8 Comments
Dec 28, 2023Liked by Paul Bloom

Thanks for sharing your musings and Happy New Year.

Thought some more about the experience machine and concluded that some critical info is missing. Is the machine run by God (sign me up) or by a crypto financed AI startup based in Kazakhstan (no thank you) ?

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by Paul Bloom

Happy holidays, and other days, to you and yours, Professor.

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023Liked by Paul Bloom

https://nautil.us/the-happiest-man-in-the-world-430288/

This seems (which I found via Ted Goia, https://substack.com/inbox/post/138976189) seems relevant to the Experience Machine discussion.

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by Paul Bloom

Thank you for SmallPotatoes, the first substack I subscribed to and read! And to psychology’s best storyteller, a belated happy birthday!!

As to the title question, my tentative answer: Yes if it can still make a difference; no if it’s moot. (And my partner disagrees: Yes because “if those who love you don’t, who will?”).

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023Liked by Paul Bloom

The notion of life as an Experience Machine reminds me of something that takes place in Andrei Tarkovsky's wonderful film Stalker (1979). This science-fiction film concerns a man who helps pilgrims navigate their way past soldiers and other threats to reach a mystical shrine in what amounts to a garbage dump where they can have their deepest wish fulfilled (which may not be what they think is their deepest wish). Near the end of the film, when the stalker has returned home, his wife looks into the camera and says that she was warned not to marry her husband, but she did so anyway because she wanted to live a life with both sadness and joy (rather than a drab life where nothing happens), and he has been able to give her this experience. It's a truly moving scene, and gives way to what may be an even more moving scene that suggests our knowledge of cause-and-effect is limited.

Expand full comment

My problem with the Experience Machine is my partner. If she could also get into an experience machine, and my experience machine faked more time with her, then yeah, I'd do it. But not if I'd be leaving her behind, alone in the "real" world.

Expand full comment