Popular religions suggest extrapolated volition is non-existence and wireheading

I’m not sure if this is in­sight­ful enough to share here, but I’ll try any­way.

A fair amount of won­der­ing has been done about how FAI could figure out what hu­mans ac­tu­ally want. A school of thought says per­sua­sively that what we say we want is not what we ac­tu­ally want, so what we re­ally want has to be ex­trap­o­lated.

If we take the end-game promises of pop­u­lar re­li­gions at face value, it oc­curs to me that Bud­dhism promises some­thing be­tween non-ex­is­tence and wire­head­ing (nir­vana—“to blow out”), while Chris­ti­an­ity promises wire­head­ing (eter­nal bliss—heaven). I am not fa­mil­iar enough with other re­li­gions to make state­ments about them.

In my anec­do­tal ex­pe­rience, it seems to me ra­tio­nal­ists are quick to dis­miss wire­head­ing and non-ex­is­tence as de­sir­able pos­si­bil­ities. We ex­pe­rience this grasp­ing de­sire to live, cre­ate, dis­cover, and ex­pe­rience. We’re not sure to what end, but we feel this in­de­scrib­able zest, and we’re con­vinced it’s go­ing to be great.

Look at peo­ple get­ting men­tal or­gasms from Elon Musk launch­ing a car into space. What­ever prob­lems you have, space ex­plo­ra­tion is not go­ing to solve them, and if your life is in har­mony, you don’t need space ex­plo­ra­tion. And yet there’s this pal­pable zest about an un­spo­ken im­pli­ca­tion… That per­haps an age of dis­cov­ery is dawn­ing, an age of ad­ven­ture, an age of tran­scend­ing our pre­sent prob­lems and tack­ling larger ones. An age of be­ing awe­some.

There’s a type of per­son that feels this zest, and this type is not a ma­jor­ity. The me­dian per­son on Earth is con­fused by the world. They be­lieve in things like Je­sus Christ, and they press on in hope that ad­her­ing to di­v­ine guidance while they at­tempt to sur­vive the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of life will be re­warded with not hav­ing to do this again. To such a per­son, the sight of two metal me­te­ors de­scend­ing from the sky with loud sonic booms, ig­nit­ing en­g­ines and land­ing in syn­chrony does not nec­es­sar­ily in­spire awe or en­thu­si­asm as much as con­fu­sion and ter­ror.

We, the few, are the seek­ers of some­thing we can­not de­scribe, and most of us find it hard to iden­tify with the mind­set of the me­dian in­di­vi­d­ual. The me­dian in­di­vi­d­ual does not want the ex­cite­ment we seek, they just want an end… a re­lease.

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