[extropy-chat] Space: The Final Constraint

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Wed Jun 14 00:02:25 UTC 2006

MB sensibly asks

> Although I spend an inordinate amount of time at the computer I love
> working in my garden and when things in my life become stressful that
> is one thing I choose to do. You want I should live in a grey concrete
> structure and only look at pictures of a garden?

Oh, no!  You should use your own resources as you see fit. But suppose
that you are uploaded. How can you resist the missionary/salesman from
the Operating System who knocks on your virtual door and tries to sell
you an algorithm or something that will take your real dirt garden and
virtualize it along with you?  The idea is that it would look and feel
every bit like your present one. It even kicks in greater processing
power whenever you look at something up close. 

No, sorry, but I am talking about after people---if we get so lucky---
are uploaded.

Where the discussion comes back to Earth is in public choices over
whether to sacrifice nice, real landscapes for virtual ones. Imagine
that some years hence one can have a holographic display in his 
apartment that has an even greater view than from the best pent-house
in New York or San Francisco. Moreover, you can change it to the
Kalahari when you like, or a fantastic number of other scenes.

My question for you is this: *if* it looked exactly the same as
a real one would (except no jet contrails in the sky, no smog or
fog unless you wanted it, and no clutter of other buildings, would
you find it intrinsically unsatisfactory just because it wasn't

> The astonishing variety of what is here on this earth delights me.
> Yes, it's rough and painful and death filled, that's the way
> it is now. But I do not see why we should destroy and discard the millions
> of years of amazing evolutionary variety to turn into computer VR droid
> type ... um ... people. Where is the living part? Why should I trade RL
> for VR?

First, the people are the living part. Second, I totally agree that
many genotypes and phenotypes should be recorded, so that people can
have them emulated whenever they want. Besides, how did the organisms
and ecosystem that just happen to be alive now become so special?
They've been changing (and often going extinct) for hundreds of millions
of years.

We may have programs that can mock up even more beautiful and amazing
and delightful scenarios.  The only thing is that people have to get
used to the idea. GE foods and indoor plumbing are great starts; but
will it be one of those things in which only the young who grow up
with it can accept it?


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