Re: All sentient have to be observer-centered! My theory of FAI morality

From: Tommy McCabe (
Date: Thu Feb 26 2004 - 05:04:46 MST

--- Marc Geddes <> wrote:
> My main worry with Eliezer's ideas is that I don't
> think that a non observer-centered sentient is
> logically possible. Or if it's possible, such a
> sentient would not be stable. Can I prove this?
> No.

Maybe not, but you can provde some evidence beyond
'everyone says so'.

> But all the examples of stable sentients (humans)
> that
> we have are observer centered.

Humans are non-central special cases. Humans were
built by Darwinian evolution, the worst possible case
of design-and-test. Out in the jungle, it certainly
helps to have a goal system centered around 'I'- that
doesn't prove that it's necessary or even desirable.

> I can only point to
> this, combined with the fact that so many people
> posting to sl4 agree with me.

Yes, and if you lived 2000 years ago, most people
would have agreed with you that the Earth was flat.
The few that didn't believe that, however, had good
reasons for it.

> I can only strongly
> urge Eliezer and others working on AI NOT to attempt
> the folly of trying to create a non observer
> centered
> AI.

Saying that something is 'folly' doesn't mean it's
impossible- just look at how many achievements in
human history were laughed at as being 'folly'!

> For goodness sake don't try it! It could mean
> the doom of us all.

And so could brushing your teeth in the morning.

> I do agree that some kind of 'Universal Morality' is
> possible. i.e I agree that there exists a
> non-observer
> centered morality which all friendly sentients would
> aspire to.


> However, as I said, I don't think that
> non-observer sentients would be stable so any
> friendly
> stable sentient cannot follow Universal Morality
> exactly.

Saying it doesn't make it so. You have offered no
evidence for this besides the logically fallacious
generalizing from a small, non-central sample and the
argument from popularity.

> If AI morality were just:
> Universal Morality
> then I postulate that the AI would fail (either it
> could never be created in the first place, or else
> it
> would not be stable and it would under go
> friendliness
> failure).

Saying doesn't make it so. Evidence, please?

> But there's a way to make AI's stable: add a small
> observer-centered component. Such an AI could still
> be MOSTLY altruistic, but now it would only be
> following Universal Morality as an approximation,
> since there would be an additional observer-centered
> component.

That's like taking a perfectly good bicycle and
putting gum in the chain.

> So I postulate that all stable FAI's have to have
> moralities of the form:
> Universal Morality x Personal Morality

Saying it doesn't make it so, as much as humans are
prone to believing something when it is repeated.

> Now Universal Morality (by definition) is not
> arbitrary or observer centered. There is one and
> only
> one Universal Morality and it must be symmetric
> across
> all sentients (it has to work if everyone does it -
> positive sum interactions).

This is quite possibly true (though many on SL4 would
argue against that)

> But Personal morality (by definition) can have many
> degrees of freedom and is observer centered. There
> are many different possible kinds of personal
> morality
> and the morality is subjective and observer
> centered.


> The only constraint is that Personal Morality has to
> be consistent with Universal Morality to be
> Friendly.
> That's why I say that stable FAI's follow Universal
> Morality transformed by (multipication sign)
> Personal
> Morality.

Moralities can't be 'consistent' if they aren't

> Now an FAI operating off Universal Morality alone
> (which I'm postulating is impossible or unstable)

Saying, even repeated saying, doesn't make it so. I
need evidence!

> would to one and only one (unique) Singularity.

Non sequitur. AIs, even if they all have the same
morality, can be quite different.

> There
> would be only one possible form a successful
> Singularity could take. A reasonable guess (due to
> Eliezer) is that:
> Universal Morality = Volitional Morality

Quite possibly true.

> That is, it was postulated by Eli that Universal
> Morality is respect for sentient volition (free
> will).
> With no observer centered component, an FAI
> following
> this morality would aim to fulfil sentient requests
> (consistent with sentient volition). But I think
> that
> such an AI is impossible or unstable.

Repeating it doesn't make it so. Where is the

> I was postulating that all stable FAI's have a
> morality of the form:
> Universal Morality x Personal Morality

Repeating it doesn't make it correct. Where is the

> If I am right, then there are many different kinds
> of
> successul (Friendly) Singularities.


> Although
> Universal Morality is unique, Personal Morality can
> have many degrees of freedom.


> So the precise form a
> successful Singularity takes would depend on the
> 'Personal Morality' componant of the FAI's morality.

This is like the statement 'Have you stopped beating
your wife?' - it implies which has not been proven, or
even strongly suggested by evidence.

> Assuming that:
> Universal Morality = Volition based Morality
> we see that:
> Universal Morality x Personal Morality
> leads to something quite different.


> Respect for
> sentient volition (Universal Morality) gets
> transformed (mulipication sign) by Personal
> Morality.
> This leads to a volition based morality with an
> Acts/Omissions distinction (See my previous post for
> an explanation of the Moral Acts/Omissions
> distinctions).
> FAI's with morality of this form would still respect
> sentient volition, but they would not neccesserily
> fulfil sentient requests.

Neither would a Yudkowskian FAI, for example, if
Saddam Hussein wants to kill everybody.

> Sentient requests would
> only be fulfilled when such requests are consistent
> with the FAI's Personal Morality.

A good reason had better be supplied along with the

> So the 'Personal
> Morality' component would act like a filter stopping
> some sentient requests from being fulfilled. In
> addition, such FAI's would be pursuing goals of
> their
> own (so long as such goals did not violate sentient
> volition).

So would a Yudkowskian or entirely volition-based AI-
it would form goals that affected itself instead of
humans, as long as the goals would lead to helping
humanity (or sentients in general, after the

> So you see, my form of FAI is a far more
> interesting and complex beast than an FAI which just
> followed Universal Morality.

'Interesting' doesn't mean better, or even possible.
> Eliezer's 'Friendliness' theory (whereby the AI is
> reasoning about morality and can modify its own
> goals
> to try to close in on normalized 'Universal
> Morality')
> is currently only dealing with the 'Universal
> Morality' component of morality.

True- and is there any reason why it shouldn't?

> But if I am right, then all stable FAI have to have
> an
> observer-centered (Personal Morality) componant to
> their morality as well.


> So it's vital that FAI programmers give
> consideration
> to just what the 'Personal Morality' of an FAI
> should
> be.

Another statement based on an unproven assumption.

> The question of personal values cannot be
> evaded
> if non observer centered FAI's are impossible. Even
> with Universal Morality, there would have to be a
> 'Personal Morality' componant which would have to be
> chosen directly by the programmers (this 'Personal
> Morality' componant is arbitrary and
> non-renormalizable).

Why, again?

> To sum up: my theory is that all stable FAI have
> moralitites of the form:

Evidence? You have provided no evidence.

> Universal Morality x Personal Morality
> Only the 'Universal Morality' can be normalized.
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