Re: FAI: Collective Volition

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Tue Jun 01 2004 - 01:52:05 MDT

 --- Eliezer Yudkowsky <> wrote: >
> Whatever our coherent medium-range volitions not
> vetoed by long-range
> volitions said should happen. The thought occurs to
> me that complete
> silence would not be out of question as a reply. We
> should invent our own
> philosophies, not ask our extrapolated volitions, or
> someday we'll ask our
> volitions and get back "The only answering procedure
> you know is asking
> your volition." A wise volition would shut up; it's
> what we would want.
> Hard to imagine anything sillier than arguing with
> your own extrapolated
> volition.

I take your remarks quite seriously. Isn't this a
tip-off hinting that your 'CollectiveVolition' is
actually rather meaningless?

As I said in my reply to you on wiki, I suspect that
you're still actually implicitly assuming some sort of
'objective morality' (objective referents for the
concepts of 'light' and 'dark'). CollectiveVolition
just evades the problem by attempting to sweep the
nature of good and evil under the carpet.

I'm going to post here another remark I made on wiki.
I don't think this violates the rule on no speculation
about outcomes: I'm just trying to make the point
that I think CollectiveVolition might be a rather
meaningless concept:

"Don't we already (at least in modern Western nations)
have an ultra-powerful Bayesian predictor
extrapolating collective volition? It's called (drum
roll please)...THE FREE MARKET. In the U.S the stock
market succeeds in extrapolating collective volition
to around 6 months into the future (the stock market
predicts the state of the U.S economy about 6 months
in advance). Are you sure that the ideal 'free market'
and 'Collective Volition' are not one and the same
thing? If the results of the extrapolation were made
public this would change 'the public' and render the
extrapolation invalid. That's why stock brokers can't
predict better than the market... as soon as people
realized that the predictions were accurate they would
change their behaviour to try to take advantage...
rendering the prediction useless. So it's not clear to
me that CollectiveVolition would be any different to a
souped-up fairer version of what we now call 'The Free

A truly fair 'free market' would be all well and good,
but all it could ever be is a means to an end. The
nature of what to aim for is entirely evaded. Values
don't come from the market at all and without values
what use is anything...?

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