Re: Why Not a Planet Of The Apes?

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 09:33:06 -0700 (PDT)

The Low Golden Willow writes:
>Proposal: most animals, for one reason or another, just aren't
>domesticable. ... If it takes 300 years to breed an animal to a
>useful state, who's going to keep at it for that long?

This is quite possible, but we don't really know it takes that long,
and new high tech might help speed things up.

>I see no reason to assume an AI, human-level or not, would be as
>intractable as most animals. (Apart from the non-existence problem
>right now.) You can perhaps imitate the neural structure of nice
>animals; you can have not built in nastiness in the first place; their
>structure can be directly modified to see what happens, rather than just
>breeding two animals with nice bloodlines and praying; and software AIs
>running on SuperHexium or CAM-arrays can be even more easily modified,
>or could be evolved at some speed.

Possibly. But this sounds a lot
like wishful thinking.

Curt Adams writes:
>Partly it's that we've tried and failed to replace humans with animals in the
>routine but abstract purposes we're discussing here (cleaning, caretaking,
>machine operation, etc.) We have a new possibility so we're giving it a go.
>It's worth a try.

I doubt if we've tried anywhere near as hard to domesticate smart primates
as we've spent on A.I. research.

Eric Watt Forste writes:

>If you want to talk about "domesticated primates" and the various
>social effects and ramifications this has, I recommend studying
>the history of human slavery.
>(Unless, that is, we take up Tony Csoka's excellent suggestion and
>begin discussing the economics of labor compensation for
>nonhuman primates... but that might become too speculative for any
>of us to be able to enjoyably suspend disbelief anymore.)

By "domestication" I meant getting the primates to understand and keep
the peace, so we needn't fear their presense. To trade instead of
steal, etc. I would very much want them to not be slaves, but to have
their own spaces, property, etc.

Robin D. Hanson