Re: Will FAI need simulated empathy to avoid sociopathic tendencies?

From: Brian Phillips (
Date: Sun Dec 15 2002 - 19:52:41 MST

From: "James Rogers" <>

> It isn't a lack of empathy that makes one a true sociopath. It is a
> lack of empathy in addition to a lack of rationality that makes one a
> sociopath. I can easily imagine an entity that is devoid of empathy
> being a perfectly functional member of society as long as they are
> rational. You might not even notice that they lack real empathy of any
> sort.
> I think a rational and intelligent member of society could fake empathy
> with ease if they thought it was an efficient way to accomplish their
> goals. Hell, that's what politicians do on a daily basis.
> > In other words do we have healthy individuals in our society today who
> > feel no empathy
> > and yet fit our definition of a normal functional member of society?
It's arguable that "empathy" is an evolutionary cludge, designed to get
reactions and actions out of primates that are "rational" in a gene-centric
I am empathic because I am predicated to favor (and to "put myself in
the place of") individuals i perceive as similar to myself (which in the bad
old days was my wee tribe and nobody else).
I see no reason why a highly developed ethical engine (i.e. an FAI)
should need "empathy" when they/it has an impetus to maximize benefits
for the maximum number over a maximum time.

Empathy is smoke and mirrors (in this sense at least).


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