Re: Evolved Preferences

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 16 Apr 1997 10:52:22 -0700 (PDT)

The Low Golden Willow writes:
>So the big difference comes from sexuality, mortality, or both?

The diff is sexuality, which makes each child only half you, so you
have only half the interest in promoting its welfare over your own.
Evolution has no problems with your dying in order to make room for
another entity with your essential (i.e., selected-for)

Michael Lorrey writes:
>When one says risk averse, I see people who think that CD's and
>government bonds are good investments.... like my grandparents.

The optimal risk aversion implies a certain risk premium. If the
market risk premium is less than this, you buy risky stuff. Otherwise
you don't. What you should buy depends on the price, and your
estimate of the actual risk.

Anders Sandberg <> writes:

>Once a species starts spreading across space, it would tend to
>differentiate as different evolutionary pressures have different
>strengths in different parts of the growing technosphere. Near the
>edges, rapid growth and colonization would be preferable, ... At the
>core matter is under control, resources limited but the amount of
>information (and presumably processing) maximal. This might be the
>land of the careful Bayesians. They grow mainly memetically rather
>than physically

If these regions could effectively contract with each other, then both
should grow at the same rate in terms of wealth. Central memetic
investments would compete with edge physical investments, and if there
were more good ones of the later type, then edges would be funded by
central investors, with payoffs flowing from the outside in.

If these regions were cut off from one another, then the evolutionary
arguments would apply to each one seperately. The arguments I cited
did not depend on the actual local growth rate available, so they
imply that both places would have careful Bayesians. And evolution
should also select for agents which choose to be on the inside or
outside based on expected growth rates in each place. In a population
dominated by such creatures, it wouldn't be obvious whether to head on
out against great odds and competition, or to be one of the few who
stay home.

Robin D. Hanson