Why yes, yes it is. That would be because Banks can't actually write superintelligences, having only a human brain to run them on.

Oh, and it lets him add the sci-fi cliches of Precursors and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence while keeping it reasonably original vaguely realistic, at least until The Hydrogen Sonata. And it clears away all the near-omnipotent Elder Civilizations that should be hanging around.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 January 2013 07:44:14PM 4 points [-]

For me it just spoiled the whole thing. Banks should've kept to his original design where he'd never thought of RSI, and hence it's neither mentioned nor handwaved away, and the Culture and Idarans were both doing their best. I can suspend my disbelief for that universe just like I can suspend my belief for FTL travel. I can't suspend my disbelief in the face of a bad handwave, it just throws me right out of the story.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 22 January 2013 10:50:05PM *  3 points [-]

What's the relevant difference between Banks' Sublimation and Vinge's Transcend? Vinge divides up his Zones of Thought by galactic geography, whereas Banks does it by physical dimensions, but surely that doesn't matter. Is it that Vinge talks about Transcendence being an inherently dangerous process, whereas in Banks' universe it seems virtually impossible for Sublimation to go wrong?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 23 January 2013 12:22:39AM 3 points [-]

Vinge gives you a huge, blatant plot device up front and doesn't try to rationalize it or handwave it. I'm okay with that on a literary level, just like I'd be okay with Banks just not talking about RSI.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 23 January 2013 07:13:07AM 0 points [-]

I still don't understand what is it that you think Banks is doing that Vinge isn't, that makes you unable to enjoy Banks. Although on second thought maybe it's better that I don't find out, in case I become similarly afflicted. :)

Comment author: CarlShulman 23 January 2013 07:20:23AM *  0 points [-]


Comment author: [deleted] 23 January 2013 07:29:04AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: CarlShulman 23 January 2013 07:34:34AM 0 points [-]


Comment author: MugaSofer 23 January 2013 01:54:53PM 0 points [-]

... why did you try to post a link to that?

Comment author: MugaSofer 23 January 2013 01:54:08PM -2 points [-]

I always saw Subliming as the blatant plot device that thankfully he didn't try to explain.

Comment author: MugaSofer 23 January 2013 01:51:39PM *  0 points [-]

I don't want to spoil anything, but you probably shouldn't read The Hydrogen Sonata if Sublimation is already killing your SOD. It threw me right out, that's for sure.