In light of all of the talk about AI, utility functions, value alignment etc. I decided to spend some time thinking about what my actual values are. I encourage you to do the same (yes both of you). Lower values on the list are less important to me but not qualitatively less important. For example some of value 2 is not worth an unbounded amount of value 3. The only exception to this is value 1 which is in fact infinitely more important to me than the others.

  1. Life- If your top value isn't life then I don't know what to say. All the other values are only built off of this one. Nothing matters if you are dead. Call me selfish but I have always been sympathetic to Ayn Rand whenever she used the term "giving life away" to describe altruism.
  2. Preservation and improvement of the body and mind- I value my body because it allows me to navigate the world. Without it I would feel like a vegetable. I value my mind because I value being able to understand and manipulate the world around me using my cognition. I am deeply opposed to ideas of Utilitronium unless there are versions of it that preserve cognition that I am unaware of. I don't want to be drugged out even if I am happy.
  3. Pleasure/Wealth- Yes I have made the grave error of bundling these 2 together. At least before a civilization reaches utopia (or doom) it seems like currency is a general technology that you would find in most civilizations. I like all the little things (and the big things) money can buy. I wont shy away from admitting it either.
  4. Adventure/ Novelty. - I often think that a utopia would get boring (though I realize that boredom itself can be engineered out of the human mind). I think I would like a narrative for how my life is evolving rather than just a garden to be fed grapes in. I want there to be different things that happen on the adventure. I don't mind certain experiences being like 50% total of time spent that I value such as eating, sex and combat. I once again make the error of bundling these values because no adventure is complete without novelty and novelty is tasteless unless it follows some sort of narrative.
  5. Freedom- Should I feel ashamed for ranking this so low ? Men are often told they should value their freedom over their life. I just ... don't ... feel that way ? Lets get one thing straight. I am here to tell you about my preferences and values. You don't have any right to snub your nose at them. My intuition pump for this is just if someone offered me to trade my life for an in game character that had all the values higher than this one but whose life followed a script unknown to him, would I trade this life for that ? .... Yeh I guess I would. There's also the whole no free will thing so I have never believed in true freedom anyway.
  6. Truth- If you need to stop reading this degeneracy at this point I will understand. I think I don't care if my (non existent) wife actually loves me. I think if I was convinced she did that would be good enough for me. Yes truth like freedom is usually at the top of many other people's list. But not mine. I don't care that much and that's the truth.


I don't imagine I will actually live to see a utopian world where I can do anything other than live with constantly frustrated values but I thought it might be fun to write this anyway. So what are your values ?

New Comment
1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

I made guesses about my values a while ago, here.