• Spencer Lutz
    3
    Is there any intrinsic difference between our world and a simulated one (i.e. The Experience Machine)? I cannot think of any, so why do we not all want that? Is it just the status quo bias, or is there some other desire than pleasure that is keeping us from devoting all of our resources to the development of such a system?

    Just thinking about our future. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

  • Outlander
    475
    The idea would be one's real and one's not. Of course, you'd have to define real.

    Oh, well, if you can't think of any. Hm .. can't quite find an emoticon list for a smirk. Ah well. Probably for the best.

    Essentially, theology aside, whatever you call 'the Creator' be it an actual entity or millions of years of random evolution, is in control as opposed to just some guy sitting on a chair who might be having a bad day and decide to take it out on you. Though, some draw parallels between the two :D
  • Spencer Lutz
    3
    What if it was an artificial intelligence in control, which was designed to optimize your pleasure? Would there be any inherent disadvantage to living in such a simulation?
  • Outlander
    475


    Other than the fact it's not real? People can hack smartcars and pacemakers already. Let's assume it cannot be and yes it's just constant pleasure. Wouldn't you get bored? Like getting massaged all day. Yeah it feels good but the human brain (especially today) is wired for a diverse appetite so to say. Maybe I'm misinterpreting/assuming. Say this AI can do it all. Give us thrills (which naturally involve risk/fear [this is most important], pleasure both physical and mental, and satisfy every sense, need, want, and desire. Eh. Guess I'm biased as I do have a deep rooted religious conviction in my own.

    I want you to watch something for me if you can. "Twilight Zone - A Nice Place to Visit". And tell me what you think.
  • QuixoticAgnosticAccepted Answer
    33
    I think to enter the classical Experience Machine—where one steps in, doesn't know they're in it, is given artificially simulated experiences, and they never leaves—is to die.

    Your current self no longer has any connection to your future self in the machine. You won't have any memory of yourself, your experiences won't dictate your actions in the machine, where is the connection?

    As for why we don't rush to make such a machine, in my view, it's because maximal pleasure is not the aim, rather its minimal pain. You might say, "Well, isn't zero pain minimal? This machine would also reduce pain to zero as well as maximize pleasure, so we should still strive for it." However, I think local minimization of pain is the goal, not global. That is, we respond to the current inducers of harm and work to fix that rather than strive for grand solutions that will eliminate all.

    As a bonus food for thought, I believe the Experience Machine is mistaken. If we do want to construct it to minimize pain, then the goal isn't to simulate experience such that we don't feel negative things like a stubbed toe, rather it is to rewire our thinking such that we don't fear pain but embrace it. We still function such that we strive for survival, we strive for better lives and more pleasurable lives, but we accept the inevitable pain that comes with life. It's about perspective. It's about what's inside, not the outside impulses, that shape the harms and benefits of reality
  • Spencer Lutz
    3
    Thanks! This is pretty much what I was looking for. I've been seeing it only as maximizing pleasure.
  • Lindrosn
    9
    s there any intrinsic difference between our world and a simulated one (i.e. The Experience Machine)? I cannot think of any, so why do we not all want that? Is it just the status quo bias, or is there some other desire than pleasure that is keeping us from devoting all of our resources to the development of such a system?Spencer Lutz

    It seems that enormous resources are being devoted to it. Likely fully immersive VR boxes will be mass produced within 20 years and most people will be encouraged to spend their lives in them, creating a massive decrease in the human population - excepting if more overt means to eliminate and control people aren't implemented first. While most will probably prefer living in them with the large number of possible simulated lives that would be available, they probably won't be very good at allowing one to forget they're in one.
    Assume that one day a machine is made that could fool one, and that they are flawless both in design and in how they're maintained. There is still a good reasons to avoid them.
    All people continue from their own respective line of ancestors, and it's unlikely one can be anything but at constant conflict with oneself if one doesn't honor them in some way. They didn't just struggle to continue a line, but to continue a line of like-people in the face of those who'd integrate them into their own bloodlines and culture.
    Consider the drive to create modern technology, it's not something many have, rather many have drives that only lead to incidental involvement with it's creation. Look at the general impetus among larger world cultures as something accumulative, meaning not something associated with individual bloodlines. Therefore, modern technology can be seen as an imposition on one's bloodline. To live in a machine is one of the most subversive ways one can live in that regard, something antagonistic to honoring one's ancestors.
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