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I don't agree with the premise that a surprise is more fun than the expected. I forget exactly where I read this but I've heard that women can have more fulfilling sexual experiences and/or stronger orgasms often when they know in advance that later in the day or week they will be having sex. So if the husband tells them "I'm coming home later and bringing the condoms" (or something, I'm not very imaginative at the moment) women can actually get more excited as the anticipation of having sex later actually makes receiving that sex all the more enjoyable. So, It may be that the anticipation of getting those skills further up the tree as you level is what makes that situation more fun than if you didn't have a clue what was coming and it just snuck up on you.

Perhaps the best world would be where one you wake up every morning and are told of the wonderful gift you'll be receiving that night before bed, -every- night before bed in fact. Maybe the AI can someday be the one to greet us before breakfast with a new amazing bedtime toy. Frankly I wouldn't mind such a world, though I would like to choose my "toy tree" and make sure I get fancy nanotech things with lots of blinking lights instead of apparel or jewelry.

Did anyone else find it interesting that Lanier seems to be distrusting of large-scale claims about how various macro-level systems (like consciousness, reality, economics) function, yet also seems to have a very clear view on who smart people would/should elect for president? According to him, they should elect the candidate [Obama] that is looking to take a more top-down command and control position on the economy (unless he doesn't realize this is Obama's position, or thinks its not 'really' his position, or something to that effect). He also seemed to support the notion that the current financial mess was caused largely by financial actors with overly simplistic models of the economy and of their financial position caused their troubles, yet he thinks politicians can do better in trying to model/control/calibrate the economic system as a whole?

Or the crevice breaks through the ground and into a thickly covered rain-forest. Low and below, as far and high as the eye can see, all is green with tree-cover.