RE: SIAI's flawed friendliness analysis

From: Rafal Smigrodzki (
Date: Fri May 30 2003 - 15:40:00 MDT

Bill Hibbard wrote:

> An intelligent mind will develop a model of the world that
> equates human happiness with a loving family life, adequate
> food and shelter, physical exercise, freedom, a meaningful
> vocation, friends, etc. And it will equate human unhappiness
> with abusive relations, loneliness, homelessness, hunger, lack
> of freedon, poor health, drug addiction, etc. Its behavior
> will be based on this model, trying to promote the long-term
> happiness of humans.

### This is a very stifling vision - to try to bind minds to family values
(don't I hear some Reaganesque echoes here?), exercise, meaningful (what
does that mean?) vocation, and gregariousness, while prohibiting e.g.
solitude and chemical hedonism. This is a conservative concept of how humans
should live, incompatible with freedom (even if it's mentioned there by

I think that one of the main thrusts of CFAI is that such contingent
superficialities may not form the supergoal content of the FAI, and that ve
will need to perform a more subtle analysis of human mind and its
relationship with the world.

It might be quite useful to do a simple exercise:

Imagine you can dissociate the volitional aspects of your mind (currently
housed in the prefrontal cortex) from the purely experiential features.
Imagine you perceive intense pain and discomfort, with autonomic activation,
wild activity of the thalamus, the sensory cortex, the limbic system and
insula - all the subjective correlates of torture. Yet, your anterior
cingulate cortex decides not to act. Perhaps a high dose of exogenous
opiates was given, maybe you had a cingulotomy, maybe you engaged in
meditation deciding not listen to your tortured body. You know from the
models of your own mentality that the routines calculating pain and
happiness are not self-aware, they have no recursive consideration of self.
You ignore them (just as some soldiers and yogas did throughout history).

Would the FAI be justified in intervening on behalf of your non-sentient
subroutines, the ones screaming in pain? Or should it stay away from
directly changing the volition of you, the full self-aware mind? Doesn't the
mind's will matter more than the will of its parts?

If self-happiness is no longer a goal (as it frequently happens), it's
subjectively worthless. The FAI may not bind other minds to goals, and
familial appurtenances, that were left behind in the mind's growth.
Prescribing definite paths based on our temporary concepts of self, would be
like closing the door to eternity - an infinite loss.


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