Re: SIAI's flawed friendliness analysis

From: Philip Sutton (
Date: Mon Jun 02 2003 - 18:14:49 MDT

Dear Eliezer,

> Given the thread topic, it is not my intention to rule out discussion
> of the pragmatic problem-solving ability of elected officials
> confronted with transhuman technologies. However, SL4 avoids
> discussion of polarized contemporary political issues. Please do not
> invoke them.

There have been a few occasions where I have disagreed with Samantha's
views, but in the case of her last post I think she has raised very real and
important issues of absolutely direct relevance to the focus of the list. The
fact that the world is divided on the actions of the current US government is
no reason to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the practical issues that
Samantha is raising on the dubious principle of "discussion of polarized
contemporary political issues".

I have a lot of sympathy with Bill Hibbard's views about how we have to work
with the democratic system and how regulation needs to be applied. But what
Samantha says by way of objection is right. Unless we figure out how to deal
contructively with both of their propositions we will not get to safe AGI via any

I noticed that a lot of tech-heads tend to pour scorn on government workers
and others who deal with messy political and administrative issues - but this
work is just as important as the tech work because every tech project is
embedded in a real world - which canot be assumed away for the sake of
intellectual neatness. It is intellectually blind to imagine that the two can be

I notice that many people working on AGI issues use different lists to hold
different conversations. Is there any other list where people are serously
discussing the governance issues related to AGI development - and where the
list patron is not opposed to such discussion occurring? If there is a congenial
home for this sort of discussion, then we might be forced to decamp to that
list. (It is not my preferred option to cease discussing the issues on this list by
the way.)

Cheers, Philip

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