From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Sun Jun 16 2002 - 20:25:29 MDT

> Anand wrote:
> >01. Does CFAI argue for a set of panhuman characteristics that comrpise
> >human moral cognition? If so, what characteristics do we have evidence
> >for, and what characteristics of human moral cognition will be
> >reproduced?
> The following is correlated to question #1. The below quoted text has the
> premise that a philosophy can be grounded and approximately derived from
> panhuman characteristics, and used as content for Friendly AI. I am
> requesting clear explication of and evidence for this premise. Also, what
> evidence is there for the below claim that "panhuman attributes such as
> 'altruism'... build up _very_ strongly when all the humans on Earth are
> superposed"?


When I read the sections (CFAI: and 3.4.4) I considered the whole
concept of a 'cloud of attributes' for humanity to be a fascinating thought
experiment, something which might facilitate discussion. When I read the
suggestion that there would be a strong superposed build-up around
'altruism', I found the idea intriguing... but hardly convincing, as it was
just an idea within a thought experiment. If indeed there is actual
"evidence" to support this idea, I too want to see it. Thinking further...

How would one obtain such evidence? Through analysis of what people *do*
perhaps? Wouldn't you also need to know the reasoning behind thier actions?
That would involve asking them questions. How would we judge who was lying,
or even that they understood the questions?

IMO, there is unlikely to be any conclusive evidence (of convergence to a
central definition of 'altruism') until after uploading, and a direct,
impartial analysis can be made against a population of humans who's wetware
brains have been accurately simulated in software. It will be a great time
to be a cognitive psychologist :)

But by all means, if someone has real-world evidence of this convergence
now... bring it forward.

Michael Roy Ames

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