Modifying yourself to want bad things is wrong in the same sense that the bad things are wrong in the first place...
I definitely agree with this, and have even written about it previously. Maybe my problem is that I feel like “find the best values to pursue” is itself a human value, and then the right-or-wrong-value question becomes the what-values-win question.
Thank you! Carl Shulman’s post still seems written from the some-values-are-just-better-than-others perspective that’s troubling me, but your 2009 comment is very relevant. (Despite future-you having issues with it.)
The question “which values, if any, we should try to preserve” you wrote in that comment is, I think, the crux of my issue. I’m having trouble thinking about it, and questions like it, given my “you can’t talk about what’s right, only what wins” assumption. I can (try to) think about whether a paperclip maximizer or The Culture is more likely to overrun the galaxy, but I don’t know how say that one scenario is “better”, except from the perspective of my own values.
I would argue that the concept of value drift (meaning “a change in human values from whatever they are currently”) isn’t really sensible to talk about. Here’s a reductio argument to that effect: Avoiding bad value drift is as important as solving value alignment: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TDA9vHBT7kN9oJ69-MEtbXZ_GiAGk3aRhLXFgkLv8XM/edit?usp=sharing
It’s hard to compare values on their “goodness”. I prefer to think of them as phenotypes and compare them on their adaptive benefits to agents that hold them. After all, it doesn’t really matter what’s right: it matters what wins.