Re: Evolved Preferences

The Low Golden Willow (
Tue, 15 Apr 1997 16:35:09 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 15, 12:33pm, Robin Hanson wrote:

} varies with age and gender. Young males, for example, discount the
} future heavily, in contrast to children and men over 35.

Children don't discount the future? Children are aware there _is_ a
future? Ok, I'm exaggerating, but I haven't thought of them as having
long lookahead.

} 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.

Hmm. Are these asexuals in general, or immortal asexuals? And does
asexual meaning cloning oneself or designing your offspring?

I find these papers very gratifying, since this result well matches my
most common view of the future. SF representation... at least partial
matches are Culture Minds, the ship in Cherryh's _Voyager in Night_,
Niven's Outsiders, the aliens of 2001, Babylon-5's First Ones, possibly
DS9's changelings. Patience and risk-aversion seem to be expected as
consequences of immortality; asexuality comes because the writers shy
away from attributing sexuality to such beings, and no one ever writes
in terms of Bayesianism but low-emotion rationality seems to be the
usual guess. Curious survivalists.

Hmm. I wonder if I've gotten to the point where I think less of any
extended-term SF which doesn't have such beings.

I haven't been sure of the implications of "risk-averse": trying to wipe
out all possible threats (Pak protector), hiding (Spathi), or preferring
safe social conglomerations?

I doubt humans will go extinct though. Non-dominant yes. Not extinct,
not in a large and diverse universe.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

To Aphrodite sworn was I,
But how could I a god deny?