[ExI] Consequentialist world improvement

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 6 23:22:07 UTC 2012

On Sat, Oct 6, 2012 at 5:35 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> So in terms of deaths, fixing (or even denting) ageing, malnutrition,
> infectious diseases and lifestyle causes is a far more important activity
> than winning wars or stopping terrorists. Hypertension, tobacco, STDs,
> alcohol, indoor air pollution and sanitation are all far, far more pressing
> in terms of saving lives. If we had a choice between *ending all wars in the
> world* and fixing indoor air pollution the rational choice would be to fix
> those smoky stoves: they kill nine times more people.

I was going to suggest you run for president on the "improve indoor
air quality" platform.  The dozen or so of us who would vote for
sensibility would inevitably be drowned-out by those prefer full
bellies and empty-headed entertainment.  Bread and circuses are far
easier to provide.

> ==Conclusion==
> To sum up, this approach of just looking at consequences and ignoring who is
> who is of course a bit too cold for most people. Most people have Tetlockian
> sacred values and get very riled up if somebody thinks about
> cost-effectiveness in terrorism fighting (typical US bugaboo) or development
> (typical warmhearted donor bugaboo) or healthcare (typical European
> bugaboo). But if we did, we would make the world a far better place.
> Bring on the robot cars and happiness pills!

You're talking about Soma?  Agreed; no need to wait until 2540.  Oh
right, that was a dystopian future :(

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list