Re: supergoal stability

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 19:56:32 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > > > The Singularity is not a complex nonlinear dynamical
> > > > process - it is alive
> > >
> > > I don't see how you can say the Singularity is "alive." How are you
> > > defining life? Normally it is defined in terms of metabolism and
> > > reproduction.
> >
> > "Life is anything designed primarily by evolution, plus all beings above a
> > certain level of intelligence." This is my old definition, which I still
> > like today because it manages to include cows, viruses, mules, humans, and
> > AIs.
> OK, but by this definition, is the Singularity alive? I don't see why.
> A Singularity is neither designed by evolution, nor intelligent.

In some scenarios, the Singularity takes its pattern from nonintentional
processes - the versions of the Singularity where it's the inevitable
emergent output of a whole species and so on. But in the hard takeoff
model, which is the one I think most likely, the Singularity is not a global
process like an economy, which has many aspects that are not consciously
chosen and that are suboptimal from the perspective of the intelligences
swept along by the system. The Singularity is created by the first
self-improving mind to undergo a hard takeoff; this doesn't imply that
others are left out, but it does mean that the qualities of the Singularity
are there because a mind chose them. If the Singularity takes its shape
from intelligence and is implemented by intelligence, I would argue that
"the Singularity is ALIVE" is a better metaphor than "the Singularity is a

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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