All of Prakash's Comments + Replies

Hi Eli,

First, complements on a wonderful series.

Don't you think that this need for humans to think this hard and this deep would be lost in a post-singularity world? Imagine, humans plumbing this deep in the concept space of rationality only to create a cause that would make it so that no human need ever think that hard again. Mankind's greatest mental achievement - never to be replicated again, by any human.

I guess people then could still indulge in rationality practice, the way people do karate practice today, practice that for the majority of them, does... (read more)

You say that like it's a bad thing. Yes. those of us here in this particular online community enjoy thinking hard on tricky, dangerous subjects. There are also online communities of people who enjoy receiving painful electric shocks, or being mechanically immobilized for extended periods of time, or getting eaten alive. The vast majority of such humans, on the other hand, avoid such activities to the fullest extent that they are able. I look forward to a world in which the task of designing a friendly AI with the resources we have today is regarded as something like the achievements of Yogendra Singh Yadav, a world with challenges as far beyond our own understanding as public-key encryption is beyond cave paintings.

Hi Psy Kosh,

The souls you refer to in Buddhism are called Bodhisatvas. They are compassionate souls who instead of attaining Nirvana and ceasing their birth and death cycles choose to remain within those cycles to liberate others.

Taking inspiration from Mike Blume's point, how many human beings should have lived for there to be a reasonable chance say 75% that one of them is immortal in our universe?


For people who have a cryonics contract, or intend to get one in the future, fate may literally be hanging off a thin probability. The probability of a revival, maintaining sufficient memory continuity and of a subsequent life worth living are small. The reason that people go in for cryonics (even when the technology was not very advanced) was because small though the probability is, it is not zero. So, I would be very wary of using a epsilon = zero argument.

And about evolution, isn't it just a matter of time before we will be able to genetically work b... (read more)

I know I'll probably trigger a flamewar... But I actually don't think cryonics is worth the cost. You could be using that money to cure diseases in the Third World, or investing in technology, or even friendly-AI research if that's your major concern, and you almost certainly will achieve more good according to what I assume is your own utility function (as long as it doesn't value a 1/1 billion chance of you being revived as exactly you over say the lives of 10,000 African children). Also, transhumans will presumably judge the same way, and decide that it's not worth it to research reviving you when they could be working on a Dyson Sphere or something. Frankly, from what we know about cognitive science, most of the really useful information about your personality is going to disappear upon freezing anyway. You are a PROCESS, not a STATE; as such, freezing you will destroy you, unless we've somehow kept track of all the motions in your brain that would need to be restarted. (Assuming that Penrose is wrong and the important motions are not appreciably quantum. If quantum effects matter for consciousness, we're really screwed, because of the Uncertainty Principle and the no-cloning theorem.) Preserving a human consciousness is like trying to freeze a hurricane. TLDR with some rhetoric: I've seen too many frozen strawberries to believe in cryonics.


Examples where some lives might have to be sacrificed is placebo groups for potentially life saving drugs. If you don't have the placebo group, the efficacy of the medicine cannot be known for certain, putting lives of many people potentially at risk. But those in the placebo group are goners, for sure. Correct me if I am wrong.