Re: SIAI's flawed friendliness analysis

From: Mark Waser (
Date: Thu May 29 2003 - 18:44:27 MDT

Wow, Eliezer. I hope that you're just having a bad day and that this isn't
your new public relations policy. Factually, you're mostly correct but the
attitude and condescension are way over the top and you don't seem to be
making any effort to understand what others are saying or to help them

If you want a good example of a regulation that might work, try something
that sets up an advisory board of the right people (you can even include
yourself on it)that constantly reviews all certified projects, evaluates
their current risks, and takes appropriate action.

I don't have any faith in a small INBRED group of people going off and
trying to whip something together without any mistakes when any mistake
could be fatal in the biggest way possible. I want as many eyes as possible
on the project. Yes, the more people who see it, the better the possibility
that people might steal the ideas and try to go for an illegal AI but I
believe that the probability of success of such is much less than the
probability of a big problem if you don't get as many eyes as possible on
the original project.

An even better idea would be to work out an ethics system before you work on
the AI system. My belief is that an ethics system should actually follow
straight from your "rationality" project - - speaking of which, how is that


----- Original Message -----
From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 5:38 PM
Subject: Re: SIAI's flawed friendliness analysis

> Philip Sutton wrote:
> >
> > I would like you to explain why in language that a non-mathematican can
> > understand. If you can't get around to explaining your ideas in a form
> > that an intelligent, informed non-mathematician can understand then you
> > are commiting yourself to fail to communicate with the people you want
> > to pusuade not to adopt Bill's approach.
> Nature is not obligated to make her problems easy enough for intelligent,
> informed non-mathematicians to understand them. But of course people get
> quite indignant when told that a problem may be too difficult for them.
> Maybe, *maybe* if it's someone like a physicist, a nice
> already-established famously difficult area of science, someone might be
> willing to believe that this field is too difficult to be grasped over
> lunch. Why? Because it taps into the ready-made "witch doctor" instinct
> for understanding a field as arcane and barred to outsiders. Lacking any
> established witch doctors, of course, the presumption must be that your
> opinions are as good as anyone's and that the problem itself is, oh, about
> as simple as anything else your brain expects to run into.
> Hunter-gatherers don't confront hard scientific problems. But just
> because there isn't a field of AI with an established, confirmed theory of
> intelligence, and scientists with reputations for being in a difficult
> field, does not mean that the problem of AI will be simple. The
> difficulty is set by Nature. I might try to explain the problem to an
> intelligent, informed non-mathematician. But remember that Nature is
> under no obligation *whatsoever* to make the problem comprehensible.
> If you are doing something that will, in fact, kill you, Nature is under
> no obligation to make this obvious to you. Nature has no privileged
> tendency to avoid killing people whenever her reasons cannot be explained
> to an intelligent, informed non-mathematician.
> Now, bearing that in mind, you might start at:
> and go on from there.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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