Re: Sentience [Was FAI: Collective Volition]

From: fudley (
Date: Sat Jun 05 2004 - 06:27:13 MDT

On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 "Randall Randall" <> said:

> Eliezer intends to build a very intelligent goal-oriented system
> which is explicitly *not* a person.

Thatís Eliezerís intention but he will never have a way to know if he was
successful. At one time it was thought that human beings that had a lot
of pigment in their skin were not really people so it was OK to enslave
them. I believe assuming an intelligence, in fact an intelligence vastly
superior to our own, is not a person because it is made of metal not meat
is equally mistaken and will lead to similar tragic consequences.

Now no doubt Eliezer will have a theory that makes him think that however
intelligent the machine is it is not really conscious, but is his theory
right? There is no way to know. Consciousness theories are a dime a dozen
and there is no way to test any of them.

> Someone arguing against this idea, pre-calculator, might
> very well point out that if a machine could
> answer math questions, like a person, then it
> must have mental states that correspond to the
> intermediate steps of the calculation, and
> having mental states presupposes personality.

Yes, some might have argued that point, but as for me my rule of thumb is
that if something acts like a person it probably is. I canít prove it of
course but it seems to work pretty well when I use it on my fellow meat
creatures and I see no reason to modify it if the creature is made of
something else.

> Before you once again argue that sentience
> must either be unimportant or an automatic
> feature of intelligence, you might want to
> consider the possibility that general problem
> solving, like (some forms of) math, can be
> usefully separated from personality.

If I was convinced that was true I would have to become a creationist,
Iíd have no alternative because I would have absolutely no way to explain
how random mutation and natural selection produced at least one creature
that had personality and consciousness, me.

John K Clark

-- - IMAP accessible web-mail

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:47 MDT