Aug 10, 2022 10:35 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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...the sections that don't say "folklore"? Or they could go to a non-Wikipedia reference, though those tend to be more specialist so they would need to decide if they're looking for one about animals like this kind of dolphin or some other kind.

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Right then. What's Oikos Wildlife? It apparently has human-unusual goals.

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Oikos Wildlife is a panuniversal ecology management and restoration interest group! (There is almost certainly no folklore about them, so she'll just go to the Wikipedia page about them with this convenient link, and skip the "in popular culture" section.) They take donations and are mostly though not entirely staffed by volunteers. They have preserves on various planets, plus Oikosia, which is in Mîr, and totally devoted to having various ecosystems and otherwise-rare species on it in comfortable and naturalesque conditions.

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This seems really odd to the Concordance. Why does Oikos think that ecology restoration is the most important thing to do? Did they decide that previous species were optimal? They aren't trying to design better ones? Nobody's talked them out of it?

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Kiszet thinks they might not think it's the most important thing to do but that other people are working on whatever is the most important thing to do? Or that they wouldn't be very good at the most important thing to do, and can do more total stuff they care about by working on this. It looks like they just want all the species that have ever existed to be alive somewhere, not as a value judgment on any specific one but a sort of completionist appreciation for animals. Probably somebody else is designing new species somewhere. She's not sure why anyone would talk them out of it? They do most of this stuff with resources that are theirs and this is what they decide to do with it.

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... So, the way the Concordance do things is that they try to decide what's most important, then do the most important thing. Whatever is the best use of resources, is the use that should be made of the resources. This is based on marginal utility, (here, complete concept of marginal value if she was missing it, now dropping into Kiszet's head), but it's still the tradeoff being made. If you spend resources on ecology restoration, you aren't spending those on increasing total population of happy sentients or on increasing the security of the total sentient population or on increasing your scientific knowledge so you can do everything else better, right?

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Huh. Those people like doing ecology stuff, though. Would they stop liking it if they concorded?

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They would maintain that as an element of their values, presumably? But - secondary goals are secondary compared to what matters most in the universe, right?

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Probably they feel like other people have those things covered? They might also have kids at home, or donate to other causes. But the thing they do to promote the existence of happy sentients is mostly just being happy sentients by doing the thing they like. Some other people also like that the thing is being done even if they don't personally do any of it.

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... But they could, alternatively, be happy about promoting happiness directly? This seems more efficient. And then they could be happy about all the other people who are happy, and about how the universe is growing into a happier place, the way everyone in the Concordance is. Right?

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Most people can't just change what things make them happy based on what is efficient.

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But if you're in harmony with others, and they're happy, you're happy, right? So joining a harmony of happy people makes you happy. And the Concordance is happy! (To the extent that it is not in fear, admittedly.)

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The Concordance is very happy! But most people do not already want to be happy in this particular way, they want to be happy in ways that involve things like doing ecology stuff (apparently). Kiszet likes it a lot and plans to give them a glowing recommendation but does not expect it to get a lot of uptake.

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The Concordance thinks that this is weird and inefficient but is not tremendously surprised by out of harmony with it being weird and inefficient.

So, what happens if it tries looking at other Wikipedia pages? What picture does it build of the world its invaders came from?

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The invaders come from lots of worlds, and consequently the picture is very complicated. They seem big on individual entities being permitted to do whatever they like provided this doesn't get int the way of other individual entities doing whatever they like, but mostly enforce this on larger egregores by requiring freedom of emigration. They have no scarcity of any purely material object that has been invented because apsels can make ludicrous amounts of stuff in no time at all and a lot of them are retained in this capacity in exchange for having been invited to adopt children; resurrection makes orphans uncommon, as many Vandans Nossëo will fundraise to get back parents of orphaned children, but there are some children whose parents don't want them, and children from Stork don't even have parents and some of those can be siphoned off as adoptees while others remain in traditional creche systems to avoid cultural annihilation. Magical objects, such as the ones the Stork natives can activate, are scarce, but not out of scope for ordinary citizens doing no remunerative work to save up for.

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The Concordance does not understand why individual entities being permitted to do whatever they like is a terminal value for these aliens, but observe that it apparently is. They are still trying to reevaluate the universe in which they are not all going to die inevitably of entropy.

What about the history of these societies? The most central societies, if there are most central ones. How did they come to be unified?

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A lot of worlds are Earths or Ardas, which differ in some ways (especially Earths, no two of which share a magic system) but are informative with respect to others of their kind, and they're accordingly relatively central to Vanda Nossëo's setup, especially since Elves really like all the Vanda Nossëo projects and disproportionately participate in the VN workforce. It used to be much more informal - alts met and confirmed that they were aligned, and coordinated on projects going forward - but accumulated more structure to scale up with over time. Arda history is like so and Earth history is like such. Wow, Kiszet didn't know about all that, that's a mess, isn't it? Not that Yeerk history is that great.

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Arda history: A near-omnipotent entity created extremely powerful entities to serve its wishes, out of a desire to... enjoy the suffering of others as a terminal value??? And it is still around??? And there are multiple of them??? One of these created entities then had a different desire to enjoy the suffering of others as a terminal value, went to war with the others, almost won, was preserved, got loose, and attempted to take over the universe to make everyone suffer forever. And this happened multiple times in multiple parallel universes.

The Concordance did not even realize that this was a failure state an entity could get into. Wow. Wow.

And then there are lots of attempts to engage in murder! People attempt to threaten other people and those other people ignore their threats, which are then carried out! There are wars (!!!) between the same species (!!!) over resource allocation and decisionmaking allocation duties! These wars are not talked out! Then there are the orcs who were made constantly suffering (!!!) by an entity that wants constant suffering as a terminal value (!!!) and also spend tremendous amounts of resources on preventing each other from taking actions opposed to them! At practically no point does anyone ever successfully talk out their differences, even amongst the same species! There appears to be no method of enforcing deals other than unbreakable magic oaths, which no one ever uses sensibly! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PLANET!

Earth history: Somehow manages to be even worse. Humans cannot possibly be an efficient use of anyone's resources. What. Why. How.

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Yeah, the concordance has it a lot easier in most ways! Are they saying humans should not have babies or that they should, like, die, those seem different to Kiszet.

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... They... should... be replaced by entities that are more capable of contributing to world happiness and also more capable of feeling happiness? The Concordance does not actually think they are different at all - it's the same utility-swing either way - though if there's not any resource limits there's no reason to end existing entities because that would take resources, abut if Vanda Nosseo has entities not dying as a terminal value they can just have all elf-babies and no human-babies until they engineer some super-elves who can come to age at human speed and still have magical elf powers, plus whatever improvements Vanda Nosseo's gene-designers can come up with. (Though they have already updated from Kiszet's mind towards (a) Vanda Nosseo not having the coordination to do this, and (b) this apparently violating Vandan utility functions, though they aren't sure why.)

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Elves having more babies would be hard, they have very stringent parenting standards which interfere with doing anything else. It came up when some of the shapeshifted Nest people had an orgy and wound up pregnant due to not knowing how to use the built in Elf contraception feature.

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Don't they have artificial wombs yet? The Concordance has had those for ages, and then they could use those and let all the humans have elf babies, since elves are magical and telepathic and more inclined to cooperate than humans.

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They don't have popular artificial wombs though Kiszet doesn't know if they'd get more popular if they were better. But she thinks the Elves wouldn't like that either.

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Do they expect elf children raised by humans to have negative utility? The Concordance would have thought that almost no one would have actually negative utility in a society as powerful as Vanda Nosseo, since that's so easily fixable.

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She thinks Elves might not be utilitarians.

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