[ExI] fermi paradox again, was: addiction

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 19:16:54 UTC 2015

This thread reminds me of a short story (I do not remember the title or
author, unfortunately) set in a dark cyberpunk style universe, where
corporate leaders send out goons and assassins to retrieve a new biotech
formula which had been intended for mind control, but instead created the
"we are all brothers and sisters, and should love and care for each other"
feeling/attitude which Spike yearns for humanity to have in spades.  A
former academic turned thug/bounty hunter (it was a really bad economy)
finds the runaway scientist, and when he finds out the truth, turns against
his employers, and spreads the highly infectious agent among humanity.  The
story ends with the former thug returning to academia, with the nations of
the world involved in a massive building and restructuring program, to end
hunger and poverty.  Good had triumphed over greed, fear and apathy.

I need to track down the short story's title and author.  I think it was
only nine or ten pages, and yet it still deeply affected me, far more than
some novels I have read.  If the Outer Limits ever gets rebooted again,
this would make for the outline of a great episode.


On Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 11:03 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> spike <spike66 at att.net> , 6/4/2015 7:52 PM:
> Anders that is you there, ja?
> Yup. That was a fun meeting. People trying to make the world better on the
> largest scale, whether in terms of material standards, health, tech or
> safety.
>    I am delighted there is such a healthy intersection of those two sets,
> the H+ crowd and the effective altruism crowd.
> Here is a cool map of Bay Area meme space showing some of the reasons for
> the overlap: http://lesswrong.com/lw/ipm/a_map_of_bay_area_memespace/
> What if we could figure out a way to tweak the feels-good knob to create
> positive feedback, give us a euphoric feeling over helping others, wouldn’t
> that be cool?  We fix it to give us a good feeling when we discover some
> new science or technology geek thing; then it acts as a force multiplier
> such that we can do more effective altruism.
> In many ways it already works like that. Not for everyone, not all the
> time. So even a way of strengthening it a bit would make a lot more people
> altruist, and make the nice ones nicer. However, just wanting to help may
> not be enough: many people hurt by trying to help in the wrong way or
> according to the wrong goals (imagine the helpful neighborhood
> fundamentalist). We need to improve intelligence too.
> Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford
> University
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