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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Interpersonal Entanglement - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 January 2009 09:22:22AM 14 points [-]

Steppenwolf, I thought about "north" and "south" but I didn't want any arguments over who got to be on top. So I used "east" and "west" instead.

In response to your main point... either (a) you're sympathizing with something nonsentient that doesn't actually have any feelings - either deceiving yourself into caring about a person who doesn't exist, or changing the value itself. Or (b) you're losing out not only on present human sympathy, but on future extensions of sympathy, the telepathic bond between lovers a la Mercedes Lackey and/or Greg Egan.

Being in a holodeck, and knowing that the people around you aren't real, has to change either your feelings or your values. That's the problem with the volcano lair, if there's no one there who's real except you. That's the simplicity I fear.

Nazgul, the "comparative standard of living" thing is one of few parts of human nature that I would seriously consider eliminating outright (see Continuous Improvement). But the environmental solution would be, indeed, nonsentient human-shaped entities of lower status, to tell your brain that you're in the elite. Though I don't know if that works - we may have a brain category for nonpeople we don't even compete with hedonically.

Comment author: Strange7 09 January 2011 08:07:10PM 14 points [-]

That's the problem with the volcano lair, if there's no one there who's real except you. That's the simplicity I fear.

It's still, as I understand it, possible to leave the volcano lair (with your private hoverjet) at any desired time and arrange a meeting with some other real person who got bored and left their own volcano lair. If somebody didn't get bored until day 1, year 10^6 then that's when they'd go outside, and there would be million-year-old post-singularity social institutions ready to greet them.

Early in the development of agriculture, was there someone who feared the simplicity of a grain silo or refrigerator in the same way? Too much food, but it's not real food: monoculture grains, none of the bruises and parasites and honest work of gathering or tracking. Losing respect for the spirit of the slain animal.

They'd be right, of course. Cheap food changed us. Destroyed the concept of what it is to be human every bit as thoroughly as a chicken destroys it's egg by hatching.

Though I don't know if that works - we may have a brain category for nonpeople we don't even compete with hedonically.

" May have ?" I'd be shocked if we didn't. The question is not whether a sufficiently well-designed machine could appeal in that way, it's whether digging up and overstimulating that particular instinct is what we really want to do.

Comment author: [deleted] 04 February 2012 06:16:18PM *  0 points [-]

The question is not whether a sufficiently well-designed machine could appeal in that way, it's whether digging up and overstimulating that particular instinct is what we really want to do.

Remember that the flip side of this is our envy of those who are better than us. I would argue that this is very closely linked with our obsession with equality, something many value.

Comment author: elspood 19 February 2015 09:26:31PM 0 points [-]

Isn't there a separate axis for every aspect of human divergence? Maybe this was already explicit in asking if there is anything more complicated that romance for "multiplayer" relationships, but really this problem seems fully general: politics, or religion, or food, or any other preference that has a distribution among humans could be a candidate for creating schism (or indeed all axes at once). "Catgirl for romance" is one very specific failure mode, but the general one could be called "an echo chamber for every mind".

The expected result (for a mind that knows the genesis of the catpeople) is that eventually the catpersons will get boring, but Fun Theory still ought to allow for exploration of that territory as long as it allows a safe path of retreat back into the world of other minds. The important thing here seems to be that we must never be allowed to have catpeople without knowing their true nature (which seems to be a form of wireheading).