Tuesday, 26 July 2011

LW: SW Part II

When I thought about writing this part, initially I just thought, I've already criticised the main parts, how could Eliezer possibly go wrong now? The rest could simply be logical deduction, etc. It wasn't. This whole sequence is turning out, to me, to be the biggest crock of shit I have ever read.
Complex Novelty
"In Permutation City, Peer modified himself to find table-leg-carving fascinating and worthwhile and pleasurable.  But really, at that point, you might as well modify yourself to get pleasure from playing Tic-Tac-Toe, or lie motionless on a pillow as a limbless eyeless blob having fantastic orgasms.  It's not a worthy use of a human-level intelligence."
Yes, exactly. You could do that. No, just because your own human intuitions about what is 'horrifying' and what is 'wrong' tell you that an existence like that is bad, does not mean, again, that you are right. You have a website about defeating human biases! How could you have missed the fact that you don't need complex fun, if you can modify yourself to be happy all the time doing whatever it is you want. It's extremely simple - from your point of view (an OBJECTIVE point of view), the image of a life of manufacturing table legs is horrible, but from the point of view (SUBJECTIVE - superior point of view) of the person doing this, they would be absolutely satisified - FAR MORE SATISFIED THAN YOU LIVING IN YOUR WORLD OF NEO-BOREDOM AND MEANINGLESS CHALLENGES. The rest of this article is the design for a life inferior to one that may be possible in the future, so I will not attempt to attack it.
Continuous Improvement
The madness seems to have subsided - for now. At the conclusion of this article he appears to have come to believe that the hedonic treadmill is a bad thing, NOT BECAUSE IT IS AN ENDLESS CHAIN OF SUFFERING, but because he doesn't think the universe could cope with transhumans constantly trying to improve themselves and thus becoming 'happier' - along with the new evidence that people generally just drift back to a set-point of happiness. I think I'll reserve calling him a hypocrite if he seems to be going about the other articles this way, but I really doubt it. Rationality as a world-view? Try coming to your conclusions without being biased one way or the other (in this case, he is biased in that he believes that the human mind should not be tampered with). What would I conclude if I were Eliezer? Simply that happiness is good, therefore most of it is the best. Therefore we should modify brains to be as happy as possible, and MOST OF ALL to suffer as little as possible. No boredom - no non-satisfaction - no desires. That's the Buddhist way, it's Occam's way, and it's also, I believe, the right way.

Sorry if I'm not looking at these articles in any great detail: it's far easier to just skim through them. If I'm missing anything let me know.

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