Re: sex (was The Extropian Principles)

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 24 Aug 1996 21:21:58 +0200 (MET DST)

On Fri, 23 Aug 1996, Eugene Leitl wrote:

> If you are interested in pleasure -- after a substrate change the entire
> R&P circuitry is open to you. Spending aeons in quivering pleasure or
> excruciating pain will be very easy, then. It is extremely
> straightforward to become a digital junkie (remember rat reward centre
> autoelectrostimulation experiments?).
> There are definitely grave dangers in running in a permanent wheel mode.

This is an important problem, and I think it is worth thinking of. How to
manage our brains when we can potentially rewrite them? Accidentally
reformatting our neural networks can be prevented by regular backups, but
what about entering bizarre motivational states (which are subjective,
and quite logical to the victim: "I *enjoy* chanting primes!")? Should we
help them?

> I doubt higher regions are too involved. It would be quite fascinating to
> do a PET/MEG imaging, while... erm.. in the act. I doubt such an
> experiment was ever undertaken, though. Science can be fun :)

I would very much like to see this experiment (or rather the data!). But I
think it would be quite hard to do; movement is limited in a scanner (the
head is fixed), but timing would be very hard; we might have to use a
rather long-lasting radioisotope, since I assume most participants would
find getting an injection during sex a slight turn-off. And to image the
activity during orgasm the scanner has to be started at the right moment -
the logistics is staggering. And to get noise-free, clean images we must
do this several times - where to get the volunteers? (OK, some are always
kinky enough, but that might be a bias).

As you can tell, I have pondered many kinds of unusual experiments with a
PET scanner. I want one! Another fun idea would be to study the minds of
very enlightened gurus, to see the physiology of mystic ecstasy (and are
their pineal glands as sclerotic as in normal people of the same age?).
And I want to see how dreams look - but imagine trying to sleep in a
scanner with your head fixed, while a nurse injects radioactive sugar and
your blood is slowly drained by a catheter to measure its radioactivity!

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y