[ExI] Moral enhancement

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 8 16:14:47 UTC 2015

Anders - Moral enhancement theorists generally do not think programming
people constitutes "real" moral enhancement, just behavior control.
Sometimes that or nudging is OK, but most of the time it is also very
limited, since it only applies to situations somebody had thought about
beforehand. ​

​Yes - how can we get change unless we anticipate it and plan?  I disagree
with those theorists.  Once someone has done something he wasn't totally
forced to do, it becomes a part of his personality willy-nilly​.  Recall
the Red Cross example I gave - when people agreed to putting the sign up
they became more supportive of the organization than before (to justify
their actions - cognitive dissonance theory).  Thus getting the behavior
one way or another is the key to permanent change, then step up gradually
to more and more commitment.  Best if it's free choice, but get it somehow
without involving force.   Best if they can copy people like themselves. IF
the theorists are just talking about a situation like a caged rat who has
no choice but the depress the lever to get food, then they are right in
part.   But why is it 'just' behavior control?  I suspect that they are
thinking more about classical conditioning and most behavior isn't like
that, although all emotional behavior is (and since emotions are involved
in every opinion, it get's a bit hairy here).

Most people are, I think, like me in this regard:  I can be led, fairly
easily in fact, if you just treat me right - push my buttons.  Try to push
me and you'll get resistance big time.

The biggest problem with big problems is that there are conflicting views,
often of a radical nature, like reforming the tax code or Social Security,
and so nothing gets done because the politicos are afraid of their voters.
Best if you start with a small problem to prevent a bigger one later - too
late for tax reform and money for bridges and many other things, and so we
have gridlock in Washington. But if they would just fix one little problem
at a time, it won't hurt so bad at all.

bill w
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