[extropy-chat] What Human Minds Will Eventually Do

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Jun 27 10:26:55 UTC 2006

On Mon, Jun 26, 2006 at 10:01:39PM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:

> > Why is everybody talking about just people? What about
> > the eqivalents of viruses, bacteria, nematodes, insects,
> > rodents, deities?
> The answer is simply this: we are not now at all interested
> in having the experiences, if there are any, of viruses
> bacteria, nematodes, and insects, and we suspect that the
> experiences of rodents don't really have that much to them.

Yes, but others will, and some subsystems will spontaneously
sprout legs, and walk off. The future culture is not a monoclone.
After the initial population bottleneck it will become radically
diverse, far more diverse than our current ecosystem.

People equivalents will be in the minority. And they would
be equivalents, not a 1:1 virtual rendition of a human primate,
in bits. So we should claim speaking for them. They're
indistinguishable from aliens, to us-current. 
> And unfortunately, by the Campbell/Vinge paradox, we can't
> understand the experiences of deities.

The experiences of people equivalents are intensely intervowen
with the rest of the ecosystem. They're not floating in
free space, each. They're not philospher-kings, ensconced
in virtual-ivory towers, thinking deep thoughts, undisturbed.
> Moreover, please understand that by "people" I include sentients
> at human level or above, though usually underestimated problems
> with identity arise when we go seriously past the human level.

When I say people I mean sentients at human level or slightly above.
> > I don't think this is a reasonable future. It looks
> > too much like our present.
> Could you elaborate? It doesn't seem to me now that I have all
> that much control over my emotions. I'm happy or sad, often for

The intentions we project. Some of what we discuss sounds dated
even as we speak. Whatever we've learned from such past discussions
(which cover many centuries) is that if we aim for specifics
the projections will tank. So I'm trying to assume as little
as possible, namely that Darwin still applies, and don't try
to look at the short term (linear centuries) but look at the
long-term trends. Predicting climate, instead of weather.

> reasons outside my control. I wish always that I could suppress
> anger or resentment, if either they don't logically seem
> appropriate for the situation, or simply because I believe
> that it would be better for me not to have those experiences.
> At least I know that *you* agree that natural isn't always
> best.

We're extremely unnatural, and in fact not unnatural enough.
We're animals that have been pressed too fast into a postanimal
niche, hence the maladaptedness, and the feeling of being
a round peg in a square hole. But this is our view, and other
people and systems will choose a different evolutionary path
that will carry them into all possible nooks and crannies,
arbitrarily far from our current bauplan, generally spoken.

What irks me, if that we're always extrapolating from a human
viewpoint -- not only a human, but an early 21st century human 
geek. There's some serious diversity scarcity there. 
> > What about pointless stuff we're doing now? Games, art,
> > socializing? How can a mouse do math research? Why
> > should I do math research if I can start a war instead,
> > or do <wr54334543>?
> I would hardly call them pointless; it's simply that they may
> not be optimal in some ways at some times for some people,
> people who presently are passive victims to their own tastes,
> whether evolved or acquired.

But there's an effectivy infinity in culture (=what social
animals do), and certainly no lack in motivation in pursuing it.
> Indeed, a mouse could do "math research", but he'd become a
> trans-mouse in the way that many of us yearn to be transhuman.

My point is that diversition radiates both down and up complexity-wise,
and a transrodent niche doesn't ask for intelligence. There is
simply no place for intelligence in a lowly scavenger package.
> > > Mathematics is provably infinite in complexity, and surely
> > > people will still want to enjoy life. There you have it.
> > 
> > I would like a proper mathematical proof of that, please.
> There are infinitely many true relations between just natural
> numbers, for a start. See Gregory Chaitin's elaborations on
> why unknown mathematical truths will always outnumber the
> finitely many known ones.

But math is just a particular production system, a subset
of culture. No doubt some will revel in such production
systems. But not exclusively so. I always got this dismal
vibe from Egan: "Oh noes! we've ran out of stuff and think to
do! O well, the only thing left is the math mines, I guess."
> Another approach is simply to use Godel's theorem, and observe
> that every axiom system implies the existence of truths that
> cannot be demonstrated from within that system, and that while
> adding an axiom fixes that and may extend the system of 
> provable truths quite a bit, it still provides an induction
> proof that the number of mathematical facts is at least aleph
> zero.

I understand you perfectly (and indeed if there was a symbolic
algebra package cortex plugin I'd purchase it). But this is a tool,
not something I'd consider a full-time occupation. Ditto
diddling nanowidgets: it's the same as redecoration and health
maintanance, rolled in one. Something you do, but not full-time,
but for the specialists.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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