Robin Hanson, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, writes:
> I agree this is a big important change. And in an important way, this change
> makes it *easier* to envision the future. At first, we will
> replace what we currently want with what we currently want to want. And then
> we will replace that with what we then want to want, which is probably related
> to what we now want to want to want. And since we are actually pretty fuzzy
> on what we want at these abstract levels, the main result will be to create
> a lot more variety in the values that exist. Which seems harder to predict.
[To avoid typing "want to want" a great deal, I will use the abbreviation
W1 for "want", W2 for "want to want", W3 for "want to want to want", etc.]
Does it make sense to differentiate what we "want to want" (W2) from
what we "want to want to want" (W3)?
Does it make sense to differentiate what we "want to want" (W2) from what we "want to want to want" (W3)?
I can see differentiating simple wants (W1) from W2s. I W1 to overeat, to lie around and read, to indulge various other bad habits. At the same time I W2 to avoid these things and spend my time on things that will be more rewarding in the long term. But the role of "W3" is unclear.
Earlier Robin wrote:
> Sure, within a context where we care about what we want.
> That is, when it makes sense to say "I don't want to want that."
> Such things make sense when we realize that we are not atomic,
> but made of parts, spread across space and time.
> So I now can want my future self to take a long term view of things,
> while my future self might rather focus on short term payoffs.
> Or my conscious mind can want my subconscious mind to not get
> so hung up on sex all the time. And so on.
> Saying that I "as a whole" want something is analogous to saying
> that the US "as a whole" wants something. Sometimes negotiations
> happen within the US and the US ends up taking some actions. For
> example, the US might go to war. Similarly, negotiations within
> myself can result in Robin making choices that can be interpreted
> as Robin wanting something.
If we think of ourselves as made of parts, like a Minsky Society of Mind, then some parts W1 long-term things, and other parts W1 short-term things. The long-term parts W1 the short-term parts not to W1 what they do, hence they W2 long-term things as well as W1 them.
However I can't see, in this model, where W3 would come into play. Those parts which I identify with when I say that I W2 long-term things seemingly would be happy once this is achieved. If we got rid of (or changed) the parts of me that W1 short-term things, I would no longer W1 those things and hence I would W2 long-term things. That's as far as I go. I can't see how parts of me could W3 something.
In fact I'm not sure this distinction between "W2" and "W1" really works. Those parts of me with which I identify when I say I W2 long-term things are the same ones which W1 those things. Saying they W2 them is just a matter of saying that they W1 them but don't always get what they W1 because other parts of me get in the way. So really the "W2" is just a matter of a strong "W1" which is being thwarted.
I could just as easily identify with the short-term parts of me and say that I W2 short-term things. Sometimes people express this by saying that they want to learn how to stop worrying and just enjoy the moment.
Ultimately choosing what to W2 is a matter of selecting specific W1s to emphasize. The winning W1s get elevated to W2s. I can't see how to carry this process on to produce W3s.