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Cabalamat2 comments on Sympathetic Minds - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 19 January 2009 09:31AM

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Comment author: Cabalamat2 19 January 2009 02:57:19PM 1 point [-]

Julian Morrison: They'd need something to stop their society atomizing.

Assuming they had a society. To have society you need:

1. lots of independent actors with their own goals.

2. interdependence, i.e. the possibility of beneficial interaction between the actors.

What if an alien life form was something like an ant-colony? If there was only one breeder in the colony, the "queen", all the sterile members of the colony could only rfacilitate the passing on of their genes by co-operating with the queen and the colony's hierarchy. They'd be no reason for them to evolve anything like a desire for independence. (If fact most colony members would have few desires other than to obey their orders and keep their bodies in functional shape). They would have no more independence than the cells in my liver do.

So an "ant colony" type of intelligence would have no society in this sense. On of the big flaws in Speaker For The Dead is that the Hive Queen is depicted with the ability to feel empathy, something that evoloution wouldn't havce given it. Instead it would see other life forms as potentially-useful and potentially-harmful machines with levers on them. Even the war with th humans wouldn't make the Hive Queen think of us as an enemy; to them it would be more like clearing a field of weeds or eradicating smallpox.

Comment author: CronoDAS 10 March 2016 04:48:25AM 0 points [-]

The Hive Queen evolved in an environment that included many other colonies with intelligent queens of their own - it's implied that there was a society of colonies and the Hive Queen models individual humans as a colony with only one member...