RE: A vision

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Fri Jul 18 2003 - 23:02:56 MDT

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    Anders writes

    > > Sorry, but you are sounding like one of the usual apologists
    > > for pain and suffering here. There really isn't anything that
    > > can be computed with pain that cannot be computed without it.
    > Yes, it does sound like the standard apology.
    > But evolution and similar time-asymmetric complexity increases cannot
    > occur unless 1) some information is erased to produce selection or 2)
    > there is always more resources to encode information in.

    It's not clear to me that 1) always has to be true; but you
    do a good job of delineating the possibilities here:

    > The first case is the usual kind of evolution, or a M-brain doing
    > error correction of its knowledge. The second one would be an expanding
    > technosphere never erasing anything

    Sounds great if one can afford it!

    > (but remember the error correction part! that is still information
    > erasure) but growing new memory to encode more and more variants
    > of the earlier information patterns. But the second approach is
    > limited by the speed of expansion and converts more and more matter
    > into static memory; it is rather inefficient compared to a system
    > where information is erased when it is no longer useful.

    Okay, I will concede that.

    > Second, pain might perhaps be replaced by non-pleasure. But in many
    > learning rules there is an inherent difference between non-pleasure and
    > aversive experience, and it could be that the most efficient learning
    > rules belong to this category. Then the issue becomes a choice between
    > pain or lesser learning abilities.

    It's been pointed out many times, I am sure, that the kinds of
    minds we would like to become would still encounter disappointment
    and frustration. Fine.

    The aversive experience I have in mind is the hideous burden that
    intelligent creatures continue to suffer under because they have
    not yet gained control of their internal workings. An extremely
    stupid beast needs to be reminded not to kick certain kinds of
    objects, for example, and extremely and long-lasting pain was
    the most efficient teacher. I propose to do away with all stupid
    creatures, and, in fact, probably most matter that is not itself
    intelligent and capable of getting along quite nicely without pain.

    I cannot imagine the case that you are discussing: namely, an
    intelligent entity whose learning is advanced by the kind of
    pain experienced by lower animals and, sadly still, humans.

    David Pearce's message is so right and so important, that all
    quibbles need to be swept aside


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