[ExI] The denial of death, transhumanism, and the abolition of embodiment

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Jun 12 07:29:29 UTC 2011

Keith Henson wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 3:39 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
>> I think bodies are best described as the interface between our minds and our
>> surroundings, and are not necessarily very distinct or bounded objects.
>> Picking up a staff changes the dimensions of egocentric space in the brain
>> (as shown by neuroimaging);
> That's really cool, I didn't know.  Not the least surprising, but very
> interesting.  I wonder if holding a staff makes someone feel larger in
> a social standing sense as well?  It's also interesting that the word
> has also come to mean a group of people who are extending a leaders
> capacity to get things done.

I wouldn't be surprised. There is a study showing that reminding people 
about times when they held power over others makes them worse at 
distinguishing what they know from what others know ("Boss telepathy" - 
the boss thinks everybody knows what he wants and have planned). This 
even affects how they draw a letter on their forehead when asked to: 
people with 'power' tend to use an egocentric direction (i.e. as if they 
were seeing the letter from the inside), people without tend to use an 
allocentric style (readable by somebody standing in front of them). 
There are a lot of odd interactions here between the social and spatial.

>> People do a lot of things for social status, including art and technology.
>> This motivation would remain. That it might originally have evolved because
>> of the peculiarities of human reproduction, family formation and group
>> interaction, doesn't mean the motivation would not remain even when the
>> evolutionary pressure producing it disappears.
> Indeed, it is one of the few motivations I think would be safe to give AIs.

So first they make themselves our social overlords, and then they spend 
all their superintelligence on fashion? :-)

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute 
James Martin 21st Century School 
Philosophy Faculty 
Oxford University 

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