Re: Mind Survival Strategies

Doug Bailey (
Mon, 9 Nov 1998 15:33:55 -0500

Robin Hanson wrote:

> My problem with this approach is that it seems to assume
> an unrealistic degree of individuality. You're going to
> have to wait more than a day to see if you do or don't
> like some new version of yourself. But if you wait a week
> or a month, then rejecting this new version becomes pretty
> expensive. This version has been interacting with the rest
> of the world, which is not going to be keen about backtracking
> all their interactions with you.

This is an interesting complication. However, I would consider it a small price to pay to ensure that my mind didn't embark on some completely undesirable path. The idea is similar to a conservative investment policy. Do you invest in government bonds (old mind review) or do you speculate on a unpredictable startup (say a prayer and start tinkering with your heuristics)?

> Consider that you will have close friends and associates,
> and they will be evolving with you. If you and a friend
> evolved together in a way you both like, but then an old you
> disapproves while an old her doesn't, do you revert or not?

This effect should be mitigated by the fact that both of your old minds will be evaluating your new minds. Given that you were friends prior to the day's changes, odds are you should only approve of minds that are platonically compatible. However, the whole arrangement adds new spice to the spectre of "growing apart". :)

> What about your co-workers and clients and customers? How often
> will they tolerate your not recalling interations with them?

Many ideas come to mind to mitigate these problems. You can have "rogue identity insurance" in case your new mind entered into an unsavory business deal. It should be possible to update the old mind with selected memories from the new mind without changing the old mind. A caveat though would be the memories would be configured by the perceptions of the new mind's perspective.

Another problem Robin's comments bring to mind are crimes committed by the new you that did not survive the review process. Would the old mind be accountable for the new mind's actions? It seems there would have to be some level of accountability on the part of the old mind for the new mind's actions or chaos would ensue. Perhaps there would be lesser punishments imposed on old minds for crimes committed by new minds.

> It seems to me that old version review has a place, but that
> one can't afford to invoke it very often, and that the cost
> of doing so increases with time, even though it probably takes
> some time to see what changes you like.

The cost would only increase to the extent that you view time as a commodity. If you have no definite objective where conserving time becomes crucial, but instead have the simple goal of improving your mind (higher intelligence, etc.) then the time lost is not as painful. The cost is further glossed when the review process is viewed as a mind survival strategy. Any cost becomes palatable when its objective is survival, exhibit A being present day health care costs.

Doug Bailey