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Happiness Reduced

Eliezer Yudkowsky posted the following as part of a comment on this essay by Robin Hanson:

Happiness is a legacy of a reinforcement architecture that existed before brains were powerful enough to implement general cross-domain consequentialism. A reinforcer is a crude approximation of the abstract knowledge that a particular category of activities is likely to lead to terminal value achievement.

In short, happiness is a legacy and only creatures with the luxury for legacies will implement it. Memories of the distant irrelevant past are a luxury – even if you have them stored somewhere, you wouldn’t recall them unless necessary. Storytelling is a luxury.


Thanks to Eric Boyd for the link to the Overcoming Bias essay.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
venusflytrap
Oct. 1st, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
i liked the essay a lot.
kmo
Oct. 2nd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
I did too.

I hope to read it again in a few days. I'm at the library now. I might just print it out and take it home with me.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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