From: Randall Randall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 14:07:49 MDT
On May 16, 2004, at 10:18 AM, Keith Henson wrote:
> At 03:39 AM 14/05/04 -0400, Randall Randall wrote:
>> Either you are using the term "best interest" for something I would
>> not use that term for, or you are making the mistake of assuming
>> that a single objective "best interest" exists which can be determined
>> by an outside observer.
> There are multiple viewpoints for "best interest" that are sometimes
> in conflict. So the problem may not be solvable at all.
Often in conflict. That's why I put it in quotes. It seems to me
that the problem is likely not solvable for entities which are roughly
comparable in intelligence, but which have different goals.
>> Unless you are intelligent enough to closely simulate that person,
>> however (and no human currently is), you are unlikely to be able
>> to make such a determination, so you must accept the person's own
>> decisions as the closest approximation to their "best interest"
>> that you can find.
> Ten years ago I would have agreed with you. There is a strong
> libertarian outlook in me that was shaped by decades of Heinlein's
> But over the past ten years I have come to see "the person" as
> something less than a unified whole, burdened by evolved psychological
> traits that may be way out of step with reality. Gambling, drug
> addiction and cult involvement, i.e., infection with a parasitic meme,
> are pathological states where intervention may be justified--not
> simply because of the damage to the person, but the dangers to the
> larger community.
I think that using terms and phrases like "infection", "parasitic", and
"pathological" presupposes your conclusion. In particular, the idea of
a parasitic meme is an example of its own class (if the idea is valid at
all) because it short circuits the process of deciding whether a
is useful for your supergoal. Therefore, making a determination about
whether someone else is "infected" seems inconsistent.
> We are *social* primates. Rational behavior (sanity if you will) is
> to a considerable extent maintained by interactions with those "in
> your tribe." That being the case, we have self-interest in keeping
> our neighbors sane, and they in keeping us sane--especially since we
> have mechanisms that switch on irrational behavior in response to
> environmental conditions (though "irrational behavior" may be rational
> from a gene's viewpoint in a hunter gatherer environment--key phrase
> in Google "xenophobic memes").
There's an interesting book by John McCrone, _The Myth of
which addresses some of this. Entertainingly, the third Google result
(I couldn't remember who wrote it) was
suggesting that I'm not the only transhumanist who believes this is
While I feel that this is relevant to the topic of AI design, I'm
willing to accept anyone else's determination that it isn't. :)
-- Randall Randall <email@example.com> 'I say we put up a huge sign next to the Sun that says "You must be at least this big (insert huge red line) to ride this ride".' -- firstname.lastname@example.org
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