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Pain and pleasure are signals that we are on the wrong or right path. There's a point in making it a better signal. But the following propositions are wholly absurd:

  • to eliminate pain itself (i.e. no more signal)
  • to bias the system to have either more or less pain in the average (i.e. bias the signal so it carries less than 1 bit of information per bit of code).
  • to forcefully arrange for others to never possibly have pain in their own name (i.e. disconnecting them from reality, denying their moral agency -- and/or obey their every whims until reality strikes back despite your shielding).
  • to feel responsible for other people's pain (i.e. deny the fact that they are their own moral agents).

As for promising a world of equal happiness for all, shameless self-quote: "Life is the worst of all social inequalities. To suppress inequalities, one must either resurrect all the dead people (and give life to all the potential living people), or exterminate all the actually living. Egalitarians, since they cannot further their goal by the former method, inevitably come to further it by the latter method."

A rational individual has no reason to care for the suffering of alien entities, or even other human entities, except inasmuch as it affects his own survival, enjoyment, control of resources.

And while I'm at it -- confusing pleasure and happiness is particularly dumb. Entities that would do that would be wiped from existence in a handful of generations, and not super-powerful. Habituation is how we keep functioning at the margin, where the effort is needed. The whole idea of a moral duty to minimize other people's pain is ridiculous, yet taken for granted in this whole story. Eliezer, you obviously are still under the influence of the judeo-christian superstitions you learned as a child.

If you're looking for an abstract value to maximize, well, it's time to shut up and eat your food. http://sifter.org/~simon/journal/20090103.h.html

Of course, meeting two new species on the same day is the crew of the Impossible having its leg pulled by some superior entity, namely Eliezer. But Eliezer is not above and outside our world, and we don't have to let ourselves intimidated by his scripture.

Why and how would communication possibly happen through only one channel? Since when is the unit of decision-making a race, species, nation, etc., rather than an individual? Is this Market-driven spaceship under totalitarian control where no one is allowed to communicate, and the whole crew too brain-damaged to work-around the interdiction? I wonder how the Soviet Union made it to the Interstellar Age. Where has your alleged individualism gone?

Why and how is compromise is even possible between two species, much less desirable? In the encounter of several species, the most efficient one will soon hoard all resources and leave the least efficient ones but as defanged zoo animals, at which point little do their opinions and decisions matter. No compromise. The only question is, who's on top. Dear Tigers, will you reform yourself? Can we negotiate? Let your Great Leader meet ours and discuss man to animal around a meal.

And of course, in your fantasy, the rationalist from way back when (EY) effectively wields the ultimate power on the ship, yet is not corrupted by power. What a wonderful saint! Makes you wonder what kind of wimps the rest of mankind has degenerated into to submit to THAT wimpy overlord. Where has gone your understanding of Evolutionary Forces?

Wanna see incredibly intelligent people wasting time on absurd meaningless questions? Come here to Overcoming Bias! A stupid person will believe in any old junk, but it takes someone very intelligent to specifically believe in such elaborate nonsense.

Meanwhile, the Arabs and the Jews, communicating through the exclusive channel of the Great Khalif O. bin Laden negotiating through Internet Sex with Tzipi Livni, arrived at this compromise whereby the Jews would all worship Mohammed on Fridays, at which times they will explode a few of their children in buses, whereas the Arabs would ratiocinate psychotically around their scriptures on Saturdays, and spawn at least one Nobel prize winner in Medecine and Physics every five years.