Re: Fwd: The Geek Syndrome

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Dec 14 2001 - 11:22:27 MST

On Sat, Dec 15, 2001 at 01:36:49AM +0800, Chen Yixiong, Eric wrote:
> I wonder if this makes sense to any of you here. Somehow I have this feeling that sentient computers will tend to behave in a more
> autistic than "normal" mannner.

I wonder if autism is due to a lowered plasticity in the systems of the
brain handling changes in value contingencies (such as the orbitofrontal
cortex, if we believe in the papers by Alessandro Treves and Edmund T.
Rolls). They get upset when situations change so their value estimates get
upset, have a hard time handling social interactions (where the values in
relationships are shifting all the time) and would likely get stuck in
behavioral loops.

I checked my AQ score; it was 26 - somewhat high but not extreme. I would
not be surprised if the average score on this list was above average, but
that could easily be due to other factors such as it being a self selected
group of technophiles on the net (with a high prevalence of XNTX

The discussion near the end about genetic cures of Aspergers raises an
interesting issue: the traditional response is to shake one's head and say
we are risking to get rid of the next Bill Gates (OK, bad example, let's
say the next Tesla), which presupposes that all parents will select away
Asperger's genes. But I wonder if parents with mild Asperger's would feel
that way? Obviously few wants to have an autist child, but if they could
use genetics to guarantee that it would only be Asperger, or maybe even
guarantee a certain mild level of the state, would they not take it? After
all, among us geeks (generalizing wildly :-) such people are regarded as
more rational and reasonable than those people who constantly mix in too
much emotions and social stuff in their decisions. Maybe genetics would
lead to an entrenching of Aspergers instead of an eradication.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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