RE: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon May 24 2004 - 21:25:51 MDT

> Feel free to explain how a realistic and frightened medieval
> alchemist can
> convince a hopeful, cheerful, vaguely mystical medieval
> alchemist that
> there is no way to concoct an immortality serum by mixing
> random chemicals
> together. Bearing in mind that the first alchemist has to
> drink whatever
> the second alchemist comes up with. Bearing in mind that
> there is in fact
> no way to do it, and that being ignorant of this does not
> change Nature's
> law in the slightest.

The problem is that the realistic and frightened medieval alchemist
actually has no way of knowing that concocting an immortality serum is
impossible. We know that NOW because of the science we've accumulated,
but no one could know that in the medieval times. Alchemy was not as
stupid then as it is now. Which is why there were more alchemists then
than now.... Alchemy is idiotic only in hindsight, which is why someone
as brilliant as Isaac Newton was an avid alchemist.

> There is too
> much science. Funny, how the people asserting the ignorance
> of science on
> some subject are so rarely specialists in that *particular* field...

I am a specialist in the field of dynamical systems (at least, I was a
few years back, I published in the field, knew all the literature,
etc.). So I think I know basically what is known about the attractors,
terminal attractors, invariant measures, etc. of complex systems. And
it ain't nearly enough to tell us anything about the attractors etc.
that complex self-modifying AI's will get into.

Could ideas from some other area of science lead to a breakthrough in
the field of self-modifying-AI dynamics? Of course. It's very hard to
predict where a breakthrough will come next, and in what way it will

-- Ben G

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