Immortality would be a great help for my distant future selves – they’d get to exist. But it wouldn’t do so much for me now. As my future mind evolved away from who I am now, who I am now will get more and more forgotten and irrelevant. Me now would basically be dead.
You seem to be under the illusion that desires/values are in some way "rational". After all "Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions." - Hume
Rationality is the art by which we achieve our goals, not ultimate justify them.
I think that can already be done via implanted electrodes stimulating the pleasure center of the brain. My understanding is that this produces all the pleasure of pleasurable experiences without any of the other effect.
It is in effect a Platonic ideal of pleasure.
Yes. Provided you can afford it, cognitive masturbation is very worthwhile.
I have a small number of digital games, movies and TV shows that are so brilliant that I would want to experience them over and over again. But knowing the plot precisely causes diminishing returns in pleasure. Selective memory deletion would prevent that.
In a perfect world, I guess everyone would experience maximum pleasure and zero suffering in any activity that happens to be maximally productive or adaptive. You would have maximum fun doing just the right kind of work, fleeing from the right kind of threat, reproducing at just the right ratio between effort and reproductive success etc. But this isn't a perfect world, and alas, we're not wired like that (yet?).
Why would I want me-now to persist when there is a me-then? I totally do not understand.
Isn't recreational selective memory deletion just cognitive masturbation, though? You're talking about taking the thrill of learning and divorcing it from any actual improvement.
I would love selective memory deletion though. You could establish a selection of great narratives with surprising plot twists and experience them over and over again.
I agree with the above. I prefer me-now to me-back-then, and I'm guessing me-back-then would prefer me-now to me-back-then too. I'd further guess that I will prefer me-soon to me-now. It's hard to predict what me-now would think of me-distant-future, but if I always prefer me-soon to me-now, there's never a time when I would want to archive me-now for later recall rather than just wait for me-soon other than for novelty purposes.
The book was Greg Egan's Permutation City.
A mind which indulges the possibility of "p-and-not-p" is not "slightly more enterprising", it is (hopefully only slightly) defective.
Another interesting theme in the same book was the ability of ems to self tweek their personalities. If you had the hooks, would you tweek yourself to be happier. In the book, some set a schedule to tweek all permutations they could think of. The idea being given forever, they wanted to experience everything.
Running your em only slowly or infrequently doesn't solve your problem at all. Immortality means inifinite. One one miliionth of that is still more then enough time to leave your old self in the dust.
I forget the name of the book, but it reminds me of the Solopsist nation. Basically, extremely poor ems who could only get small amounts of computer time when it was very cheap. Essentially, they ran in slow time. But to them, it didn't matter at all when compared to forever.
Though we have been designed by natural selection to attempt to survive, there is no rational basis for attributing intrinsic value to one's own survival. The different possibilities available in Hanson's imagined science-fictional world--so different from our past circumstances--might well lead people to appreciate this, and not waste resources on the pursuit of "immortality" (of any sort).
All my planning and toil is for future me. I'm not actually sure that I was ever designed to care about present-me. Dr. Hanson, "me-now immortality" is not something that I want now (or that me-now wants!), but I still don't see why it might be something I would want under reflective equilibrium.
Here I was thinking I'd much prefer a constantly changing self, because I make it a goal to better myself over time, forever.
It's already happened, in my case. The Grognor from two years ago is a completely different person from Grognor today, and I'm okay with that because I'm better than him. I expect Grognor of two years from now to be better than me, so I'm okay with being replaced by him.
This post got me thinking, though, it would be cool to hang out with a bunch of my past selves from different times. "Party of one" indeed.
It could even be useful, as various objective measures of person-worth are developed, so that I could actually be sure that I'm accomplishing my goals and not stagnating.
But in the long run, I don't care about my now-self. He has a long way to go.
I have imagined a stack of snapshots of a living brain, perhaps one taken each night; in the stack, each neuron is wired not to others in the same 'layer' but to the corresponding neurons in the adjacent 'layers'. The most obvious conceptual difficulty is: where to attach the i/o?
Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between brilliance and flatulence as both are so difficult to grasp.Smiles and Happy New Year.