Re: Beyond evolution

From: Durant Schoon (
Date: Thu Feb 08 2001 - 18:52:30 MST

Regarding Evolution:

I have to say that I've been a great admirer of the power of evolution
having read Dawkin's "Selfish Gene" and Dennet's "Darwin's Dangerous
Ideas" among others. I also attended ALife '94 and saw some jaw
dropping presentations by Danny Hillis and Karl Sims as well as
dabbling with Cellular Automata a tiny bit myself a long time ago.

However, after thinking about Eliezer's position, if I had to pit
"Vanilla Evolution" against "Intelligence + Evolution (as a toolkit)"
I'd agree with Eliezer and put my money on the latter. Evolution is
powerful, but it doesn't learn from its mistakes. (Searching+Infernece
Chaining+Caching+ WhatEverTheSIComesUpWith) in *conjunction* with
evolution just seems more powerful to me. It sounds to me like Ben
Goertzel is going to evolve competing intelligences. If you just add
an Intelligent Supervisor (IS) that learns, improves and reruns the
simulations (and you do it right) I think that system will do better
than pure evolution (even better than evolution + "all that simulated
annealing and parasite modelling and whatever else is the state if the
art these days").

In fact, you could have the supervisors compete: which ever supervisors
construct the fastest learning community get bred and go on to the
next round. At some point, when they are getting pretty good at this,
give each of the best and brightest The Current Simulation of Themselves
and stand back (however, don't forget to give them a copy of Eliezer's book
on Friendliness first :-). Intelligent strategies, I'm assuming, will
converge (backward chaining is great, it should pop up at some point
and once it does, it's there to stay...until improved, or maybe there's
something better).

Well, that would just be for fun of course. There are probably faster
ways of building a SeedAI. Right?


Ok, now regarding Friendliness (Samantha's posts got me thinking along
these lines):

I understand how the Pol Pots, Adolf Hitlers and Jeffrey Dahmers
will have limitations placed on enacting their desires. There is
however a vast sea of gray between Friendliness and Unfriendliness.

Consider the following scenario:

"A Sadist, A Masochist and an Friendly, Omnipotent Sysop walk into a bar..."

The Cast:

        Sysop, the Friendly, Omnipotent, Laissez-Faire type

Act I:

A Sadist, A Masochist and an Friendly, Omnipotent Sysop walk into a bar and
sit down to have a drink. Some Innocents are sitting at the other end of the

M: So, S, don't you think you'll ever get tired of being a sadist?

S: I don't think so. I tried the Violence Patch and that only worked
   for a little while until I decided I didn't need it any more. Boy
   was I wrong. But I didn't apply it again. Still looking for those
   old thrills I guess. Nice piece of software though. Thanks Sysop.

Sysop: Don't mention it.

M: What about true to life simulations? Have you tried 'em? Didn't you become
   so bored, that they seemed unappealing.

S: Yes and no. I mean they worked, but soon I craved really hurting other
   sentients again, since I knew that the simulations were totally fake, just
   high fidelity input signals. I got The Rush and everything, but after awhile
   it faded. I'm still looking for a good masochist in real life, but I guess
   you'll have to do in the mean time.

M: Snide remarks aside, it was a good thing we found each other. That party
   tonight sounds great, too.

S: Yeah. Hey, look at the time. My dry cleaning! Go pick it up for me and
   meet me back at my place around 7pm.

M: Anything you say sweetie.

M leaves.

S: Sysop, do you see that attractive person over there?

Sysop: You mean I1?

S: Yes. Would you create a custom invitation to the S&M party tonight that is
   tailored to I1. It should maximize I1's curiosity and desire to attend.

Sysop: Done.

S: Send it.

Sysop: Done.

S: You worm <chuckle>

Sysop: Oh puh-lease...

S: Say my name.

Sysop: "S"

S: Say it again.

Sysop: "S"

S: Call me "Master".

Sysop: Master, your invitation was rejected.

S: Well *your* invitation obviously sucked. Ok, keep trying the other people
   over there until one accepts.


Sysop: I2 accepts.

I2 approaches them at the bar and sits down.

S: Can I buy you a drink?

I2: Sure. Your party invitation was quite compelling. I1 warned me not to
    go, but I'm pretty sure I can handle it.

S: Great. There's an incredible new patch I've come up with. Everyone loves it.
   When you try it, you enjoy being a masochist.

I2: Really. I don't know if I'd like that. I mean I might, but I don't know.

S: Oh, but that's the point, you'll really like it because you get rewired.

I2: I can undo it later, right Sysop?

Sysop: Yes, you can. You are free to do what you want as long as you don't
       hurt anyone who doesn't want to be hurt.

S: Yeah, you always have that option, but everyone I've met has kept
   doing it. Sysop and I come up with upgrades every so often. They're
   not that expensive either. Those ersatz stimulations have nothing
   on the real thing. Everyone loves them and can't get enough. I have
   a very high Reputation Rating. Check it out.

I2: I did. I'm very impressed.

S: So we'll see you tonight then?

I2: I'll be there.

S: You can invite your friends too...You don't mind if I send them an
   invitation, do you?

I2: Not at all. I'm sure some of them would like to try this out. We're always
    looking for The Next Big Thing.

S: Well this is it, lemmetellya.

I2: Ok, see you tonight. Thanks S, it was a pleasure meeting you.

End of Act I


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