Re: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement

From: Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 12:15:01 MDT

Paul Hughes wrote:

> --- Eliezer Yudkowsky <> wrote:
>> In 2003 I tried to be Belldandy, sweetness and light. It didn't
>> work... Striving toward total rationality and total altruism comes
>> easily to me. Sweetness and light doesn't; I tried and failed. And ya
>> know what? I'm arrogant. I'll try not to be an arrogant bastard, but
>> I'm definitely arrogant... I will try not to be such an ass as
>> Newton, try hard not to actually *hurt* anyone, but let's face it, I
>> am not one of the modest geniuses. The best I can do is recognize
>> this and move on... Isn't it enough that we save the world? Do we
>> have to be frickin' *modest* about it? Now that just seems
>> unreasonable. How are we supposed to stay sane?
> So, are you saying that you are not sane?

Nope, I'm saying that I plan on staying sane.

> You seem to be admitting that you are both rational AND irrational.
> Emotional outbursts, arrogance, self-descriptors of "MAD scientists" all
> indicate some kind of irrationality and insanity,

What? Why? I think we are using extremely different definitions of
rationality. Rationality means "Bayesian" not "Vulcan".

> while you simultaneously say rationality comes easy to you.
> Could you please explain the discrepancy?

I aspire to experience those emotions that I would feel if I knew the
correct answers, not to be emotionless. Oh, plus that standard business
about a foolish consistency being the hobgoblin. We humans are much
happier when we acknowledge our conflicting facets, rather than trying to
stuff them all into a consistent public image. Nothing wrong with being a
mad scientist and rationalist. I can laugh maniacally all I want, so long
as I still get the answers right on questions of simple fact.

In fact, I think I'll laugh maniacally right now. BWAHAHAHAHA! BWAHAHAHA!
  I nearly fell into your clever trap, answering in tones of dull
solemnity, just because you asked a solemn-sounding question! I think I
need to be more silly, lest the people around me fall into the trap of
being solemn as well as serious.

To this task I shall now apply myself.

Weerp! Wonk! Warble!

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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