Re: Friendliness and blank-slate goal bootstrap

From: Lawrence Foard (
Date: Mon Oct 06 2003 - 14:07:12 MDT

On Tue, 7 Oct 2003, Metaqualia wrote:

> > individuals. For example a machine might not have the concept of pain
> my point exactly. qualia are an additional piece of the puzzle, modern
> physics has holes.
> > To even complicate it further, humans at times can enjoy pain and fear,
> I think that this confusion arises because we use the same words to mean
> different things.
> > roller coasters, horror movies, S&M. The AI would have to undertake a
> Compare horror movies and being followed by a mob of 25 people trying to
> beat you up (I tried both).
> We call the horror movies scary and the other experience scary, but this is
> a mistake.

That doesn't sound like much fun! Although in some respects the chemicals
released are very similar, its just that in one case you have to fight for
your life, in the other you can give yourself up to the feelings. Exactly
the same for S&M, its not really pain that hurts really, its the struggle
to avoid injury which hurts. Replace that mob with a group of people
chasing you with leather paddles, a group you know will not leave
true injury if they catch you, instead of raw fear there would probably
be curiousity as well, fear would probably make you run but you'd
always kind of wish you hadn't...

> They do not feel the same. What I feel mainly when I watch a horror movie is
> curiosity. It is our curiosity for the dangerous, that is satisfied when
> watching a horror movie. Now that I am not curious anymore, I no longer
> watch them. People trying to break your legs, that is terror, you wouldn't
> want to watch a movie that really terrorized you.

Yes, that would suck!

> And S&M. I cannot speak for the whole community since everyone has their
> particular kink or comfort zone or interpretation of it, but "pain" is not
> what it is about. There is a whole range of unique mental states involved in
> consensual power exchange, and if they weren't extremely pleasurable, nobody
> would engage in such an activity.

Eventhough people seem to play at a whole bunch of different levels, and
the pain->pleasure crossover seems to be possible at a whole bunch of
different points. There are alot of things which seem extremely unpleasant
to me (like twisted mind games) which others enjoy.

> Roller coasters: this I really don't understand. Very rapid acceleration and
> deceleration have physiological effects that cannot be controlled even
> though you know that the ride is safe. Roller coasters scare the hell out of
> me and I hate them. I suppose people who enjoy coasters are not terrified
> but enjoy it, so this does not count as real fear.

Or possibly there reaction to the fear is different. I don't enjoy them
either, but suspect if I worked my way up with smaller ones with enough
practice I'd learn to redirect that fear in a pleasant direction

> Tentative morale of the story: real end-of-the-chain qualia-grade pain is
> never pleasurable. Somewhere between the sensory input [situation commonly
> perceived as painful] and the triggering of the appropriate emotion,
> something can go wrong, for whatever reason, and things that should be
> painful end up feeling pretty good, thank your parents and move on :) Or you
> have a mix of both but the pleasure is intense enough to overcome the pain.

But very hard because there are so many levels. Its quite possible that
for virtually any test of pain based on nerve signals, you could find
someone who enjoys it rather than hates it :)

> One more in favour of the "figure out qualia" subgoal : we want an AI to
> look at beings and say, this guy is in pain, this one is having a ball. Etc.

Yes. The poor puzzled thing :) Show it roller coasters, hot spices,
S&M scenes, horror movies, or almost anything people do for fun it will
decide people are weird.

     Be a counter terrorist perpetrate random senseless acts of kindness
    Rave: Immanentization of the Eschaton in a Temporary Autonomous Zone.
 We are nothing but sunlight detours, in the road between fusion and eternity.

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