Re: More on morality

From: Philip Sutton (
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 11:52:23 MDT

Jeff Allbright said:

> ......impose top-down controls (for humanity's own good.) My
> suggestion is that efforts can be better applied to giving people the
> tools they can use to bottom-up decide their own evolving direction.
> Disagreement here comes down to basic differences on the the need of
> humanity to be saved versus enhanced...

I think you've hit on a key issue here.

My own feeling is that human volition (the extended Eliezer version) is
an complexly *evolving* thing and hence in a complex world cannot be
fully predicted (ie. the only accurate model is the future that actually
unfolds in reality) - so trying to *fully* predict and then *impose* a
comprehensive rational collective human volition is a futile effort
technically. In any case even if collective human volition could be
accurately modelled humans wouldn't believe it - especially if it was
imposed and they would revolt.

So the practical course I think is to use modelling (done by clever AI/
optimisation processes, people, etc.) to create some improved degree
of insight into collective human volition and to - in the spirit of what Jeff
suggested - work with people to help them develop wiser courses of
action. I think that Jeff's model of "giving people the tools they can use
to bottom-up decide their own evolving direction" is basically the way to

If people/advanced intelligences/optimisation processes (or whatever)
discover somebody about to turn the world into grey goo they should
arrange for those people to desist - but otherewise comprehensive
benevolent coercion is not, in my opinion, the way to go.

Cheers, Philip

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