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John_C._Wright comments on 31 Laws of Fun - Less Wrong

34 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 January 2009 10:13AM

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Comment author: John_C._Wright 27 January 2009 06:28:49AM 2 points [-]

"You can never allow yourself a single moment of willpower failure over your whole life. (E.g.: John C. Wright's Golden Oecumene.)"

In the Golden Oecumene, of course, we are positing a technology that can rewrite and rewire the human consciousness any way whatsoever. You can nip down to the corner store and buy yourself an iron willpower.

As I recall (I haven't read the book recently) there was a legal form called a 'werewolf contract' a person could sign so that someone else with power of attorney could be authorized to override the citizen's self-sovereignty in cases defined in the contract (such as if I am afraid I accidentally might turn myself into a werewolf by toying with my own cerebrum-rewriting program).

Also, every thousand years all minds in the system were interlinked in a Grand Transcendence, an attempt to achieve an ultimate level of intellect beyond human or machine consciousness. It was not explicitly stated, but the books implied that participation was mandatory: one of the characters is lost in one of these 'devil bargains' you mention, and she is against her will pulled out to mingle with the transcendent consciousness, and review her life, so that she must again decide to return to her amnesia illusion. This may have been required by law, or, more likely, it was something signed as a private contract when the character was wired up to be able to form full-immersion brain interfaces. The book doesn't say.

Sorry. Didn't mean to go on about the example: the main point is that if you have the technology and social customs which allow for the devil bargain type temptations mentioned above, does not this same level of technology imply that mechanisms will be discovered by those concerned to counteract the threat?