[ExI] Easy solution to wars like that in Libya, and in these groups?

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Feb 25 20:12:36 UTC 2011

On 02/24/2011 09:09 PM, Brent Allsop wrote:
> Extropians,
> It seems to me that if you could some way have an easy way to 
> reliably, easily, and in real time, know concisely and quantitatively, 
> what the entire population of Libya wanted, war could easily be avoided.

Are you assuming that this collective state of mind is particularly 
rational or a good [enough] decision maker?   Why would you assume that 
when experience seems to show that relatively few people are reasonably 
sane and competent about a great number of questions?

This is a problem I had with Eliezer's CEV concept as well.  Even a 
powerful AGI that deeply ferreted out and did what humanity collectively 
wanted or what it extrapolated that humanity when most rational/wise 
would want would not be a clear win.

> Why do we all have to spend so much effort protesting before anyone 
> finally gets a clue as to what the people want?  If you could easily 
> know, concicely and quantitatively what everyone wanted, obviously, if 
> the leader was diviating from this, especially if he wanted to kill 
> anyone, everyone could just ignore him, and just do what the people 
> wanted, instead, couldn't they?  Problem solved?  Does anyone think 
> differently?

That is a system of strong individual rights.  It is not democracy as in 
democracy your wishes and rights can always be overridden by a majority.

> Everyone is asking the question, what should the US, and other 
> countries do, to help out Libya and similarly struggling countries?  
> Why is everyone only asking or talking to the leaders, at the tops of 
> all the hierarchies, and if that one is taken out, find another.  Is 
> nobody interested in what the people of Libya want?  Isn't that the 
> only problem?

They should leave it alone.

> Of course, primitive survey systems, like simple voting, or checking 1 
> of 4 possible choices doesn't work very well, and is so difficult.  
> Who gets to decide what the 4 choices are, and what they mean?  You 
> need some kind of open survey system that is set up in a way that is 
> constantly improving, bottom up, and one that will build as much 
> consensus as possible (pushing the banal disagreeable stuff to lower 
> camps - out of the way), and follow that consensus as it morphs into 
> the future and jumps away from falsified camps, to far better ones....
> And it needs to be some kind of expert based system.  So uneducated 
> people in a particular field can easily delegate their vote / support, 
> to someone they trust more than themselves.  And that delegatee can do 
> the same to someone else, and so on... so the real experts at the top 
> of such trees can make much more educated choices than all the 
> clueless idiots...

And the clueless idiots are going to delegate on what basis well?  How 
is this different from all current representative democracies and their 
known considerable ills?

This is not to say that the open survey is unworkable at all.  It is a 
very fine idea in many respects.  For sure what I think is not at all 
represented by any conceivable vote in the current system.   I have a 
design in mind for an open end survey and matching system that the above 
sort of reminds me of.

> And of course, all transhumanists are just one big group of 
> individuals all waring and criticizing each other on the most trivial 
> details, and we never get anything done at all, and never have any 
> influence over anything.  But I bet you if we had the right consensus 
> building system (where the trivial less important disagreeable stuff 
> we spend all our time on could be pushed to lower level camps), all 
> the real moral and scientific experts at the tops of such delegated 
> tree structures, would be far more transhumanist than the general 
> clueless population.  With such a system dictating the morals of 
> society, (rather than all the primitive war mongering bottle necked 
> hierarchies) and telling us what our priorities are and so on.  I bet 
> we could rule the world and finally bring the singularity to pass.

In actuality it doesn't happen.  Central decision making everyone has to 
obey even if they are an outlier with a better idea is inherently 
broken.  Such can at best provide general guidance.  It can never have 
enough capacity to outperform localized decision making.  You cannot 
construct a good centralized or expert run system  generally that will 
retain its good qualities or have good qualities if it grows to be the 
"decider" for too many things which it enforces using force.

> My hypothosis is that it is all simply a matter of communication.  How 
> do you know what the best experts in the crowd want, concisely and 
> quantitatively?

How do you, John Q. Public, know who those "experts" are?

> What is the moral expert consensus?

Define "moral".  We cannot find the above without such a definition.

>   What is the scientific consensus? 

Are you sure consensus strongly approximates best?

> What is the transhumanist consensus?  If you can know that, suddenly 
> there is no more reason for war and fighting.

False.  There will be dissenting viewpoints.  If they have no space to 
doing things their way that is a cause for conflict.

>    This hypothesis has led me to try building something like 
> canonizer.com, but everyone seems to hate it, and like everything 
> else, everyone just wants to criticize, fight it and destroy it, and 
> go back to doing everything on their own in a do it yourself lonely 
> way - damn everyone else.  So maybe someone can come up with some kind 
> of better method of knowing what all us experts want, concisely and 
> quantitatively, in any kind of consensus building way, so maybe we can 
> work together and get something done, other than just finding 
> disagreeable things and focusing and criticizing everything and 
> everyone on that, as we continue to watch the world still wallow in 
> primitive rotting misery?

Build you own walled community with people that you find sane.  Don't 
expect to convert the world or get the consensus to do anything but run 
over you.

Canonizer was an interesting idea but the implementation is too weak/ 
not so useful.  I am not sure what could be better or if some of its 
goals are doable.

> We just buried our mother in law.  Despite my obvious horror, I 
> couldn't even talk about it, the family just put her in the grave to 
> rot.  Yes, she is the one I told you about that was asking me about 
> transhumanism the other day.  But that is about as far as she got.  
> I'm getting tired of rotting these people in the grave and sitting 
> around watching as if we can do nothing.  I just want to know what all 
> you experts believe is best, and want to get to work on doing it all, 
> together. 

I feel for you and do every time death touches my own life or the lives 
of my friends or I even see death strike for strangers.  When you know 
there is potentially a "cure" for much of it it becomes many times more 
unacceptable and it is much more difficult to go numb than it was before 
understanding this.

For many things only relative experts can do the doing although many 
others can contribute money and other resources to the efforts.  It 
would be fabulous to build a Foundation or some other structure to 
gather funds to be distributed by a board of transhumanist experts to H+ 
projects.  I don't know the legal details of such.  Anyone?

> We obviously still aren't getting much done as lone individuals.  Can 
> we not do more than just spending an eternity in eternal yes no 
> arguments over such things as Libertarianism vs what, over and over 
> again, year after year after year, for now more than 20 years?

I hear you.  I should shut up more of the time and build some things I 
believe will add real value along transhumanist lines.  Like a series of 
Intelligence Augmentation software tools.

> Lets just find some way to definitively state what everyone wants, 
> concisely and quantitatively, and finally just get started on doing it 
> all, for everyone.

I don't give a fig what "everyone wants".   Really.

- samantha

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