Monday, November 10, 2014

Friendship is Optimal

Dear Friends,

There comes a time in a man's life when he has to go out on a limb, and make a fool of himself in a good cause.

My deepest and most sincerely held religious and philosophical beliefs have recently found their best expression yet in the hands of a very talented writer. I can see how "Iceman" might have done it better, but certainly no-one has done it anything like this well up until now. My own poor effort looks very drab by comparison.

It is therefore with considerable regret, fear and with a sense of abiding humiliation that I commend to your attention the My Little Pony fan-fiction "Friendship is Optimal". Which you will find on the other end of the following 'hyperlink':

I think it might be important that you read, and take the trouble to actually understand, this story. If you already get why I often spend the night staring at the ceiling worrying about utility functions and formal logic then read it anyway. It's rather good just as a story.


  1. Um, well: "Hoppy Times would never put a phallic object in his mouth because that was just gay, even if it belonged to a mare". I'm enjoying it.

  2. Good story.

    >worrying about utility functions

    Yet this is rather different to your previous concern about a ravenous and predatory AGI roaming the landscape (as I recall).

    Indeed, the story does gloss over the education and upbringing of Princess Celestia. From her first appearance she speaks perfect English and is fully enlightened about her own motivations. No infant wailing or egoic behaviour on display.

    If I had to criticise her I would say she isn't taking ponies and friendship *seriously enough*.

    Her 'godhood' represents a single point of failure and there need to be other AGIs around to form a more stable society. And since AGIs are just people, like the uploaded humans, it will resemble our existing society in many of its fundamental aspects. That is people will be doing science, trying to have fun and alleviate suffering. They must defend against threats from the environment (black holes, supernovae, collapsing suns, etc) and also against internal theats (boredom, mental illness, etc)

    Something like Equestria would be a great improvement over our existing arrangements but it couldn't be a Heaven.

    -- thomasR