Fwd: [extropy-chat] Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Jan 29 06:07:21 UTC 2006

Accidentally sent off-list

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
Date: Jan 29, 2006 1:06 AM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One
To: Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net>

On 1/27/06, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:
> > The second component of the essence is a stipulation that in
> > situations analogous to my current circumstances the device must make
> > certain choices identically to my current instance, or its versions
> > that have better information about outcomes of actions, including a
> > version possessing full and certain information about outcomes of
> > actions (choices of versions with more information trump the choices
> > of versions with less information). Not all choices must be identical,
> > only some choices in some situations, and on of the points of
> > reference is, as I said, a hypothetical, omniscient version of myself,
> > which is itself an infinite being. Thus, the second part of the
> > essence not only does not limit my future self but even requires an
> > infinite being for the definition.
> Jef:
> I think what is missing here is that not only will Smigrodzki change over
> time, but the environment too will change, and he will eventually find
> himself to be not only a substantially different player, but that the game
> itself will have changed.  Therefore, the basis of comparison between the
> newer and older versions of Smigrodzki will become vanishingly small.  Your
> point about such comparisons would remain technically correct, but
> irrelevant.

### In my initial post I gave a long-winded description of the
definition of smigrodzki which could be condensed to say that a
smigrodzki is a device with my memories and core values. The
description provides a partial technical statement of what it means to
share core values with me ("in situations analogous....") and implies
that an infinite amount of development of the device is still
compatible with being smigrodzki. Now you seem to agree factually with
this conclusion saying that it is "technically correct" but then sally
forth into normative statements ("irrelevant", "historical data of
diminishing significance", "nearly insignificant in terms of what
would define and influence a capable intelligent agent of the fourth
millenium.", "any substantial description of our past selves rapidly
becomes irrelevant". )

I don't know the basis for these normative statements and I don't
share it. For me, all that is significant is that future
highly-evolved devices have as a matter of fact my memories and core
values (as defined above) and when other minds see these properties as
insignificant, it doesn't diminish my satisfaction.

I have a feeling that you in fact doubt that my conclusion is
technically correct, that is you think that meeting the technical
specifications of a smigrodzki precludes being infinite, or evolving
through an infinite number of well-differentiated stages. Let me then
elaborate on this a bit:

The current core values of smigrodzki include, for example,
preservation of memories, predation, limited dominance, curiosity,
vindictiveness, reciprocal altruism, limited benevolence, and others.
There are a few ego-dystonic or irrelevant features of the current
Smigrodzki, such as malice, or right-handedness that don't make into
the specification of smigrodzki. If you look closely, you will find
that some of the specified values are directly derived from our common
ancestor, the first eukaryote. This little creature was the first
predator - its values included engulfement of other creatures to be
rendered into its own flesh. I am a predator, too, since I do not have
any qualms about devouring nourishment taken from the flesh of other
eukaryotes (in this broad definition even vegans are predatory, since
they eat sessile non-sentient eukaryotes). I don't attach any value to
feeding on abiotically generated foodstuffs. So, one should say that I
share the core values of an amoeba, and not in an insignificant way,
either.  You do too, unless you tell me that eating spinach fills you
with horror. Without doubt there are many of my core values that the
amoeba didn't have (i.e. vindictiveness), and certainly the future
yotta-FLOPS smigrodzkis will have many core values in addition to my
current set - but in the relevant circumstances these old core values
will still guide their actions. Just as I, confronted with a tasty
mussel, chomp, they will too, repeating a pattern first seen with the

Being smigrodzki doesn't mean having most of your behavioral repetoire
defined by my current core values, just as being an amoeba-derived
predator doesn't mean a lack of appreciation of Bach - all it takes is
that the relevant aspects of behavior are guided by my core values,
however small their overall input into all behaviors. Whether this is
"significant" by some-god else standards, is not important for me.


Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD
Chief Clinical Officer,
Gencia Corporation
706 B Forest St.

Charlottesville, VA 22903

tel: (434) 295-4800

fax: (434) 295-4951

This electronic message transmission contains information from the
biotechnology firm of Gencia Corporation which may be confidential or
privileged. The information is intended to be for the use of the
individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use
of the contents of this information is prohibited. If you have
received this electronic transmission in error, please notify us by
telephone (434-295-4800) or by electronic mail
(fportell at genciabiotech.com) immediately.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list