On Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM, benjayk
<benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> Rex Allen wrote:
> >
> > On Sat, Jun 18, 2011 at 6:08 PM, benjayk
> > <benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> Rex Allen wrote:
> >>>
> >>> If evolution by natural selection were correct, then it seems to me
> >>> that if the overall environment remained relatively stable for an
> >>> extended period of time - then regardless of how it ended up,
> >>> humans would be at about same level of happiness.
> >>
> >> I don't think it is generally true, though I think it is approximatly
> >> true
> >> if we assume humans are restricted to biological intelligence (which
> >> probably won't be the case in the future).
> >
> > Though, if our technological prowess were to plateau at a level
> > advanced enough that we could maintain a stable environment for
> > ourselves, but short of any type of "Singularity"...then what?
> I personally believe that development is an inevitable and universal part
> of
> the omniverse. Probably ever accelerating development (my guess is
> uncomputable fast development). I think there are plenty reasons to
> believe
> in development as an universal principle: Occam's Razor + evidence,
> pragmatic optimism, a consistent future for subjective immortality (which
> I
> assume)...

Okay, let’s assume that we take complete control over every aspect of
ourselves and our environment.

And that we start spreading throughout the galaxy, leaping from solar
system to solar system.

Rex Allen wrote:
> Surely there will be some competition in this process, as the groups
> that “shape themselves” in the most efficient way “outcompete” those
> groups who do not.
> Surely this idea will occur to *someone* at *sometime* during the
> expansion process.  Why wouldn’t it?  More resources means you get to
> pursue *your* projects instead of someone else’s.  It also means that
> you have more of a cushion against leans times.  It also means that
> you can defend yourself better against someone else who gets the same
> idea.
> So groups that spread more quickly will gain access to more resources
> (assuming that the galaxy is empty of other intelligences), which they
> can then use to overwhelm groups that spread more slowly.
> But groups that spread *too* quickly will over extend and be
> undermined by groups that spread at a more optimal rate.
> Now we’re back in an “evolutionary” framework.  Now we’re once again
> subject to nature, red in tooth and claw.
This presupposes that we all have fundamental different, irreconcilable
goals.  I think we have fundamentally the same or similar goals and only
need to learn to identify and actualize them by cooperating. Thus there is
no reason for strife. Outcompeting at the cost of others is of no use if you
damage potential cooperators too much with it. Everyone may spread quicker
by cooperating.
There will be intellectual and economical competition between different
groups and ideas in order to identify what works best among the
possibilites, but this a long shot from tooth and claws. There is no need
for intellectual and economic competition to feel bad. It can feel immensly
exciting and motivating. This will be "selected" for (and it will actively
be created), because we tend to pursue important long-term goals only if we
are positively motivated (for a constrast look at depressive people!).
The darwinian wanting, fear and hate instincts don't work for abstract,
long-term goals. Instead they lead you to pursue short-term goals like
acquiring possessions or eating a lot or being lazy and watching TV or
procrastinating or beating someone up,...
I don't see where a balancing force should come in that prevents to much
happy feelings.

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>> >
>> > Barring a Chinese-style birth control regime, eventually the more
>> > fertile sub-groups would seem likely proliferate and eventually
>> > population levels would rise until we were back in the same situation
>> > that most of our ancestors lived in...with just enough resources to
>> > sustain the existing population.
>> Keep in mind wealthy societies tend to stop growing (even without
>> governmental birth control), so what you say will likely not happen.
> There are subgroups even within wealthy societies that have very high
> birth rates.  Over time, these subgroups will become the majority.
> Part of this is cultural - and so how long the high birthrates is a
> question of how the culture changes.  But Mormons are about as wealthy
> as the average American, and have much larger families.  The Amish are
> also doing quite well.  And there are others.
> But there’s a biological aspect as well.  If there’s a genetic
> component to the decision-making process of deciding how many children
> to have, then those gene-lines that favor larger families will
> eventually come to dominate the population, and eventually trigger
> another population explosion.
> And further “fertility-boosting” mutations could develop that push
> this even faster.
The question here is whether cultural tradition and evolutionary tendences
are strong enough to withstand modernization and development (that will lead
to lower birthrates). I doubt it, but I'm not sure.

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>>> You don't think that happiness and unhappiness play a significant role
>>> in the competition for social status and mates among humans?
>>> I would tend to think that our social relations (or lack thereof) are
>>> probably the largest contributor to most people's happiness *and*
>>> unhappiness.
>> Yes, but I think in a world with a more benign environment social
>> relations
>> will be easier to acquire and keep stable (eg less deaths) and there will
>> be
>> less reason to compete.
> Absent unbounded resources, there are always reasons to compete.  Winning
> works.
Yes, but we can win together to an extent and thus limit competition (at
least the violent kind). To what extent is determinded by the circumstances
and our ability to cooperate.

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>> >
>> > Not everyone can be a winner.
>> > We can't *all* get the prettiest girl or handsomest guy.
>> > This is bound to cause unhappiness...which then (sometimes) motivates
>> > increased effort or a different approach on the next round.
>> I don't see a reason why everyone couldn't be a winner. Evolution is just
>> too dumb to find a good solution for everyone. Society and technology
>> might
>> not be. The world is not a zero sum game at all.
>> Sure, some people might be bigger winner than others. But even this
>> doesn't
>> have to be the case if different people prefer different things.
> I would think that unless things are structured so that the price of
> competition is higher than the rewards, then there will be
> competition.
Obviously. But the world to me doesn't at all seem to be structured in a way
that makes this fundamentally so. The only reason is  that currently the
beings are too dumb to cooperate (which here I mean as including peaceful,
non-destructive competition) to an extent that makes fierce competition

Rex Allen wrote:
> Currently, the government has a monopoly on force - and uses this
> monopoly to set boundaries on competition.
It does set bondaries on economic competition, but I think it raises social
competition by making us less wealthy.

Rex Allen wrote:
> It doesn’t seem plausible to me that all of this competition will just
> disappear.  Or that there’s a way to enforce the rules in a way that
> can’t be “gamed” or subverted or bent or outright broken.
To the latter I absolutely agree. Rules will always be broken. 
But rules won't eliminate fierce competition. It won't just dissapear,
either. It will be superseded by an deeper ability to cooperate that is
brought about mainly by technology.
It is not something new, either. Look at the cells in your body. In the
course of evolution they learned cooperating in way that almost eliminated
competition between them (barring accidents like cancer). Why shouldn't
happen this on larger scales, too?

It may take some time, though. But most probably not evolutionary time
scales. I am optimistic about a time horizon of ca. 100 years.
And of course in some sense competition will remain (it seems like an
universal principle). Just not competition that is felt as bad by anyone,
but competition of ideas, which will be seen as a large oppurtunity for
exploring, not like a threat to anyone.

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>> >
>> > And so there would be the same number of happy and unhappy people...a
>> > countable infinity of each.
>> This is an gross oversimplification of how the world works. It might be
>> we
>> can't count people in a uniquely defined way. Maybe not all (countable)
>> infinities are equal.
> In what way would they not be equal?  So in the sense of one-to-one
> correspondence, all countable infinities *are* equal...right?
Well, yes, but this is only mathematically convenient and doesn't accurately
reflect all the important properties of the sets. You can put the set of all
integers and of all even integers in an one-to-one correspondence, but still
every subset of all the integers will contain a lesser amount of even
Even though their cardinality is the same they don't behave as equally big
in most contexts. If you take order into account countable infinities
needn't be the same (I'm sure you heard of ω).

Rex Allen wrote:
> You can impose some measure on your infinity, but I don’t think this
> amounts to anything in this case.  In the end, for every unhappy
> person you can put a happy person next to him.
But you could put 100^^^100 happy person next to every unhappy person, too.
Do you see this kind of abstraction is not very helpful in this question?

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Also it might be that there is a limited number of distinguishable
>> persons
>> that are unhappy. An infinite multiverse does not imply that there is an
>> infinity of everything in practice (we don't care for indistinguishable
>> objects, or unstable objects that can be described but not experienced in
>> the way stable objects can be experienced).
> It could be argued that way.  Or you could argue that a person is a
> person, regardless of how similar he is to some other person.
I find it pretty obvious nature doesn't have neat exact boundaries between
... anything, really. By usual definitions you are the same person as 1
second ago even though you clearly changed. So why should states that
otherwise have small differences (pontentially MUCH more small differences
than between you(t) and you(t-1s) ) be counted as different persons? It
makes no sense.

Rex Allen wrote:
> If all sides that are competing have access to science and technology,
> then you’re right back into the “natural selection” framework.
> The idea that we won’t compete with each other seems entirely
> unfounded.  It seems nearly certain that we will...
I adressed this above.

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>> >
>> >> First, we can't adapt very much biologically to scientific advancement
>> >> because science changes us faster than biology can react to. The more
>> >> scientific advanced we are, the more this becomes true.
>> >
>> > You think that science will continue it's current rate of progress?
>> > For how long?  And then what will happen after it plateaus?  See my
>> > scenario above.
>> I think it will accelerate its rate of progress  (and I guess also
>> accelerate its pace of acceleration, etc.) and continue indefinitely.
>> Of course there still may be temporary plateaus for various reasons. Or
>> they
>> may be catastrophic events. But in any case, at some point we will
>> recover
>> or another species (maybe on another planet or galaxy,...) will take our
>> place (and recover everything about us that is of value). I don't think
>> the
>> universal drive towards higher order, complexity, consciousness,
>> intelligence and (eventually) happiness can be stopped by anything,
>> ultimately.
> The problem is that as your knowledge advances, so does that of your
> competitors, and the complexity of your problems.
> You move up a level, but so does everyone else.  Your capacity grows,
> but this just lets you take on the next level of problems in a never
> ending hierarchy.
> It’s a treadmill.
In some sense, I agree. I just don't see the negativity in this. If you
compete for who can solve the problem how to quickest design a mind
architecture that makes one 100^^^100 times more happier than before, and
you create on it in 1 ms, your competitor won't complain that he was a
little slower, but will be motivated to try a better approach the next time.
Where in this scenario would a force come into play that reintroduces bad
feelings? It seems like a stable situation where everyone benefits from
playful (but sincere) competition. If someone says "let's create bad feeling
for more motivation" everyone else will say "yeah right, let's not spend
time joking and get on with bliss creation".
No mysterious force of nature will come into play that wants to balance
things out towards something worse.

Rex Allen wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>>> Order increases because this universe is structured in such a way that
>>> "disordered" mutants get out-competed by their unmutated brethren -
>>> while order-increasing mutants out-compete their unmutated brethren.
>> Yes, and I don't believe this is a coincidence but that it reflects
>> something deeper about the universe.
> It’s a consequence of the universe’s particular initial conditions and
> causals laws.
> Other initial conditions and/or other causal laws would have given
> different results.
I think it is something deeper that applies to the omniverse. I don't think
computational principles are local to some subspace of existence. Universal
computation seems to make connections between everything. Still they will
lead to locally different results (that may converge at a later time, just
to explode into a newly found space of creative divergence).
It's hard to make this rigorous and testable, in the mid term. I totally
admit I am relying on my intuition here. But one may count the discovery of
principles of maths, where extremely deep connections between seemingly
different things are abundant, as evidence.
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