[extropy-chat] Sustainability philosopy as a justification forexistence

John john.heritage at v21.me.uk
Tue Sep 5 06:21:32 UTC 2006

>It is simply a transfer of natural selection into the virtual realm.

Indeed. The only slight difference being that some form of intellignece is being allowed to judge, or even prejudge, when an entity or pathway has become none desirable. People don't like that, probably because they're so used to other humans trying to screw them over if possible for their resources.

By leaving it to chance in the natural method of selection, it seems fairer to the majority I suspect. 

You could question, is it also fair that you're born predisposed to dying of cancer?

And I think the majority would also answer no, that we should wipe out these predispositions and you would then die based solely on your interactions with the world, not on a predisposition.

The religious might argue against that, until they get cancer.

Unfortunately, the universe is not homogenous, so what about those people born in environment more threatening to them? They're also predisposed to an early death regardless of their genetics.

How about randomness in general predisposing people to random deaths through no fault of their own? The utter chaos people like to think exists, doesn't. Everything you interact with on a macro scale today is probably (since I can't rule out god) happening because of something that's happened to it in the past. Gas molecules bouncing against your skin because they've spent the last few billion years bouncing against others, causing vector changes that have brought them to Earth and up close to your body. Maybe your boss will be angry with you today and so depress you, making you more likely to die earlier. Random? No.

So, keeping all this predisposition in mind, the idea of an intelligence evaluating entities for resources doesn't quite seem so terrible after all. At least an intelligence is able to evaluate the randomness as well and make and effort to balance things out. Natural selection doesn't care one bit, you're predisposed, you die. It's like that great arguement "A drugs company killed people 10 people developing this drug, so there's been no gain". Leave it to natural selection and you'll have a few million times that number of deaths before some problems are solved, potentially billions or trillions more for other problems.

Neither do we know for sure that the intelligence doing the selecting (humans) are entirely free entities themselves. A great deal of what we do is predetermined before we even think of doing it (see the boss example above - you being depressed has been partially set in motion by your boss before they even came into work).

>This is particularly true if the net result is to give the "gift of extended life" 
>to a bunch of people whose lives can be considered quite unextropic [4].  
>Years ago I used to think that lifespan extension was a great idea.  People 
>would have more time, they would learn more, they would be more generous, etc.  
>But if reality is that the "Type A" personalities are going to grab all of the marbles 
>and leave most of the rest of humanity with little or nothing then I have no interest 
>in that reality.  

I also agree.

As I've already said, I'm going to do electronics with nanotech soon. I can already anticipate that, without doubt, I will come up against the idea of developing something that will in some way be exploited by someone else for malevolent manipulation and exploitation of others. That's a hard one to justify for me because I'm not a flag waver. Although, I am open to the ontological question, why does killing someone for their wallet always have to be wrong?

I made a post on hypocrisy to a web blog with a similar vibe just recently.

If you know something is wrong, you can either uphold your own opinion to the letter and hope to 'inform and transform' or you can play along with that failing system as a normal member and attempt to crash it from there. The first is very romantically correct, the second can be far more efficient.

You may develop a cure for death, and simultaneously doctor it to allow you to selectively wipe out those individuals stealing all the marbles so's that the remainder can share (although, I suspect you'll find a lot of new marble stealers offer to take up the position). Or maybe you'll become a marble stealer yourself. Or a marble stealer in a select group of entities 'worthy' of existence. With a little bit of consideration, marble stealing can become a perfectly valid job title that even agrees in some ways with your idea of trimming. I suppose what you really mean, however, is marble stealing for the sake of marble stealing. Like, being a billionaire and buying ten cars that you never actually remember you have.

At least by doing the degree I am going to do, I will be a good position to partially influence the direct the results take.

>Nor do I have any interest in a reality where it is all worked out by an 
>AI caretaker (God by any other name).  

Not so sure know about that myself, depends on how much the AI was doing. If it was just looking after everything, it might give me more spare time to do the things I was interested in.

Even if it appeared to rule my experience of existence, I'd have to question whether or not it and I were truely separate entities - perhaps it might just be some separate area of my own conscious experience, as the subconcious (the thalamus for instance) in my brain that preprocesses all the data coming in from my sensory nervous system is presently my "AI caretaker". No one seems to mind that though. In fact, without it, like being without a linear, logical method of interconnecting neurons, we'd just turn out highly random, intelligence lacking junk.

And after all, the propogation of intelligence is basically what transhumanism / extropy is all about - we don't really care about the continued propogation of space dust. It's not about humans themselves, with their flesh and bones, it's about the intelligence they contain.

I think intelligence and caretaking (which is just intelligence on level that we can't directly, consciously experience for ourselves) can certainly live together, being simply different forms of a similar thing that can interact almost synergetically.

>But perhaps the worst of the three would be the reality that looks 
>like the one we have today (only with many more people with much longer lives) 
>-- where it is clear, at least to some, that we could have much 
>much more and have failed to develop the philosophical, economic and political systems >which are necessary to enable that. 

Maybe we should get married.

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