sex, yet again ~%6 (was Re: ; - )Neanderthal Miracles)

Eugene Leitl (
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 13:39:22 +0100 (MET)

On Mon, 4 Nov 1996, Max More wrote:

> At 04:02 PM 11/4/96 +0100, 'gene wrote:
> >[ upload sex is obsolete! ]
> >Once the entire background situation changes qualitatively, sex is obsolete.
> In an evolutionary sense, probably. But already sex is used mostly for
> pleasure and self-expression, not procreation. Making a universal statement
> like "sex is obsolete" requires you to make more of an argument. Why should

Some argumentation is required, agreed. (though I consider the fact being
quite obvious).

> everyone stop having sex (in whatever future form) just because *you* don't
> see it as worthwhile in your future life? Would you do away with all other

Alas, I don't think I (nor anybody else) will have much to say in the
matter, at least not for long... Mind ecologies will have their own
dynamics, impose its own set of constraints upon its denizens -- whether
they like it or not.

> pleasurable and expressive activities if they are not tied to survival or
> material gain (if these are the values you see as central for uploads)?

I don't think the uploads will be able to afford conventional (simulated
flesh) sex much longer. If we assume resources to be limited (unless
computation can be detached from the material carrier and we start
engineering our designer universes) _and_ we admit Darwinian evolution in
(it will be impossible to keep him out, I'm afraid -- notice that this
automagically introduces some form of death, or do we speak Lamarckian
evolution here, where mutation leaves the organism altered, but alive-o?),
we'll wind up having scarce resources, more sooner than later. Some of them
being time (attention devoted, etc), computation, whatever.

Burning computational resources for body dynamics, fakespace renderers,
etc. might become too costly, once entire system matter has been
converted into a Dyson shell computer (very soon, <<1 kYr), and this
mind substrate dish populated sufficiently densely (much faster, <<1 Yr).

> Rather than saying "sex is obsolete" in the changed conditions of the
> future, I think it more reasonable to say that sex will be optional. We will

Please observe the caveat in the original post. If we have sexual
autoreplication (chimaeric offspring generated from two or more
contributors), we will have a form of sex. Since I (extremely
unscientifically) conjecture we'll stick with emotions, the act will be
probably emotionally loaded (since emotions probably cause us to act at

> be able to choose whether, when, how much, and with regard to who/what we
> feel sexual urges. Becoming posthuman to me means not abolishing everything
> about being human (though somethings may be good to abolish) but making them
> a matter of choice, and being able to refine them.

As I said, the substrate is different, yet it still has its constraints.
Maybe, as Anders once said, we'll keep our olfactory bulbs & Co, as a
fundament for otherwise streamlined structures... I do not know.

> Max
> [...]