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The Age of EmWork, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth$
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Robin Hanson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198754626.001.0001

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25 (p.357) Collaboration
The Age of Em

Robin Hanson

Oxford University Press

How do rituals differ in an em world? Today, we use rituals such as graduations, marriages, retirement parties, and funerals to jointly and overtly affirm community values at key social transitions. However, if we use a broader sense of the term “ritual,” most social interactions and many apparently non-social processes are also rituals, wherein emotional energy becomes amplified as participants achieve a common focus of attention and act in ways that are finely synchronized and coordinated with each other ( Collins 2004 ). during rituals, synchronized feelings and body movements of people who are adjacent to one other become especially potent. Such group synchronization shows participants that they feel similarly to others in the group, and know each other well. people, things, and beliefs that are the mutual focus of attention in such rituals acquire added importance and emotional energy, and become able to increase the passion of subsequent rituals. The emotional energy that comes from a common focus of attention on synchronized actions has long influenced the frequency and structure of many forms of synchronized human activities, in dances, plays, movies, concerts, lectures, protests, freeways, business meetings, group recitations in schools, consumption of advertised products, and group songs that coordinate work in hunting, farming, sailing, armies, and factories. We expect ems to continue to show this tendency to prefer social situations where vivid awareness of finely synchronized actions can assure them of shared capacities and values. For example, similar to people today we expect ems to say hello and goodbye as they join and leave meetings, and to find reasons for frequent face-to-face meetings at work. Some examples of common overt rituals today are when the police stop a driver, when a waiter takes an order, when two sports teams battle in front of a crowd, and when an audience watches a movie together. In the industrial era, we have a substantially lower rate of such rituals than did our forager and farmer ancestors. For our ancestors, in contrast, it was more like having Christmas or Thanksgiving happen several times a month, with many smaller ceremonies happening several times a day (Collins 2004).

Keywords:   archives, blackmail, classes, efficient, fines, innovation, judges, lawsuits, prediction markets

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