Re: Eugen Leitl on AI design

From: Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 09:40:26 MDT

Jef Allbright wrote:
> Intelligence is one of the pillars of morality. Another pillar is
> interdependence. Another, even more subtle, is growth.

I agree, provided we limit the case to human morality.

> A few of these rational free thinkers sensed that there was still
> something missing. Rationality is bounded by knowledge, and a new level
> of enlightenment arose in which people began to realize a need for
> wisdom within uncertainty. Some of these people were mistaken for
> mystics, but rather than abandoning rational thought, these newer
> thinkers worked to incorporate rational thinking into a larger framework
> that acknowledged, and even welcomed uncertainty.

I think you mean "logical thinking" not "rational thinking". Rational
thinking, in the modern, Bayesian sense of the term, is precisely the
framework that correctly handles uncertainty. Hence expected utility and
Bayesian probability. We know exactly how uncertain we are; the Way is
still a precise art, a dance rather than a walk. (Calmly knowing the
source of your uncertainty and the rules that govern your ignorance is
sometimes mistaken for "overconfidence" by those who know not the Way.)

> Mathematical
> statistics (of the frequentist sort and more recently Bayesian) were
> joined by newer concepts of entropy and theories of information and
> incompleteness,

By "joined", I presume you mean that people (example: E.T. Jaynes) showed
that the concepts of entropy and information were special cases of Bayesian
probability theory.

> More recently, concepts of uncertainty and randomness are being
> overtaken by ideas of chaos and complexity, and rational free-thinkers
> are discovering some of the inherent limits of modeling and prediction
> with finite computational resources. We're finding that much of the
> really interesting stuff can't be modeled or predicted and the only way
> to determine the end result is to actually play it out. *This changes
> the focus of the game away from modeling and extrapolation, and towards
> understanding what freedoms (points of influence) are available to us
> in order to create an always evolving and unpredictable future.* These
> new concepts do not replace, but encompass and extend the previous
> paradigm.

The new concepts are special cases of the previous paradigm. The Way is
yet a precise art.

> I offer this as a necessarily abbreviated and simplified history of the
> development of rational thinking on the human scale, and also perhaps
> the development of individual thinking among members of this list
> growing up within that knowledge environment. Although overstated,
> perhaps "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" applies here as well.

What has this to do with AI morality?

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

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