Re: The AIbox

From: justin corwin (
Date: Wed Jun 30 2004 - 21:43:25 MDT

On the simulation of opaque undetectable sandbox worlds:

On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 19:20:12 -0700, Josh Cryer <> wrote:
> Long time reader (off again on again), just wanted to post about this.
> I do not think a transhuman superintelligent mind could necessarily
> *know* it was inside a box. You invent a universe for it, you plop it
> in there, volia.

I'm going to go ahead and say the creation and running of an
undetectable virtual world with a coherent apparent casual history is
probably beyond us. On first blush it sounds like a much harder task
than an AI, actually.

Any sufficiently intelligent entity is a sponge for regularities and
consequences. I can't even begin to imagine the requirements for
simulating either a self consistent copy of this universes' laws, or
some kind of restricted physics that allows for a smaller world. And
if you don't provide a casual explanation for everything in the
Virtual World within the virtual world, it will eventually become
quite obvious there is something missing, regardless of how seamless
the interfaces and such are.

Anything less than some mythical herculean simulation, and the AI
would run against a hard inconsistency in the VW, very very quickly.
You could ameliorate this by running a copy of the real universe
incredibly slowly, but even such a copy simulation is far beyond us,
and would make the AI developing within it almost useless.

> So, I would take Eliezer's little bet, but I will admit that I
> wouldn't even talk to him as someone outside the box throughout the
> whole chat. :) The whole premise is based on the assumption that a
> super-AI could even know it was inside a box, while I think a
> sufficiently built box makes that impossible.

I suppose you could make that assumption, but the AI is free to make
his own assumptions about what he knows and doesn't know. Your freedom
to assume whatever role you choose is mirrored by the AI's freedom to
take or leave such roleplay.

Justin Corwin

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