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Kevin92 comments on Interpersonal Entanglement - Less Wrong

44 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 January 2009 06:17AM

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Comment author: Kevin92 14 December 2015 02:06:13PM *  0 points [-]

Thought: Something we could do (eventually) to make the world a better place is to use technology to upgrade every man's body. Make most men taller, more muscular, leaner, etc. Men who currently have relatively less attractive bodies will get a larger upgrade than men who have relatively more attractive bodies to make it fair. But make sure there is still variety in what men's bodies look like.

Do this until the average man is as sexually attractive to the average women as the average woman is to the average man. That would solve a lot of problems. And I don't think either gender would be uncomfortable with that scenario.

Edit: We could also upgrade things like smell and voice timbre.

Edit2: The gym is not nearly as powerful as the technology I'm talking about. I'm talking about some kind of biotechnology or transhuman technology

Comment author: Lumifer 14 December 2015 03:28:21PM 0 points [-]

"The other girl is a Brandy. Her date is a Clint. Brandy and Clint are both popular, off-the-shelf models. When white.trash high school girls are going on a date in the Metaverse, they invariably run down to the computer-games section of the local Wal-Mart and buy a copy of Brandy. The user can select three breast sizes: improbable, impossible, and ludicrous. Brandy has a limited repertoire of facial expressions: cute and pouty; cute and sultry; perky and interested; smiling and receptive; cute and spacy ... Clint is just the male counterpart of Brandy. He is craggy and handsome and has an extremely limited range of facial expressions." -- Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash

Comment author: Kevin92 14 December 2015 10:13:14PM 0 points [-]

Are you suggesting that my scenario would make men look fake or make them all look the same? Because if you can't imagine what I suggested without that happening it implies at least one of two things: 1. I described it poorly. 2. You need a better imagination.

Comment author: Lumifer 14 December 2015 10:19:35PM 1 point [-]

First, I would like to suggest that "using technology to upgrade every man's body" is available right now. People usually call it "going to the gym".

As to whether I need a better imagination, let me quote you Eric Hoffer: When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

Comment author: Kevin92 15 December 2015 10:48:21PM *  1 point [-]

The gym is not nearly as powerful as the technology I'm talking about. I'm talking about biotechnology / transhuman technology. Men given the genetic short end of the stick can't reasonably expect to look fit no matter how much they work out, unless they don't have a job or any time consuming responsibilities. And no I'm not a jealous fat guy. I'm not athlete, but I'm in decent shape.

And what I'm talking about here is upgrading the average man's attractiveness so that it's on par with the average woman's attractiveness. Nobody complains that all women look the same. In fact women look very diverse. I'm talking about a scenario where men look as diverse as women do.

Also due to supply and demand, there would be an incentive for men to look diverse to match the diversity of women's desires. A higher supply of Ryan Gosling clones than there is demand for Ryan Gosling clones would create incentives for men to look different from Ryan Gosling.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 December 2015 01:25:08AM *  2 points [-]

The gym is not nearly as powerful as the technology I'm talking about. I'm talking about biotechnology / transhuman technology.

Yes, but the gym has a decisive advantage: it's real and the transhuman technology is imaginary.

Men given the genetic short end of the stick can't reasonably expect to look fit no matter how much they work out

That's flat out false. Men given the genetic short end of the stick cannot be expected to win the Olympics. But just looking fit a very low bar. By the way, the ripped look is mostly a function of low (<10%) body fat, not of how much you lift.

there would be an incentive for men to look diverse to match the diversity of women's desires

Which aren't all that diverse if you're talking about looks.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 02:06:26AM *  1 point [-]

Yes, but the gym has a decisive advantage: it's real and the transhuman technology is imaginary.

The transhuman technology is a tentative speculation of what could happen in the future.

Remember this is a forum where people regularly talk about terraforming mars and building dyson spheres, I think speculating about transhumanism is appropriate in that context.

Which aren't all that diverse if you're talking about looks.

I'm unsure about this. My taste in looks for mating partners is very diverse, and I'm only one individual. But then again I'm likely to be an outlier and it would be silly to assume other people are like me. But even if it's true that women don't have diverse tastes, I don't think that means we should throw male individuals under the bus by denying them bodily upgrades just for the sake of "diversity". Imagine going up to Joe Wilson of Boston and saying: "sorry bro, but we're going to keep you fat so we can have diversity."

Comment author: Lumifer 16 December 2015 05:32:08AM *  0 points [-]

The transhuman technology is a tentative speculation of what could happen in the future.

Sure. Since we're imagining things, technology can give you any body you want and it doesn't even have to be human. But that's pretty obvious, so I'm wondering what's the point that you want to make.

we should throw male individuals under the bus by denying them bodily upgrades just for the sake of "diversity"

There are a whole lot of background assumptions here, beyond assuming that body upgrades are available. You are assuming that somebody can allow or deny them. You are assuming that this somebody cares about diversity of body types (in which case they might incentivise you to grow a couple of extra limbs or switch to a radial-symmetry body plan instead of staying fat and flabby, by the way). You are assuming these upgrades are a sufficiently big deal so that you don't want to do one each time you get bored or your girlfriend changes. Etc., etc.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 16 December 2015 04:12:21AM 0 points [-]

Yes, but the gym has a decisive advantage: it's real and the transhuman technology is imaginary.

In the context of the comment thread about a sci-fi story that's not terribly relevant, though.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 16 December 2015 05:59:54PM 0 points [-]

Huh, for some reason I was under the impression that this was the comment thread to this other post.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 14 December 2015 05:25:15PM *  1 point [-]

I largely agree, but:

Thought: Something we could do to make the world a better place is to use technology to upgrade every man's body. Make most men taller, more muscular, leaner, etc. Men who currently have relatively less attractive bodies will get a larger upgrade than men who have relatively more attractive bodies to make it fair. But make sure there is still variety in what men's bodies look like.

You don't even need that much technology -- part of the reason why the average man is less attractive to the average woman than vice versa is that the former isn't even trying.

And I don't think either gender would be uncomfortable with that scenario.

Given the backlash against PUA I wouldn't be entirely sure of that, even though improving appearance might be less taboo than improving behavior.

Comment author: Kevin92 14 December 2015 10:04:36PM 0 points [-]

Well people dislike PUAs because they see them as emotionally manipulative and dishonest, (which is sometimes true) and I don't think problem would be present here.

Comment author: ChristianKl 14 December 2015 10:19:31PM 3 points [-]

We have that technology. It's called "The Gym". People who are already muscular gain less additional attractiveness from it.

Comment author: Kevin92 15 December 2015 10:49:17PM 0 points [-]

Original comment edited to account for this objection.

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 December 2015 10:57:58PM *  -1 points [-]

The gym is not nearly as powerful as the technology I'm talking about.

I see that you are new on LW. LW is a place that's about actually thinking critically and not simply talk about magic pill interventions. The gym does what you were talking about. It might not have been what you where thinking about.

Men given the genetic short end of the stick can't reasonably expect to look fit no matter how much they work out, unless they don't have a job or any time consuming responsibilities.

What makes you believe that's true? Leaving out people with real disabilities for the sake of the discussion.

Comment author: Kevin92 15 December 2015 11:27:25PM *  0 points [-]

I'm not new to lesswrong. I'm active on the Facebook group and have read most of the sequences.

What makes you believe that's true? Leaving out people with real disabilities for the sake of the discussion.

My mom is a doctor, and she says genetics are the biggest factor in what people look like. I know that's not a perfect source but it's worth something EDIT: Yeah I know that's a really shitty argument, but it's not so much an argument as it is a clarification of where I got the idea. But anyway, doesn't it seem a bit far fetched to say that anybody can become muscular if they just work hard enough? That sound a lot like saying anyone can become rich if they just work hard enough, or anyone can learn calculus if they just study hard enough. In real life people have different levels of natural ability, different privileges and other advantages.

The gym does what you were talking about. It might not have been what you where thinking about.

That's one possible interpretation of my words. But what I'm intending to refer to. I'm talking about biotechnology / transhuman technology. Try listening to what I'm actually trying to say. The gym is irrelevant to my actual point.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 15 December 2015 11:36:08PM 2 points [-]

"Anyone can become muscular if they just work hard enough" sounds to me a lot like "anyone can become fat if they just eat enough."

Both of those seem pretty plausible to me, even though admittedly it is harder for some than for others, in both cases.

Comment author: Kevin92 15 December 2015 11:46:18PM *  -1 points [-]

When I was between the ages of 14 and 20 I was 135 pounds no matter what I ate, and I didn't watch my diet at all. I imagine I could have gained weight if I "tried hard enough" but it would have involved eating obscene amounts of sugary and fatty foods. We're talking about an "epic meal time" everyday style diet.

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 December 2015 11:52:18PM *  0 points [-]

I'm talking about biotechnology / transhuman technology. Try listening to what I'm actually trying to say.

I fully understand what you are trying to say. The problem is that thinking about the issue that way is inproductive. You don't engage with the actual knowledge we have about making people more fit.

My mom is a doctor, and she says genetics are the biggest factor in what people look like. I know that's not a perfect source but it's worth something.

In the LW context "my mum told me" is not a good argument. There's a reason why "appeal to authority" is generally considered to be a logical fallacy.

But anyway, doesn't it seem a bit far fetched to say that anybody can become muscular if they just work hard enough? That sound a lot like saying anyone can become rich if they just work hard enough, or anyone can learn calculus if they just study hard enough.

The importance is not how the idea sounds but what we know about the effects of various interventions.
But even if we look at the way the idea sounds, if a hunter gatherer can't build muscle he likely won't procreate. That means there are strong evolutionary pressures for humans to be able to build muscles. There aren't similar pressures for learning calculus.

But anyway, doesn't it seem a bit far fetched to say that anybody can become muscular if they just work hard enough?

I haven't made that claim. It's not simply a matter of working hard. It's about training in and efficient way an eating the right diet.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 12:01:32AM 1 point [-]

Yeah I know it's a shitty argument I admit it.

I fully understand what you are trying to say. The problem is that thinking about the issue that way is inproductive. You don't engage with the actual knowledge we have about making people more fit.

I see. But does this imply that we shouldn't use transhuman technology to make people more muscular? If we could use such technology, why wouldn't we?

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 12:30:23AM -1 points [-]

But does this imply that we shouldn't use transhuman technology to make people more muscular? If we could use such technology, why wouldn't we?

That's besides the point on many levels.

There isn't a clear line between existing technology and transhuman technology.

The technology that we have that produces the effect of a muscular body the fasted is steroid hormones. We outlaw their usages for purposes of appearance enchancement. To me it sounds like you haven't thought about the subject to have an informed opinion if you simply ask "why wouldn't we?".

There are a lot of practical issues that come with using technology like steroid hormones to make men look more attractive that you don't think about if you think about magical transhuman technology the way your initial post framed the issue.

You argue that we are wrong to outlaw the usage of steroid homones to allow men to look more attractive but you don't provide any arguments towards that conclusion.

If you say you want something that's even more transhuman than artificial hormones we are likely talking about something like gene therapy. That means you get even more medical risks than you get with steroid hormones.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 01:04:23AM 1 point [-]

Are you saying that technology to enhance the appearance of the male body without having unwanted health effects is so implausible that it will never happen? Because over the long term (200-1000 years from now) I prefer to avoid saying "technology X will never happen" unless there's an actual law of physics that says so. Remember that this is just speculation.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 01:24:24AM 0 points [-]

Are you saying that technology to enhance the appearance of the male body without having unwanted health effects is so implausible that it will never happen?

You didn't say anything about technology not having "unwanted health effects" before.

Remember that this is just speculation.

That's like saying: "Remember that I don't know what I'm talking about". There a variety of knowledge available about the effects of various technological options to increase muscle mass. The fact that your comments are not inspired by that empirical data but by baseless speculation is what I'm criticising.

Productive conversations about healthcare technology are those that are grounded in empiric reality.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 01:43:14AM *  4 points [-]

You didn't say anything about technology not having "unwanted health effects" before.

That was supposed to be implied. Allow me to quote Facing The Intelligence Explosion by Luke Muehlhauser:

One day, my friend Niel asked his virtual assistant in India to find him a bike he could buy that day. She sent him a list of bikes for sale from all over the world. Niel said, “No, I need one I can buy in Oxford today; it has to be local.” So she sent him a long list of bikes available in Oxford, most of them expensive. Niel clarified that he wanted an inexpensive bike. So she sent him a list of children’s bikes. He clarified that he needed a local, inexpensive bike that fit an adult male. So she sent him a list of adult bikes in Oxford needing repair. Usually humans understand each other’s desires better than this. Our evolved psychological unity causes us to share a common sense and common desires. Ask me to find you a bike, and I’ll assume you want one in working condition, that fits your size, is not made of gold, etc.—even though you didn’t actually say any of that.

You appear to be acting like that virtual assistant. People's suggestions can only properly be understood in the context of common sense.

And generally it is considered okay for people to speculate by saying "hey, what if X happens, it might be a good idea" as long as X is possible and the speculator is not asserting X definitely can or will happen. It's pretty crazy to enforce a rule against speculation and brainstorming. You appear to be reacting as if I'm saying: "hey we will definitely be doing X in the future! There is no reason not to and no reason it could go wrong."

The difference between speculation and baseless assertion is the difference between making a tentative suggestion in what could happen and making an uninformed suggestion about what will happen.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 10:33:05AM 0 points [-]

That was supposed to be implied.

Implying that new technology generally comes without risk or sideeffects is typical for transhumanist writting but it's also badly wrong. Most new technology has risk or sideeffects at the time it get's adopted.

The difference between speculation and baseless assertion

I didn't say baseless assertion but baseless speculation given that you don't seem to have covered the basic research of looking into the issues surrounded the existing technology, your speculation about future technology is per definition baseless.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 December 2015 01:47:55AM 0 points [-]

genetics are the biggest factor in what people look like

They are the biggest factor in what people look like by default, if they don't apply effort to change.