Re: Evolved Preferences

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 15 Apr 1997 16:31:58 -0400

Robin Hanson wrote:
> The Blume & Easley paper analyzes the investment values selected for
> by asexual reproduction. It finds that such evolution selects for
> investors with logarithmic (and hence risk-averse) utility of wealth,
> minimal time-discount (i.e. maximal patience), and Bayesian beliefs
> with the smallest relative entropy to the truth.
> The Hansson & Stuart paper tries to infer the gender and age specific
> time discount values that were an equilibrium in our tribal past.
> They note that on average sexual reproduction in a stable population
> should prefer a discount rate of a factor of 2 per generation (which
> fits with historic interest rates), but find that for tribal humans it
> varies with age and gender. Young males, for example, discount the
> future heavily, in contrast to children and men over 35.
> I don't have a cite, but I think there are also good reasons to think
> that young males should be risk-takers rather than risk-averse. On
> average though one would expect only slight risk-aversion from sexual
> reproduction, except for small genetic populations.

While I would say that family concerns make males much more risk averse
than without such responsibility. It is an evolutionary goal of males to
pile up as big a pile of stuff, as pretty a nest as possible, in order
to attract the closest to optimal mate. This factor does vary in
relation to the males short term libidinous drives, as well as to what a
particular male considers his "optimal" mate and what his preexisting
assets physically and charismatically are (shades of your BS ability
theory below)
> I also have a theory that young males should be more optimistic than
> Bayesians; the better they think of their prospects the more likely
> they are to fool young women into thinking highly of their prospects.

So liars have an evolutionary advantage over Bayesians?

> As we become better at exchanging information in ways other than via
> sexual reproduction, it seems the longer time-horizon of asexual
> reproduction should win out. This suggests a future of very patient
> risk-averse asexual Bayesians, in contrast to the impatient optimistic
> risk-taking young males who dominate science fiction.

So you are saying that the future portends being boringly stable, with
high social pressures for conformity (if you reproduce asexually, you
are producing identical clones) with low growth, low interest, long term
investments being the norm. I predict that such a society will not
survive long in the face of possible world ecological disasters, threats
from within or without. Its stability and conformity will not make it
suitable to adapt to radical changes. The machine will stop. Get me off
this rock ASAP.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}