A reply to Thomas Metzinger’s BAAN thought experiment

This is a reply to Metzinger’s essay on Benevolent Artificial Anti-natalism (BAAN), which appeared on EDGE.org (7.8.2017). Metzinger invites us to consider a hypothetical scenario where smarter-than-human artificial intelligence (AI) is built with the goal of assisting us with ethical deliberation. Being superior to us in its understanding of how our own minds function, the […]

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Altruists Should Prioritize Artificial Intelligence

We can expect smarter-than-human artificial intelligence (AI) to be better than humans at self-preservation and goal preservation. If we want our actions to have an influence on the very long-term future, we should consider focusing on outcomes with AI.

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The Case for Suffering-Focused Ethics

“Suffering-focused ethics” is an umbrella term for moral views that place primary or particular importance on the prevention of suffering. Most views that fall into this category are pluralistic in that they hold that other things beside suffering reduction also matter morally. To illustrate the diversity within suffering-focused ethics as well as to present a convincing case for it, this article will introduce four separate motivating intuitions.

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Tranquilism

What makes an experience valuable or disvaluable? In contrast to hedonism, which holds that pleasure is what is good and pain is what is bad, tranquilism is an “absence of desire” theory that counts pleasure as instrumentally valuable only. According to tranquilism, what matters is whether an experience is free from bothersome components. States of contentment such as flow or meditative tranquility also qualify.

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Reducing Risks of Astronomical Suffering:
A Neglected Priority

Will we go extinct, or will we succeed in building a flourishing utopia? Discussions about the future trajectory of humanity often center around these two possibilities, which tends to ignore that survival does not always imply utopian outcomes, or that outcomes where humans go extinct could differ tremendously in how much suffering they contain.

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Identifying Plausible Paths to Impact and their Strategic Implications

FRI’s research seeks to identify the best intervention(s) for suffering reducers to work on. Rather than continuing our research indefinitely, we will eventually have to focus our efforts on an intervention directly targeted at improving the world. This report outlines plausible candidates for FRI’s “path to impact” and distills some advice on how current movement building efforts can best prepare for them.

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