Re: Sysop hacking

From: ben goertzel (
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 16:05:17 MST

One approach to the question of ethics is to assert that there are two
aspects to judging "rightness":

1) the basic definition of what "right" is
2) the evaluation of how "right" a given action or situation is, according
to the definition

This is not necessarily how humans judge things -- we deal with specific
situations and actions in very tacit, situation-dependent ways, without a
lot of consistency.

On the other hand, our attempts to formalize and codify ethics often do fall
into this 2-part, definition/evaluation framework.

If one does take this definition/evaluation approach to ethics, then the
obvious observation is that a superintelligent being may be much better than
us at the evaluation part. I.e., better at resolving ethical dilemmas
through inference, based on its ethical code (its "definition").

The "subjective" part comes in the definition of what "right" is, obviously.
But it's easy to observe that, whatever its definition is, an SI will
probably be better at evaluating rightness according to its own definition,
than we are in evaluating rightness according to our own.

It is worth remembering, however, that this definition/evaluation framework
is only a crude approximation to how we humans judge rightness in practice,
and it may be an approximation that an SI has no use for.

ben g

----- Original Message -----
From: "Psy-Kosh" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 3:49 PM
Subject: Re: Sysop hacking

> > > unFriendly to not take them. Since the Sysop is an un anthropomorphic
> > > SI of some sort, it should be able to make an objective judgment of
> > > what is more right.
> >
> >
> --ERROR--
> The objective judgement would be in terms of Friendlines, not necceserally
> generic subjective "rightness", but a specific framework which has already
> been defined.
> Second, please show that rightness is purely arbitrary and subjective. I
> recognize that it is possible that it is such, but, afaik, it has not been
> shown to a high degree of probability to be such.
> --
> Psy-Kosh
> "The scientist who would rather refute than comprehend demonstrates he has
> chosen the wrong calling." -The Forever Machine
> ------------------------------------------------

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