Re: SL4 meets "Pinky and the Brain"

From: James Higgins (
Date: Tue Jul 16 2002 - 12:24:14 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> James Higgins wrote:
> > This isn't the place to get into the details but having conversed
> > with you and Ben for awhile I believe he is significantly wiser than
> > you (not necessarily more intelligent).
> If that's true, it doesn't change the fact that Ben Goertzel has
> posted a mathematical definition of how he would either ask an AI to
> optimize the world according to his goal system C, or else create a
> population of entities with goal systems N such that the
> population-level effect would be to optimize C. Now this can be argued

You know, actually, I don't remember ever having seen such a post by
Ben. For a period of some months I didn't read many of the posts on SL4
so I'm guessing this is why. Could you refer me to the post/thread in
question, I would very much like to read that thread...

> as moral or immoral. It happens that I think it's immoral, at least the
> way Ben is defining C. But that could be argued. What does not change
> is that you are focusing on your personal impressions of myself and Ben
> at the expense of completely losing track of our actual respective
> positions.

I don't believe that to be the case. The Sysop scenario you, yourself,
suggested previously is highly immoral in my opinion. If you are
correct about Ben then you have both proposed immoral (subject to
perspective) goals.

Maybe Humanity is just screwed and the reason we haven't found any
evidence of advanced civilizations is that there is no practical way to
get beyond this point. But I'm going to hope and act as if that is not
the case (since I don't see any rational alternative).

> As for the rest of your post, if you're wiser than me for whatever
> reason, this should be shown and not told.

I agree. The only reason this specific discussion is taking place is
because you keep bringing up why it is that I trust Ben's decision more
than yours. If it makes you feel any better, I would probably trust
your decisions more than those of 90-95% of the populace.

James Higgins

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