Re: Mind machines, a badly neglected topic? (Was: Re: Mind

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 02 Nov 1998 09:19:16 -0800

John Clark writes:
> >Imagine a machine that you just put on your head ... that
> >gives you instant, safe pleasure like you've never felt before.
>That could be the explanation of the Fermi Paradox, the reason we can't
>find any ET's. If it were possible to change your emotions to anything
>you wanted, alter modes of thought, radically change your personality, swap
>your goals as well as your philosophy of life at the drop of a hat it would
>be very dangerous. Once you change yourself you may not want to change back,
>even if your behavior became bizarre or suicidal.

Out of the total great filter factor of ~10^20+, I find it hard to believe that this could explain even a factor of 10. Sure I can imagine large fractions of the population typically succumbing to this, but would the fraction be so big that for 9/10 planets it completely destroys the civilization, so that no other civilization as advanced appears on the same planet for at least a billion yrs?

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614