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April 06, 2008



Off topic, but I thought you might be interested in a piece on "brain-doping": http://reason.com/blog/show/125906.html


It seems like Eliezer wrote this just for you.

Hopefully Anonymous

TGGP, elaborate how it addresses my concerns regarding discernment technology and maintenance of my subjective conscious experience? I don't read him as going much beyond:

1. Maintaining subjective conscious experience doesn't seem to be the same as maintaining all the same particles, etc. of a subjective conscious entity.
2. If you drop an anvil on a subjectively conscious human, such that you scramble their brains and they're unable to proclaim that they're a subjectively conscious human, there's a good chance they may no longer be experiencing a subjective conscious state.

I don't think I've expressed a condradictory stance regarding either position. Though I think it's in my interest for thought on both of these ideas (and other related ideas) to be fleshed out further, to maximize my persistence odds rationally.

Hopefully Anonymous

I just realized that I seem to want to maximize my persistence odds more than almost anyone I know. Perhaps, perhaps, with the possible exception of Aubrey de Gray.

I wonder to what degree this constitutes evidence that I'm the only one in apparent reality actually alive. Or possibly, one of only two people in apparent reality actually alive (the other being Aubrey).

An alternate theory is that the relatively numerous people doing better at effectively maximizing their persistence odds than Aubrey and I are also alive and just doing so more nontransparently than us, possibly for rational, persistence-maximizing reasons (for example, perhaps James Simon and Sergey Brin are at least equally focused on maximizing their persistence odds).


actually alive
What does that mean?

Aubrey de Gray
I think he stated that he's too old for life-extensions, so he's altruistically working on behalf of the young and possibly immortal generation.

Hopefully Anonymous

TGGP, Aubrey could be a big fat liar, just like we all know you are. :P

as for what "actually alive" means, here I'm using it to mean actually experiencing things from a subjective vantage point. As opposed to being a hallucination, a hollow simulation (enough to consistently fool observers such as myself, not enough to actually have its own subjective experiences), an implanted memory, or even something made up and inserted in the media, with some creative writing and models for pictures (I haven't met most of the people I've heard about or seen in media).

Hopefully Anonymous

Some relevant recent books on the topic of consciousness (the 2nd one looks particularly interesting, and calls consciousness one of the most challenging current areas for scientific exploration).


That there's this type of work going on causes me to feel a bit more justified in my skepticism of those who blithely dismiss interest in the subjective conscious experience as "believing in souls" or an exploration of nonsense.


Aubrey could be a big fat liar, just like we all know you are
I'm not going to claim to be compulsively honest, but I don't recall ever admitting to lying or being transparent in it online. I realize that your remark might have been nothing more than a joke, but in the off-chance it isn't I'm curious as to where I slipped up.

As opposed to being a hallucination, a hollow simulation (enough to consistently fool observers such as myself, not enough to actually have its own subjective experiences)
According to Nick Bostrum, there is a good chance you are already an example of the latter.

an implanted memory
In a sense aren't all our memories implanted by our environment through an imperfect instrument (the brain)? I suppose the difference between the norm and "implanted memories" (I don't know if they have ever existed, so I am thinking of fictional examples) is like the difference between something being created by natural selection or intelligent design. Of course the boundary between an organism and an environment is a vague one with extended phenotypes and all, and in some sense human beings can be just as much a product of human-directed breeding as dogs.

Confirmation bias is common. Perhaps you should feel a bit more justified, but I wouldn't say by much.

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