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Ben_Jones comments on Continuous Improvement - Less Wrong

16 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 January 2009 02:09AM

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Comment author: Ben_Jones 12 January 2009 10:57:49AM 0 points [-]

Eliezer, does The Adaptive Stereo have an analogic application here?

To compress the idea, if you slowly turn down the strength of a signal into perception (in this case sound), you can make large, pleasant, periodic steps up without actually going anywhere. Or at least, you can go slower.

Any logical reason why this wouldn't work for hedons? 'Going digital' might nullify this effect, but in that case we just wouldn't do that, right?

Finally, I would dispute the notion that a periodic incremental increase in hedons flowing into us is how human pleasure works. The key notion here is surely not pleasure but payoff - continually getting something (even exponentially more of something) for nothing won't feel like an orgasm getting better and better.* Unless you make some serious architectural changes. And, for me at least, that would be filed under 'wirehead'. To continue the orgasm metaphor, if you could press a button (no puns please) and come, you'd quickly get bored. It might even turn you off actual sex.

The future scares me.

I know that we won't necessarily get all these billions and trillions of hedons free - we would probably seek to set up some carrots and sticks of our own etc. But still. It'd be tough not to just plug yourself in given the option. Like you say though, easier to poke holes than to propose solutions. Will ponder on.

Marcello, very well put.

*This is my intuition talking, but surely that's what we're running on here?