Re: Review of "The Spike"

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 17:03:42 -0500

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> One thing I found in my neurochemistry reading is that choline
> supplementation to pregnant rats makes their children better at
> soliving spatial-memory tasks, apparently the choline has beneficial
> effects on the development of their memory system. Should human
> mothers supplement themselves with choline during pregnancy, even if
> we don't know the full effects of this on the children?

I'd be nervous. Algernon's Law - is choline hard to synthesize during
pregnancy? Why wouldn't it be supplied naturally? Are we sure that choline
isn't just activating one kind of memory which grows at the expense of others?

> Yes, it is strange, but sometimes I get the feeling that I don't
> exist as much when I'm not online, interacting with people. Must be
> that I have left too much of my mind on the net instead of my brain

I refer to the 'Net as my ELTM - Extended Long-Term Memory.

Once, my father accidentally destroyed a large section of my files, including
most of my old childhood work such as fourth-grade book reports. It felt
horrible, as if that part of my life had simply been obliterated. Human
memory is so mucky and fragile that we Information-Age types use computers as
"ontological stabilizers". (Which term I invented, on the fly, without
realizing it, in what had previously been an ordinary conversation. Man, did
I get a strange look...)

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.