Re: Evolved Preferences

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 28 Apr 1997 12:11:07 -0700 (PDT)

I wrote:
>As we become better at exchanging information in ways other than via
>sexual reproduction, it seems the longer time-horizon of asexual
>reproduction should win out. This suggests a future of very patient
>risk-averse asexual Bayesians, in contrast to the impatient optimistic
>risk-taking young males who dominate science fiction.

"Peter C. McCluskey" responded:
>Asexual reproduction has always been possible for DNA. DNA has evolved
>the more expensive sexual reproduction because it produces better
>adaptation. I haven't seen any reason to think that a permanent change
>to this principle is about to happen (although short term fluctuations
>in the ratio of asexual to sexual reproduction are likely as new reproduction
>mechanisms are tried).

There are two recent trends, both of which favor asexual reproduction:

1) Until recently, organisms have had very little occasion to make
long-term investments other than children. So the investment benefit
of asexual reproduction has been moot. But now humans do have to
choose between "consuming" their own ability to have more children
now, and investing toward their children's ability to have more
children later.

2) Until recently, orgnisms have had very little effective means to
communicated information about how to build better organims, other than
via sexual reproduction. Now humans can exchange culture and memes,
and and uploads & A.I.s may be able to buy and sell new designs for
their componenets and new knowledge on a truely vast scale. Sexual
reproduction won't be needed to exchange this information.

Robin D. Hanson