[extropy-chat] limits of computer feeling

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Tue Mar 20 17:47:16 UTC 2007

On 3/19/07, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 3/20/07, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I believe that we are in evolutionary disequilibrium caused by
> > evolution of language, and more recently the complex societies capable
> > of supporting science. The changes in our environment are profound,
> > and therefore most of what our genes tell us to do on a daily basis
> > are actions that are totally maladaptive as measured by the fitness
> > function. It took only a few decades (invention of the condom, later
> > the contraceptive pill, ) to sever the connection between the vast
> > majority of sexual acts and procreation - conventional mammalian
> > evolution may take centuries to reshape our minds around this
> > development. But, unless evolution itself is abrogated (by a singleton
> > AI or other mechanisms), the relevant alleles will be eventually
> > removed, bringing the minds into equilibrium again.
> What would it mean to abrogate evolution? Arguably it has already happened:

Only if we're limited to thinking about the biological phase or
limited to (which?) human point of view.  The underlying process of
synergistic development continues to accelerate, exploiting novel
modes of decreasing "friction" at the increasing surface of
possibility space.

> we are more concerned with our happiness, which for evolution is just a
> means to an end,

Arghh!  Teleological confusion alert!  (Although the point about
decoupling motivations from biological procreation is well-taken.)

rather than for example maximising family size.

Might be useful here to distinguish between maximizing, satisficing
and optimizing.  It's trivial to argue that evolutionary processes
don't necessarily maximize family size (see r-type and K-type
ecological "strategies".)  But more profound is the idea that when
resources (including time, and the processing resources of any agent)
are properly accounted for, it is optimum to satisfice (not maximize)
solutions by maximizing returns subject to constraints. Although it is
misleading to ascribe agency to the processes of evolution, it looks
the same from inside the system.

- Jef

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