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Z._M._Davis comments on Failed Utopia #4-2 - Less Wrong

52 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 January 2009 11:04AM

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Comment author: Z._M._Davis 21 January 2009 05:08:23PM 8 points [-]

I take it the name is a coincidence.

nazgulnarsil: "What is bad about this scenario? the genie himself [sic] said it will only be a few decades before women and men can be reunited if they choose. what's a few decades?"

That's the most horrifying part of all, though--they won't so choose! By the time the women and men re誰nvent enough technology to build interplanetary spacecraft, they'll be so happy that they won't want to get back together again. It's tempting to think that the humans can just choose to be unhappy until they build the requisite technology for re端nification--but you probably can't sulk for twenty years straight, even if you want to, even if everything you currently care about depends on it. We might wish that some of our values are so deeply held that no circumstances could possibly make us change them, but in the face of an environment superinelligently optimized to change our values, it probably just isn't so. The space of possible environments is so large compared to the narrow set of outcomes that we would genuinely call a win that even the people on the freak planets (see de Blanc's comment above) will probably be made happy in some way that their preSingularity selves would find horrifying. Scary, scary, scary. I'm donating twenty dollars to SIAI right now.

Comment author: DanielLC 09 February 2013 11:46:37PM 0 points [-]

We might wish that some of our values are so deeply held that no circumstances could possibly make us change them, but in the face of an environment superinelligently optimized to change our values, it probably just isn't so

Now that you mention it, how could it possibly take ten years? I bet a skilled human could do it in a week, without even separating the couples in the first place.

Admittedly, it's not like the superintelligence is breaking them up, but if a sufficiently skilled human can do it, so can a verthandi.

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 25 February 2013 03:08:06AM 18 points [-]

Hey, Z. M., you know the things people in your native subculture have been saying about most of human speech being about signaling and politics rather than conveying information? You probably won't understand what I'm talking about for another four years, one month, and perhaps you'd be wise not to listen to this sort of thing coming from anyone but me, but ... the parent is actually a nice case study.

I certainly agree that the world of "Failed Utopia 4-2" is not an optimal future, but as other commenters have pointed out, well ... it is better than what we have now. Eternal happiness in exchange for splitting up the species, never seeing your other-sex friends and family again? Certainly not a Pareto improvement amongst humane values, but a hell of a Kaldor-Hicks improvement. So why didn't you notice? Why am I speaking of this in such a detached manner, whereas you make a (not very plausible, by the way---you might want to work on that) effort to appear as horrified as possible?

Because politics. You and I, we're androgyny fans: we want to see a world without strict gender roles and with less male/female conflict, and we think it's sad that so much of humanoid mindspace goes unexplored because of the whole sexual dimorphism thing, and all of this seems like something worth protecting, so whenever you read something that your brain construes as "sexist," your brain makes sure to get offended and outraged. Why does that happen? I don't know: high IQ, high Openness boy somehow picks up a paraphilia, falls hard for the late-twentieth-century propaganda about human equality and nondiscrimination, learns about transhumanism, feminism, evolutionary psychology, and rationality in that order? But look. However it happened, there are probably better strategies for protecting whatever-it-is we should protect than feigning shock. Especially in this venue, where people should know better.