RE: SIAI has become slightly amusing

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 13:32:01 MDT

> > I think that, as a first principle, sentient beings should
> be allowed
> > their free choice, and issues of "collective volition" and
> such should
> > only enter into the picture in order to resolve conflicts between
> > different sentience's free choices.
> But what if you are horrified by the consequences of this
> choice in 30
> years? How much thought did you put into this before
> deciding to make it
> the eternal law of the human species? Are you so confident
> in the power of
> your moral reasoning, oh modest Ben?

The basic principle of democracy (which is based on choice, not
extrapolated volition) has been around a long time, I don't claim to
have invented it. Modern democracies work, pretty much, by letting
people do what they want except when their wants collide, in which case
a hodge-podge of moral principles and pragmatic considerations are used
for conflict resolution. I don't always like the results but I find
them sorta acceptable, preferable to what I see coming out of other
governmental systems on Earth today or historically.

Extrapolated volition based FAI is as much like fascism as it is like
democracy --- fascism being a political philosophy in which the will of
the individual is, in principle, subordinate to the will of the state
which is understood to represent the greater good. In fact the will of
the state, in fascism, is supposed to represent what people SHOULD want,
and in some fascist theorists' writings, what the WOULD want if they
were freed of the damaging illusions plaguing their minds.

I am confident that the majority of Earthlings would vote for democracy
over extrapolated-volition-based AI-control. But of course, this is a
silly statements, since "voting for democracy" presumes that democracy
already exists ;-) You could argue that, even if people would vote for
democracy now, their future selves wouldn't want them to... etc. etc.

-- Ben G

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