RE: supergoal stability

From: Peter Voss (
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 19:26:19 MDT

Anyone really interested in the 'puzzle' of (free) intelligent choice may
want to read an old essay of mine:

And, Ben , I totally agree with you that a high-level intelligence can be
seen (and understood) both from the perspective of 'moral philosopher' &
'nonlinear dynamical system'. It's a certain kind of nonlinear dynamics that
gives rise to (ie. *is*) the ability to philosophize.


-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf
Of Ben Goertzel

> Is a complex nonlinear dynamical system really the right way to look at a
> Friendly AI? This is an intelligent being we're talking about, capable of
> making choices.

I do think that minds are *necessarily* complex nonlinear dynamical systems.
This is an intuition, I certainly haven't proved it.

As for "capable of making choices", this comment opens up a huge
philosophical debate. As you know the neurophysiological evidence
(Gazzaniga etc.) is that most of our "felt conscious choices" are actually
determined by unconscious processes. List members who don't know this work
should look up Gazzaniga's split-brain experiments, which are terribly
convincing in this regard.

So I think what we call "choice" is a pretty complex nonlinear dynamical
phenomenon itself. Nietzsche said, "Consciousness is like the general who
takes responsibility for the spontaneous actions of his troops." This is a
lot though not all of the story. Consciousness also, by fallaciously taking
responsibility for decisions it did not in any real sense make, provides a
valuable role of clarifying and crystallizing the nature of decisions that
the unconscious has already made. I think Nietzsche knew this but did not
emphasize it. The general, when he takes credit for what the troops did,
explains clearly what the troops did, in a way that may help the troops to
spontaneously and self-organizingly do even better things next time.


> there is an intelligence, in fact a transhuman
> intelligence, standing behind it and making choices.

The half-illusion of "choice" is, in my view, a complex nonlinear dynamical
process itself

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