From firstname.lastname@example.org Sat Jun 3 22:55:02 1995 From: "Carl Feynman"
Subject: uploading, rationality, critiques X-Extropian-Date: Remailed on June 4, 375 P.N.O. [01:48:00 UTC]
"Another shortcomong that I've found with some extropians, seems to be their notion that advanced intelligence will really be just a more rigorous, faster, and more efficient form of rationality. ... "
It seems to me that thinking about our future minds as being "more rational" that our present ones is correct, for the following reason. The innate structure of our brain (or architecture of our mind, or "human nature"-- all the same thing) is shared with our Stone Age ancestors. It's a highly evolved mechanism for gathering food, not getting lost in the woods, raising children, getting along with our neighbors, etc. For such activites, you don't need rationality very much. But for dealing with absolutely novel activites, ones evolution has not prepared us for, we have to use tools like statistics, mathematics, legal codes, logical analysis-- all the things that come under the heading of `rationality'.
I don't use reason to decide when to make love to my wife, how to play with my daughter, or where to put my hand to catch a thrown ball. I just do what feels right, and it works, and I am filled with joy. But I do need reason to decide when to rebalance my portfolio, how to debug a C++ program, or where to point a satellite dish to catch a broadcast. As the onward rush of civilization removes us from the environment to which our heredity has adapted us, the guidance of joy must yield to the guidance of reason.
I hope that our impending abilities to modify ourselves can make us better adapted to a world in which novelty is incessant, and thus in which reason is essential. Surely there is some way for us to be both more rational and more joyful.