RE: Diaspora, the future of AI & value systems, etc.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Dec 11 2000 - 12:42:55 MST

The point is, why don't humans routinely kill other humans, in most

Is it only because they're afraid of what will happen when they're caught?

No, we have consciences, which are the "internal voices of society." The
inner urge or will to
kill the other person is counteracted by another inner voice/feeling telling
you that it's
bad to kill someone.

This is extensively studied in psychology; see e.g. "Civilization and its
Discontents" by
Freud (a very good book BTW, even if you're not a fan of Freud generally,
which I'm not)

It may take extensive negotiations to find a way of wording this very basic
point so that you'll
accept it, but even so, the basic phenomenon that I'm describing is
obviously a part of human nature
-- in surely most and likely all human cultures.

The conscience is often viewed as an "internal voice of one's parents." An
AI won't have any parents
in the strict sense.

We are evolutionarily programmed to pass along values and morals or whatever
you like to call them,
to our children. I.e., our genes cause us to propagate certain memes.

How do we know that similar memes will be propagated by AI's, which will
originate in very different
ways -- that's the question.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Samantha Atkins
> Sent: Monday, December 11, 2000 2:05 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Diaspora, the future of AI & value systems, etc.
> I believe your point is still severely broken unless you speak of
> strictures of certain systems of morality instead of "values". They are
> not at all the same thing. Your original definition has other
> problems. What is the "will of the individual"? Is it arbitary power
> or is it energy focused on a set of individual goals no matter how
> poorly or well formulated? If the latter then there is great value in a
> better formulation of goals to acheive the goals of the individual
> personally and within its social context but this is not "restraining
> the will" as such at all.
> - samantha
> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> >
> > > Value systems as we know them are about restraining the will of
> > > the individual in order to achieve the good
> > > of the collective.
> >
> > Ok, as has been pointed out to me in a private e-mail, this is an
> > overstatement...
> >
> > A true statement is that "Very many human value systems have evolved in
> > order to restrain
> > the will of the individual and hence encourage the good of the
> collective."
> >
> > But of course, that doesn't hold for Ayn-Randish values, which
> are probably
> > somewhat common
> > in this particular e-community. sorry ;>
> >
> > It also doesn't hold for Nietzschean values, which I have a
> great deal of
> > sympathy for...
> > Nietzschean values are about the will of the individual
> restraining itself
> > in order to maximize
> > its own power!
> >
> > It does hold for the value systems that shape our societies,
> and govern the
> > bulk of human
> > conduct, child-rearing, and so forth, so I still think my point has some
> > worth...
> >
> > > But our very notions of "individual" and
> > > "collective" are a consequence of the peculiarities
> > > of our physical embodiment. Value systems as we know them aren't
> > > going to exist for long, because the
> > > preconditions for their meaningfulness will disappear...

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