Re: Si definition of Friendliess

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sat Apr 07 2001 - 11:14:42 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Brian Atkins wrote:
> >
> > Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > >
> > > "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Samantha Atkins wrote:
> > > > > Or perhaps it would conclude that you can be friendly to an arrogant,
> > > > > determinely stupid species and simultaneously preserve its free will and
> > > > > idenity.
> > > >
> > > > I assume you meant "can't", but I actually like this sentence more. I see
> > > > absolutely no problem whatsoever with being friendly to an arrogant,
> > > > determinedly stupid species while simultaneously preserving their free
> > > > will. Why would this even be difficult?
> > > >
> > >
> > > It would be quite difficult if you are constrained in your notion of
> > > what friendliness is sufficiently. If you cannot generally override
> > > human free will and if you cannot change the nature of human beings
> > > directly then you have on your hands a collections of members of the
> > > species who are by nature relatively violent, of limited intellect,
> > > prone to various forms of erroneous thinking and not generally terribly
> > > tolerant of one another or at least not very tolerant of those much
> > > different from their own general type. By their nature, left to
> > > themselves, they are quite likely to destroy themselves. Hence the need
> > > for the Sysop in the first place. The Sysop pulls their fangs as it
> > > were by making all their means of doing violence to one another
> > > ineffective. But how far does this go before the humans are no longer
> > > human? How far does it go before the result is beings that do not need
> > > to greatly weight their own decisions because the Sysop will not allow
> > > the wrong thing to be done anyway. How about the seething hatreds in
> >
> > Well like it or not what most people want is less responsibility, not more.
> > Who wants to have to continue worrying about not getting killed, finding
> > enough money to be able to eat, etc. etc.? I think worries about this kind of
> > thing are overstated. First off, anyone who wants to should be able to stay
> > on Earth or wherever in their same old body living the same old life. No
> > one is forced to upload, or even accept the protections of the Sysop. The
> > old responsibilities can still be yours if you desire them.
> I think that misses the point I was getting at. Either the Sysop ends
> all misery, which is what I thought I heard, or it does not. If it does
> not then my objection is less important but I am then not so sure what
> the Sysop is to accomplish.

They key word that people seem to be missing is that it will end /involuntary/
problems like death, low intelligence, pain, etc. If someone wants to go
around living in a normal human body/brain with no protections at all then
so be it. The Sysop always respects your volition except in cases where that
conflicts with other beings' (or potential beings') wishes.

> >
> > It is probably a 100% probability that this will lead to billions of Citizens
> > leading rather "boring" humdrum lives, but is that a bad thing? It's already
> > like that today no matter how much you want to glamorize it. What matters is
> > each person has the full ability and freedom to pursue whatever level of
> > "interesting life" they want to. It's ultra-libertarianism in a world where
> > you are born with riches beyond dream, and the Universe responds to your
> > desires.
> >
> OK. But after a few millenium of having whatever you want I would not
> be surprised if many chose a lot of forgetfulness and seeming danger in
> order to grow. Only a relative handful will be able to take full
> advantage of the freedom and power that is available at first. The
> others will have a bit of growing to do.

They can do whatever they like, no problemo.

> > > various groups for one another that have no means to erupt into
> > > violence? Where do these animosities go? I think it is fairly
> >
> > Well they can email each other nasty notes :-) Or maybe the real extremist
> > groups will renounce their Citizen protections and kill each other off. I
> > expect this particular problem to solve itself either through death or
> > intelligence enhancement or perhaps awe that the world as they knew it is
> > long gone.
> >
> > > elementary psychology to see that the hatred, the impotent rage would
> > > get turned toward the Sysop no matter how wonderful it is. This
> > > produces an environment that is not exactly all that healthy for human
> > > beings. The humans are allowed to be part of themselves but not
> >
> > It's unhealthy for those few haters 'cause they don't even have the chance
> > to blow anyone else up? Darn. Too bad. Get some backbone Samantha and draw
> > a line in the sand. Certain things should not be allowed. I think the vast
> > vast majority of Citizens will be 100% happy with the new world.
> >
> You are making light of something that is not that easily dismissed. I
> advise you to reconsider your attitude. I have plenty of "backbone".

Well besides your distaste for the style of the answer, do you have a
further complaint? Do you think it would be better to allow people to go
on killing each other even if the killee doesn't want to die?

> > > anything that might harm anyone ever. And how far does this go? Is
> > > hateful speech also stopped? Is this good? You have beings that do
> >
> > Speech is probably even freer than in the USA since you don't have to
> > worry about inciting people to riot. I doubt there are any such restrictions
> > in the future.
> >
> So, your speech cannot have any real effect on anything except as the
> Sysop wishes it?

No you got me wrong, the reason it can't have the kind of effects we have now
is that if you did manage to incite a riot you still couldn't kill or harm
anyone who didn't want to be harmed. It might still be possible to have some
real negative consequences from speech- libel perhaps? I am unsure of how
that might be handled by a Sysop. If we assume it also protects a person's
property, then it might also want to protect their reputation? So would it
outright prevent libel/slander? If not, would we have to come up with some
kind of government/social system to deal with it?

> > > > > If so it would dump this paradoxical meaningless chore and go
> > > > > find something better (at least actually possible) to do.
> > > >
> > > > Not necessarily. Ve might just fulfill whatever of the chore can be
> > > > fulfilled. "Something better" under what criterion?
> > > >
> > >
> > > Under its own criteria once it thought beyond the box of its early
> > > conditioning.
> > >
> > > Actually I believe there is a solution to the seeming dilemna. It is a
> > > modification of the zoo scenario but with such a twist as to be quite
> > > different. The Sysop scans all sentient beings continuously. So there
> > > are always up to the second (or better) backups of each sentient. The
> > > sentients can do whatever they wish. They cannot significantly threaten
> > > the Sysop or their backups. Sentients may be horrible to each other.
> > > But there is always the chance to learn from and reconsider their
> > > actions. If one is killed then ve reviews the events and issues of vir
> > > life and decides what to do next. Options might include between life
> > > learning and therapy, being incarnated into another life (birth), taking
> > > another form and so on. But one's choices will be proscribed, not by
> > > force but by one's own experiences, conditioning and understanding up to
> > > that moment toward what one next needs to learn. Most likely the next
> > > life will be one where the between life choice and the fact of backup
> > > and a longer than life learning process is forgotten. That too is part
> > > of the requirements of growth most of the time.
> >
> > This reminds me a crappy movie I saw last night: 6th Day (with Arnie)
> > Only it was done with 2-hour cloning (including mind transfer), and the
> > people didn't forget anything. Result (according to Hollywood): people
> > become bad. The one interesting thing about the movie is that it shows
> > what might happen if human cloning is outlawed and goes underground. I
> > bet most people don't get that from the movie though... a better movie
> > for showing the badness of prohibition laws is Traffic.
> >
> This movie doesn't have a damn thing to do with what I wrote. This one
> is a non-sequitur.

Sure it does, it is almost the same scenario except for the people forgetting
that a backup system exists. Unless I misunderstood your scenario. The movie
shows that since there are no consequences, the bad guys tend to get really
bad and go around doing bad stuff without having to worry about anything. If
they are about to get caught and put in jail they simply off themselves and
wake up back in the cloning facility (ok, so in the movie they didn't have
continuous mind backups, but still).

> > Anyway I don't think having people run around scared of death (since they
> > forget about the backup stuff) is a fun Universe. It may produce more
> > serious, responsible people but I think having to be serious and
> > responsible should go the way of the pre-Singularity era, to the dustbin
> > of history. Not to say you can't walk around being serious and responsible
> > all the time if you want, but being /required/ to do it is not the ideal
> > situation IMO.
> >
> The Universe does not have to only be about "fun". Or part of the fun
> is that the Universe has well-designed fright houses where you forget
> that is what you are in. :-) Seriousness and responsibility should go
> away? Now you have me scared all over again. It is not like everyone
> will be all dour just to be reasonably concerned and responsible. But I
> think it is important that beings with godlike powers learn
> responsibility. Don't you?

Well I think there will be some new responsibilities, yes. What I hope to
be able to get rid of are the "basic" responsibilities. Again, only for
the people who want to be rid of them.

> > There will still be some risks in the post-Singularity era, they just
> > won't be quite as extreme (unless you want them to be). You will still have
> > to do some basic management of your resources, or you could lose it all and
> > end up with just a very minimal existence. There will likely be some sort
> > of economic trade since this will not be a centrally planned economy. If
> > people want to build a huge interstellar ship they will have to raise the
> > material either from trading/amassing it or getting people to donate it.
> >
> > Responsibilities and concerns will simply move to a new, higher level.
> >
> That sounds more reasonable.
> > >
> > > This resembles what some Eastern religions claim anyway. However, that
> > > is not important. What is important is that it allows humans to be
> > > humans and yet survive the experience and grow up to something a bit
> >
> > If humans want to stay human they can do that, but most people will likely
> > move up to posthumanity/superintelligence.
> >
> When moving up to relative godhood there is even more reason to grow up
> a bit. The consequences are greater.

The positive consequences for sure, but I'm not sure about the negative side
if you are living Sysop-enabled space.

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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