Assume for the time being that it will forever remain beyond the scope of science to change Human Nature. AGI is also impossible, as is Nanotech, BioImmortality, and those things.
Douglas Adams mice finished their human experiment, giving to you, personally, the job of redesigning earth, and specially human society, according to your wildest utopian dreams, but you can't change the unchangeables above.
You can play with architecture, engineering, gender ratio, clothing, money, science grants, governments, feeding rituals, family constitution, the constitution itself, education, etc... Just don't forget if you slide something too far away from what our evolved brains were designed to accept, things may slide back, or instability and catastrophe may ensue.
Finally, if you are not the kind of utilitarian that assigns exactly the same amount of importance to your desires, and to that of others, I want you to create this Utopia for yourself, and your values, not everyone.
The point of this exercise is: The vast majority of folk not related to this community that I know, when asked about an ideal world, will not change human nature, or animal suffering, or things like that, they'll think about changing whatever the newspaper editors have been writing about last few weeks. I am wondering if there is symmetry here, and folks from this community here do not spend that much time thinking about those kinds of change which don't rely on transformative technologies. It is just an intuition pump, a gedankenexperiment if you will. Force your brain to face this counterfactual reality, and make the best world you can given those constraints. Maybe, if sufficiently many post here, the results might clarify something about CEV, or the sociology of LessWrongers...
Leave stuff like ratios of reproductive sex alone; I don't think this is a direct obstacle to something people'd recognize as a utopia.
Divide the Earth up by ecoregions. Extensive surveys of natural resources, landforms, biomes, economically-significant species, ecosystem-provided services, existing human use and infrastructure, so on. "Urban" counts as a biome here.
Priority technologies to research, develop and deploy as universally-accessible things:
-Passive or solar-charged night-vision glasses. This is to reduce the need for artificial electric lighting at night; its creation was a real game-changer, but the energy consumption is extreme.
-A reversible, safe, efficient oral contraceptive for folks with danglybits. This is to be paired with widespread distribution of existing birth-control methods.
-Dump tons of money into research for efficient hydrogen-fuelled and electric transport; also kick off a nuclear renaissance with an emphasis on modern design and organizing/management principles without the neglect incentives currently possessed by private industrial NPOs. Expand supplemental renewables production. Every continent gets an elevated high-speed rail ne... (read more)
If I can't rewire animals brains to stop suffering, screw it. Pave over every forest and jungle and other natural habitat on the Earth. Drive every animal species extinct but us (save pets people want to keep). Find a plant species that can generate oxygen and food without being pollinated by insects. (algae, maybe?) Also, save dolphins and great apes, who I would probably count as people, rather than "pseudo-people," like other animals, construct luxurious habitats for them. Find some way to limit their population besides Malthusian scarcity (sterilization of most adults, probably).
Get rid of religions, try and make everyone as wealthy as possible, try and invent drugs that don't screw up your brain that much but still feel awesome, make sure they are (obviously legal) and widely available. Eliminate every communicable disease, including STDs. Invent some kind of male-usable birth control. Eliminate nudity and sex taboos, and hold enormous public orgies every day, convince Eliezer Yudkowsky that the singularity is not gonna happen and he should spend all day writing HPMOR.
It still amazes me how many people read Brave New World and think Huxley's dystopia sounds like Utopia.
But Brave New World is not history. It's fiction.
I read the plot summary on Wikipedia. It looks like what is wrong with Brave New World is not present in my utopia. I don't want to dumb people down or physically weaken them as they develop, I don't want to brainwash them. I don't want everyone believing "'ending is better than mending' or 'more stiches less riches'" I don't want to get rid of families, and have the very concept be considered "pornographic." I don't want spending time alone to be frowned upon. I don't want people to die at age 60, having been conditioned that it's not a bad thing because they have no family and no one will mourn them. I don't want everyone locked into a single job by brainwashing for their entire lives. I don't want Shakespeare (or any literature) banned. I also don't want a caste system.
Also, soma doesn't sound like the kind of drug I was imagining, it sounds from the plot summary like it takes away your emotions and is used to quell riots. I'm thinking more like "crack, minus addiction and brain damage, and imprecision in dosing. (maybe some other downsides I missed, because I am not that knowledgeable about drugs)"
O... (read more)
Because I think the average wild animal life is worse than nonexistence, and there are quite a lot of them enduring such lives.
Depending on the extent of my god mode, I'd either reorganize the planet into a planetary transportation government and regional city-states - the planetary transportation government runs an intercontinental rail system that connects every city-state and enforces with overwhelming military might (provided by feudal grants from city states) only one right, that of emigration (not immigration; city states can refuse to permit people to stay within their borders, they're simply forbidden from preventing people from leaving).
Or, if I'm playing full god mode, I... (read more)
Well, within the constraints of human nature, some societies seem to have much higher levels of trust than others; in some communities you can leave your doors unlocked while you leave your home for a vacation, in others people take practically feudal levels of fortification to feel safe from their neighbors. Crank up the levels of trust and transparency and bring as much of the world as is sustainable to a first world standard of living and you may have the best we could do with present day technology.
Lack of transformative technologies pretty much preclu... (read more)
What is the evidence that we have any idea at all about the contents of the social / normative limits our brains are able to accept?
When I first started thinking about politics, what struck me most is that idealists all had the same goal. People living in tight-knit communities, though free to leave; spontaneously sharing and cooperating in everyday life; working lightly to meet their needs, then devoting themselves to fulfilling, usually collective projects in their copious leisure time; swords hammered into plows, yadda yadda. The obvious flaw is that anyone slightly more selfish immediately ruins the system. There's also coordination problems, where you can collect five of your frie... (read more)
If changing human nature or building AGI is impossible, we could still explore how close we can get to this. Research the most efficient form of education and group cooperation. Research the most powerful forms of non-general artificial intelligence, design better expert systems, etc. These things could still be enough meta to influence many other aspects of human life.
Instead of nanotech, we could improve other forms of automated technology. Even without the ability to manipulate atoms, building things automatically from very small (but greater than nano-... (read more)
I vaguely object to the common practice of soliciting responses, and implying that the results will/may be meaningful, without simultaneously precommitting to a particular mapping of raw results to inferred meaning. (The precommitment can be done while keeping the mapping secret, by using a hash algorithm.)
Okay, I'll bite:
0) I'm not sure it's best that anyone exist at all, but for the sake of a post let's assume they should.
1) Assuming the resources (which seem to be implied in the ability to change the gender ratio in the first place) nix men entirely. I'm probably more skeptical than the average LWer that traditionally male pathologies are inherent to my sex, but there's a decent chance I'm wrong about that, so there's that. More importantly this gives public institutions veto power over the creation of new people in a way that isn't bodily intrusive.
2) Pe... (read more)
We have probably barely tapped human potential in terms of education, dissemination of best practices, physical training, mental training, rationality training, diet, and drugs. These could make huge inroads into mental illness, motivation, learning, and thereby mental health and productivity.
I love it when someone asks the community for creative ideas. They're always interesting.
Without the possibility of technologic advancement, I don't really feel that utopia is a worthwhile goal. Every version just feels like stagnation, which bothers me. I don't see much point in life if everything's all planned out.
And any plan we could propose would eventually fall out of fashion unless measures were taken to prevent societal change. Some configurations are more preferable than others, sure, but in the end the deal is radical, unprecedented change, cy... (read more)
Many of the utopias from the golden age of science fiction (long before nanotech) had recognisable humans, who were not immortal and whose robots were good butlers, at best. While for the sake of plot they generally had faster than light travel, that isn't actually a requirement for the human species to spread out to the stars.
If you'll grant sub-light interstellar travel, then all these become possible. Let groups bid on planets, set a pre-requisite that the group survive in a bio-sphere for 3 generations, as a test to see if their proposed society is s... (read more)
*Reads limitations closely*
So super-MRI's and super-computers are fair game? That is fairly mundane tech. Then it only takes some fairly mundane tinkering with micro-neuro-anatomy to make uploads.
Make humans more able to do stuff. More true to what humans want, for better or for worse. This ranges from more convenient biology to more convenient epistemological and motivational psychology.
Everybody is a bayesian genius with a perfect body who lives to be 200+ years old.
1. Take apart the earth, use it to build a fleet of smaller habitats that make use of the materials to generate maximum sustainable habitat space.
2. Distribute these habitats into combinations of nature preserve biomes, agricultural systems and urban centers.
3. All habitats should be given sufficient technological infrastructure to power all their life support with some extra. All habitats should have internet capabilities and backup stores of all human knowledge.
4. Redistribute the population of earth into their preferred habitat with the kinds of people ... (read more)
A possibility worth investigating.
Of course, the idea that there could ever be one utopia is an absurdity. People have different values and preferences and thrive under different circumstances. It is clear that Less Wrongers do not understand this, and therefore they should not be in the Utopia-business in the first place.
The people's nature will evolve anyway. As everything else. Having many billion people alive means, our genome acquires new bits every day. A fast biological evolution from now on, would just happen anyway.
During this time, I see no utopias possible. At least not for a longer time.
Human life, as life on Earth, is boring/pointless without the Singularity, from my point of view.
Sometimes I ask my postmodernist friend, who rejects and is horrified by the techno rapture of any kind, what is HIS utopia?
A better care for the nature, a lot of (Slovenian) culture ... then I am horrified!
Yes. No SAI, no nanotech, no Galaxy transformation .. makes me sick.