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Ghatanathoah comments on In Praise of Boredom - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 January 2009 09:03AM

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Comment author: Ghatanathoah 12 October 2012 07:16:27AM -1 points [-]

Now this is probably not exactly how our current emotional circuitry of boredom works. That, I expect, would be hardwired relative to various sensory-level definitions of predictability, surprisingness, repetition, attentional salience, and perceived effortfulness.

It is interesting to read this after reading Yvain's classic essay on wanting, liking, and approving. In Yvain's terms, the value of boredom could be construed as an instance where our "wanting, "liking," and "approving" systems are in relative harmony.

Couched in Yvain's terms, Eliezer praises boredom because he and most other people approve very strongly of the things that boredom motivates us to do, such as explore, engage in personal growth, learn new things, seek out new experiences, etc. In addition to this, the "wanting" and "liking" aspects of our characters also motivate us to engage in these positive behaviors, because as they become used to certain experiences they start to like them less and want to do them less frequently. This means that in addition to approving of seeking out new experiences, we also want to and like to.

But this is Fun Theory, so we are mainly concerned with how boredom should work in the long run.

Based on Yvain's work, it would seem that the way to create the improved boredom of the future would be to greatly enhance the power of the "approving" parts of our minds, so that they can more easily override the "wanting" and "liking" parts. If done properly this would give us free reign to improve the "liking" parts of our minds so that we can feel wonderful and happy all the time without fear of this causing us to lose our motivation to do awesome things with our lives. The people of the future could engage in all sorts of complex and challenging activities and feel like orgasmium while they're doing them.

This reminds me a little of how Eliezer speculates elsewhere that we might ultimately find a way to improve pain so that the more negative aspects of it are removed without getting rid of other facets of it that we approve of, such as enjoying Serious Stories.