Re: Tragedy and Boredom was Re: Why just simulation? (fwd)

From: Nick Bostrom (
Date: Sun Mar 18 2001 - 19:14:47 MST

Anders wrote:

>Nick Bostrom <> writes:
> > Robert Bradbury wrote:
> >
> > >However the other part of this "if life was all happiness, people
> would become
> > >bored" raises interesting issues.
> >
> > That sounds like nonsense to me.
>But it is a very common meme. I wonder how true it is; if pleasure and
>pain were just a one dimensional scale and exact antonyms it would
>likely be wrong, since any difference in valence would be just as
>useful as the absolute levels. But there are reasons to think rewards
>and punishments are asymmetric, and that might mean there really is a
>need for both. Of course, this doesn't mean pain has any intrinsic
>value, but a signal like that (with the necessary level of
>specificity, aversiveness etc) would be useful.

What I said was that a superintelligence could figure out a way of getting
rid of the boredom emotion if it chose to do so. It *might* have reasons to
keep some kind of susceptibility to boredom. However, at the times when it
is just wanting to be entertained it would be possible to tune down the

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy
Yale University

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