Re: Threats to the Singularity.

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Mon Jun 17 2002 - 10:50:13 MDT

Eliezer wrote:
> ...And the
> only way you can know the math is by being willing to emotionally accept
> either outcome when you start thinking. You can't pretend to be able to
> accept either outcome in order to find the math. You have to be able to
> *actually* accept the moral outcome whatever it is.

I would have to disagree with you on this point. My thoughts are *not*
constrained by my emotional acceptence of the outcomes. My actions may be
constrained in this way, but not my thoughts. I can think through a bunch
of ideas, with moral outcomes that I find utterly revolting... but that
doesn't prevent me from thinking accurately and rationally about them. Now
someone might argue: "But your own thoughts are a single data point that may
not apply to others" And I would respond: Uh-huh, but there have been many
fine philosphers and debaters who were as-good-as-they-were precisely
because they could think accurately from the POV of thier
detractors/opponents. They did not have to accept the conclusions/outcomes
in order to think about them well... or "find the math" as Eliezer writes.

Now it just so happens that I agree with the viewpoint that "there may be
something better than biological humans". But that emphatically does not
imply that I would wish ill on even a single human being! Any more than I
would wish ill on a dog because its master is 'better' in some ways. One
can hold both ideas as being true and valid without any contradiction
whatever. Not only that, but whole point of Friendly AI is to be able to
get SI without humanity going extinct and without harming a single person

This whole enterprise (building SI) is about expanding humanity's options,
not reducing them. Not reducing them in any way. Talking about
far-out/extreme/unlikely situations where one has to choose who lives and
who dies, while an interesting exercise, does NOT indicate what choices will
be *likely* in 99.999...% of situations. Black and White, Either/Or
decisions are great movie-time fodder, but in real life there are *always*
other options. For example, in Gordon's little pastiche about the SI and
the mob, there are many other options... the most obvious being:

Michael is sitting at a traffic light in a late model minivan with "The AI
Shaggin Waggin" emblazoned on the side. Looking up the street he can just
see a crowd of people, gathered around headquarters, waving signs. He
calmly picks up his cell phone and dial's Gordon's number. Gordon answers
"Michael here."
"Hey, Mike... I'm all alone in here man! An' there's a freekin' MOB
outside.", his voice sounds frightened.
"Gordon, I'm a block away. Meet me at the loading dock on the west side."
"I can't do that!", he screams, "They'll destroy everything!".
"Calm down, Gord, we got the Seed backed up from here to Cleveland, just get
outa there! Its not worth risking your life for."
"Shit! They just broke through the gate... okay, okay... west side loading
dock, I'm going there now"

Michael Roy Ames

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