onsdag 2 januari 2013

Pareto-improving utilitronium waves

A utilitronium shockwave is a hypothetical event in which every conscious mind in existence would be altered so that they will become as happy as possible in as short a time as possible. Actually, such a process would not only change every thought-pattern in the universe. It would also bring about the destruction of certain minds, perhaps every mind, and the creation of new minds from all physical matter that exist. It is a dream for radical utilitarians that want to end suffering right here and now, a wish for everyone to enjoy life at the fullest.

The utilitronium shockwave is usually thought of as following the normal ethical norms of hedonistic utilitarianism. Accordingly, the only thing to which it matters is total happiness. And thus, a utilitronium wave is instantenous; it's a shockwave, altering every mind in one swift movement, without regard for anyone's preferences such as a want for closure by grief, or a heart-felt rage.

There could be another utilitronium wave, however, one that is pareto-improving. A pareto-improving event or action is an event or action that improves the utility of someone without reducing the utility of anyone else. A pareto-improving utilitronium wave (PIUW) is therefore an event where every conscious being would increase their happiness by at least one point, while no ones pleasure would be reduced, and bring about a pareto-improving action (which could be a non-action, of course). Continuing PIUWs would increase utility over time and place.

PIUWs are significantly better than utilitronium shockwaves since the latter could have at least one normal utilitarian defect in its course and the former are purely ethical.

It also has some good social values. It's such a theoretically simple concept that any child can understand it perfectly, and any adult can spend hours, days or years trying to come up with excuses for social systems where its principles are broken every day, but anyone not blinded by their ideology can see when those principles are broken. (But, the first thing one does for one's ideology is to lie, of course.) It also has some certain implications about which forms a utilitarian future would look like, presenting it as a clearer picture - it's like what you would imagine a society would be if everyone would act justly.


Just to make sure, I did notice that the acronym for pareto-improving utilitronium wave, PIUW, has a rather childish touch to it - when repeated once in quick succession - or a somewhat boring touch to it, when pronounced just once.

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