Summarizing the main objections to 'Collective Volition'

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Sat Jun 05 2004 - 01:09:07 MDT

*The implied enormous complexity required to compute
such a thing.

*A proposed 'optimization process' wholly new to
science with no working examples and little
theoretical basis

*The possibility that the volition does not cohere

*The possibility that individual volitions cannot be
computed without the simulations becoming sentient

*Serious unanswered questions about 'Person-hood' and
'Sentience'. Why do people think that they have
'Qualia'? What constitutes a 'Person'? What if a
non-sentient FAI capable of computing 'Collective
Volition' is impossible? With no precise definition
of 'sentience', why should the FAI itself not qualify
as a 'sentient' at some point? Why are the cognitive
processes of the FAI excluded from moral calculations,
and if the FAI does include its own volition in future
iterations isn't the result infinite regress?

*Quasi-totalitarian worries. Why should the
collective volition give good results? Isn't there a
possibility of running rough-shod over individual
rights? If the extrapolated volition is too different
from the original volition wouldn't it be perceived as
something alien and invasive? Why have a single
all-powerful FAI trying to save the world at all - why
not a diversity of different FAI's with more modest

To sum up: Too grandiose, too difficult and too many
unanswered questions! Why not try to build a more
human-like sentient FAI, using as a template a generic
altruistic human with transpersonal philosophy? This
would seem to me to be a far easier task and one that
we can be reasonably sure is possible. We don't need
an FAI that is 'Friendly' with a capital 'F', just one
is 'friendly' (mostly altruistic but perhaps with some
observer centered goals mixed in). And we don't need
it to attempt to single-handedly 'save the world'
either, just provide some degree of help to us. This
FAI would be much better equipped to judge the worth
of schemes like 'Collective Volition' than we are. So
why not settle for this more modest kind of FAI and
leave grander schemes to it?

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