[extropy-chat] Will we all choose to become one mind only?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 02:51:08 UTC 2007

On 4/27/07, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:

> Individuals are always "fighting" with themselves. Every single decision
> > that is made involves a weighing up of multiple alternatives, multiple
> > outcomes, multiple utilities for each outcome. If multiple minds were
> > integrated into one person the behaviour of that person would reflect
> some
> > sort of average of the individual minds.
> Stathis, would you agree that "composite" would be a better word than
> "average" here, since "average" entails a reduction of information? I
> think this question is key because it appears to highlight that you
> and I are looking at the same scenario but working in opposite
> directions.

Yes, "composite" is a better word.

I see "group minds" emerging due to the adaptive benefits of
> increasing degrees of freedom enabled by a more complexly effective
> organizational structure operating within an increasingly complex
> environment.  The subjective experience of the composite would be a
> high level expression of salient features of its internal state over
> time, fundamentally unavailable to its members. The subjective
> experience of each member, while subjectively "complete", would
> reflect a necessarily lower-level description of interactions with the
> greater "reality."

I don't see how you could distinguish the experiences of each member from
the experiences of the composite, or each other, if they were truly joined.
It would be like separating the part of you that likes chocolate from the
part that doesn't want to put on weight. I don't envision the composite as
someone with multiple personality disorder (which probably doesn't exist,
BTW) but as a completely integrated single person.

It seems that you are working in the opposite direction, assuming the
> primality of subjective experience, and imagining how to combine
> multiple subjective experiences into one, with this combined average
> subjective agent then interacting with its world.

Yes, although you don't need to call it an average, as you said above.

> Two careful conservatives + one
> > reckless radical = one mostly careful, sometimes radical joined person.
> The
> > difference would be that this person could not harm, punish or reward
> some
> > selected part of himself because all the parts experience what the whole
> > experiences.
> It's not completely clear here, but it appears that you're claiming
> that each of the parts would experience what the whole experiences.
> >From a systems theoretical point of view, that claim is clearly
> unsupportable.  It seems to be another example of your assumption of
> subjective experience as primary.

Would you say that the two hemispheres of the brain have separate
experiences, despite the thick cable connecting them?

> > I'm thinking we might all choose to become something
> > > like one of those clusters of human minds called "the
> > > joined", described in Clarke/Baxter: "The light of
> > > other days", joined also with AI of course (and why
> > > not with the minds of all the animals as well!).
> > >
> > > Is there a danger in all individuals becoming one? Can
> > > there be a survival value, for the human species, in
> > > such diversity of opinions that exists today, where
> > > people can't accept each other's ways of thinking,
> > > where people even kill each other because they have
> > > different beliefs etc?
> >
> > The collective decisions of the joined mind would, over time, resemble
> the
> > collective decisions of the individuals making up the collective.
> It seems clear to me that the behavior of the collective would display
> characteristics *not* present in any of its parts.  This is
> fundamental complexity theory.

Yes, I suppose that's true and the fact that the parts are in communication
would alter the behaviour of the collective. However, even the disconnected
parts would display emergent behaviour in their interactions.

> The
> > equivalent of killing each other might be a decision to edit out some
> > undesirable aspect of the collective personality, which has the
> advantage
> > that no-one actually gets hurt.
> This sounds nice, but it's not clear to me what model it describes.

In a society with multiple individuals, the Cristians might decide to
persecute the Muslims. But if a single individual is struggling with the
idea of whether to follow Christianity or Islam, he is hardly in a position
to persecute one or other aspect of himself. The internal conflict may lead
to distress, but that isn't the same thing.

Stathis Papaioannou
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