[ExI] [ZS] [cryo] Nick Bostrom, Anders Sandberg, Stuart Armstrong to be frozen after death

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Thu Jun 13 20:38:48 UTC 2013

On Jun 13, 2013 6:30 AM, "Gregory Lewis" <gjlewis37 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 13/06/13 01:17, Adrian Tymes wrote:
>> On Jun 12, 2013 5:04 PM, "Gregory Lewis" <gjlewis37 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > 1. Given we time discount, and possible 'low hanging fruit' concerns,
lifespan may have decreasing marginal value.
>> You're going to have to explain that premise, as
>> it is not obvious.
> Sure. When given certain lifespan gambles (would you rather P=1 of 40
years or P=0.5 of 80 years and P=0.5 of death right now?) we tend to be
risk averse. There are a variety of debunking explanations one can offer
(scope insensitivity, status quo bias, the intuitions seem a bit unstable
if we change the magnitude of the gambles), but at least one account of our
apparent time discounting is that life has decreasing marginal value, so
twice as much is not quite twice as good.

So, you believe that just because most people
believe, based on historical evidence, that
later years = lesser years, this must inevitably
be the case for everyone always?

That is a logical fallacy, and a slightly
offensive one if you have indeed been lurking
this list and thus seen the counterexamples
we come up with.

> Another reason for decreasing marginal value (at least locally) would be
that, if we're rational, we'll prioritize the most valuable things to do
with our lives first, so we tend to do less valuable projects later on. So
there's diminishing marginal value as it becomes harder work to realize
value as we live longer.

Ha!  You assume we even KNOW all the things
we'll want to do early on.  This is laughably
absurd for all but the smallest, most limited
lives.  I, for one, don't know what project I
may work on 5 to 10 years from now, as is
the case for nearly all adults that I know.
(Children get a pass only because grade
school & college is a well established pattern,
but even they can't predict their
extracirriculars that far in advance.)

>> > 2. If you're a prioritarian (hold that a given increment of value is
better given to someone with less value than someone with more, all else
equal; or that the welfare to value function is concave), then you might
prefer many shorter lives over one long one even at the expense of some
total value. It might be generally fairer/better to package lifespan in
many small packets than one large one, so fewer potential people 'miss out'
on the goods of having existed at all.
>> There are an infinite number of those who might
>> have existed.  Further, people can help make the
>> world better: existence is not zero-sum, or even
>> readily convertible between different people.
>> If one's continued existence leads, however
>> incrementally, toward a world in which birth
>> rates may be higher (including "birth" of AIs),
>> wouldn't your argument suggest one should
>> attempt to live as long as possible?
> I don't think there are infinite possible future people (although it will
be very large).

I didn't say future people.  I referred to the

Granted, if you take all the permutations, the
number of those who might have existed had
things gone different might not actually be
infinite, but it's close enough here.

Of course, not all of them could exist at once,
and there's the flaw in caring about those who
might have existed: for any one person to exist,
a (practically) infinite number of alternates can
not.  The only way to be at all fair is to deny
any of them the chance to exist - emulating
several current Republican arguments in
Congress, with similarly unproductive results.

> I agree there are various externalities which are not accounted for:
although carrying capacity across universe's future has an upper bound,

This assumption is questionable, but granting
it for sake of discussion.

> maybe some lives, if extended, will increase this bound by an amount
greater than their life extension 'takes away', making it a good deal even
for prioritarians.

And if enough do that another person-year
for any person results, on average, in more
than a person-year's worth of capacity
added?  (Which is arguably analogous to
what's happened on Earth over the past
century or two.)

> if 10x life extension is widespread, then a lot of people who would exist
will not.

And many who would not have existed,
will.  Quite possibly many, many more.
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