Re: AI and survival instinct.

From: Carlo Wood (
Date: Mon Apr 01 2002 - 19:08:32 MST

On Mon, Apr 01, 2002 at 05:49:24PM -0700, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> I will say again: I think this is possible, but not very likely. You have
> not presented me with what I consider a convincing argument for the
> likelihood of this possibility.

That is correct, I have not given any argument actually.
But neither have you. Nevertheless, all we can argue about
is the likelihood and since you already say that you acknowledge
the possibility - that is enough for me. Hopefully you agree
with me then that staying in control should constantly be the
highest priority and never we should take a risk that we'd
create a intelligence greater than ours that might choose to
exterminate us. With this in mind I think that especially
the first AI must operate in a very controlled environment,
until we learn more about the goals and desires or "instincts"
of the beings we created.

Finally, I do have a little argument to add, but choose to first
post my introductory mail ;).

I think that an Artificial Intelligence will have to be, just like
humans, "goal driven". Otherwise we can not speak of 'intelligence'
(correct me if I am wrong there).

With "goal driven" I mean that a human seeks satisfaction of a
desire, by achieving a goal. Psychologist have divided humans
in a bunch of groups where it comes to what drives a human being.
One of them is "security" (without doubt my drive too).
Example: I seek security - therefore I study, get a job and get
lots of money that I safe and keep on my bank account. Also,
I wanted security and because was hurt often in normal social
contacts I started an electronics hobby and became a radio pirate:
six years of my life my social contact have been anonymously
with only audio as contact - and that has worked for me very
well (I was a popular guy on the radio, unlike at school).
Later I was using IRC and I wanted to chat in a safe environment,
because I needed security and ONLY because of that drive, I've
improved the IRC protocol and as such made it impossible to take
over channels anymore (I designed 'ircu', the ircd that is still
being used on undernet IRC (when I first went there it had 10
users, now it has 80,000)). etc.

Roughly spoken, the thought process involved in order to achieve
a goal works as follows:

Random generator --filter--> neural network to figure out --> expected result -\
  of actions what ones expects to be the \__ comparation --> feedback
                             result / |
                                       ^ goal -/ |

And this doesn't work 'discreate', there is no 'clock pulse',
it works like the feedback of an OpAmp (electronics), or
like solving a non-lineair differential equation. That is
what our brain is very good at: solving non-lineair equations.

Of course, the above is VERY incomplete and not the subject
of discussion. I just try to make a point here:
If an AI will work in this way, and the 'goal' we set it
will be to build an even faster brain, then what will happen
when it considers being terminated prematurely?
It would immedeately conclude that if its existence would
end then it would *certainly* not be able to achieve its goal.
Therefore, independant of the goal is has, it will consider
surviving to be the highest priority and might chose to put
most time into securing of its own continuation.

Carlo Wood <>

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