RE: Uploading with current technology

From: Gary Miller (
Date: Mon Dec 09 2002 - 09:10:35 MST

Hi Bill,

On Sun, 9 Dec 2002, Bill Hibbard wrote:

>> Furthermore, behaviors learned via their old greedy or xenophobic
values would be negatively
>> reinforced and disappear.
How do you give negative reinforcement to someone who has succeeded so
far beyond the average man that they are both spiritually, emotionally
and physically untouchable?

Obsessive fear of losing what one has already worked so hard to achieve
is one of the drivers for achieving ever increasing power and wealth.
Perhaps it is the recognition and fear of one's eventual mortality today
that encourages the very rich to share the wealth through philanthropy
and to invest in their afterlife so to speak. Once a person has reached
this level of success and power, I would defy anyone to reeducate them
to the fact that giving a large portion of their money away is the
optimal way to further their own self-interests especially if their
life-spans were hugely extended.

We live in a day again where the middle class is being eroded from the
top and bottom. The rich do get richer and the poor are becoming more
numerous. I have a tremendous respect for people like Bill Gates who
are spending large amounts of their money in this life to improve living
conditions in so many parts of the world. I would pray to see this
become the norm instead of the exception. But unfortunately too many
billionaires still operate under the philosophy that "whoever dies with
the most toys (or billions) wins the game".

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Bill
Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: Uploading with current technology

Hi Gordon,

On Sun, 8 Dec 2002, Gordon Worley wrote:

> On Sunday, December 8, 2002, at 01:08 PM, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> >
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> > Can anyone with more neuro expertise tell me: Is this guy correct as

> > regards what is currently technologically plausible?
> The Singularity and, specifically, FAI is a faster, safer way of
> transcending. Super *human* intelligence is highly dangerous. Think
> male chimp with nuclear feces. Unless you've got someone way protect
> the universe from the super *humans*, we're probably better off with
> our current brains.

I largely agree. But as I point out in my book:

after humans meet super-intelligent machines they will want
to become super-intelligent themselves, and will want the indfinite life
span of a repairable machine brain supporting their mind.

With super-intelligent machines, the key to human safety is
in controlling the values that reinforce learning of intelligent
behaviors. In machines, we can design them so their behaviors are
positively reinforced by human happiness and negatively reinforced by
human unhappiness.

Behaviors are reinforced by much different values in human brains. Human
values are mostly self-interest. As social animals humans have some more
altruistic values, but these mostly depend on social pressure. Very
powerful humans can transcend social pressure and revert to their
selfish values, hence the maxim that power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely. Nothing will give a human more power than

Society has a gradual (lots of short-term setbacks, to be
sure) long-term trend toward equality because human brains
are distributed quite democratically: the largest IQ (not
a perfect measure, but widely applied) in history is only
twice the average. However, the largest computers, buildings, trucks,
etc are thousands of times their averages. The migration of human minds
into machine brains theatens to end the even distribution of human
intelligence, and hence end the gradual long-term trend toward social

Given that the combination of super-intelligence and human values is
dangerous, the solution is to make alteration of reinforcement learning
values a necessary condition for granting a human super-intelligence.
That is, when we have the technology to manipulate human intelligence
then we also need to develop the technology to manipulate human
reinforcement learning values. Because this change in values would
affect learning, it would not immediately change the human's old
behaviors. Hence they would still "be themselves". But as they learned
super-intelligent behaviors, their new values would cause those newly
learned behaviors to serve the happiness of all humans. Furthermore,
behaviors learned via their old greedy or xenophobic values would be
negatively reinforced and disappear.

One danger is the temptation to use genetic manipulation as a shortcut
to super-intelligent humans. This may provide a way to increase human
intelligence before we understand how it works and before we know how to
change human reinforcement learning values. This danger is neatly
parallel with Mary Shelley's Frankestein, in which a human monster is
created by a scientist tinkering with technology thet he did not really
understand. We need to understand how human brains work and solve the
AGI problem before we start manipulating human brains.

Bill Hibbard, SSEC, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706 608-263-4427 fax: 608-263-6738

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