From: Marc Geddes (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jan 21 2005 - 20:46:29 MST
O.K, take out the word 'technical' from my subject
header. Then it reads '...a general definition....'
--- Harvey Newstrom <mail@HarveyNewstrom.com> wrote:
> > * Proposition: A mind is a utility function. The
> > universe itself could be interpreted as a kind of
> > in the limit that it formed a super-intelligence
> at an
> > Omega Point. Therefore any concept within reality
> > could be interpreted as a 'utility function'
> > the universal mind.
> These are very controversial and non-obvious
> propositions on which to
> base your definitions. Is friendliness really
> dependent on the
> universe being a "mind"? If I dispute that the
> universe is a "mind",
> does that mean friendliness doesn't exist? Your
> evidence that all
> concepts in reality can be coded as utility
> functions within an AI is
> based on the fact that the universe is a mind which
> codes all reality
> at the omega point? This is more of a religious
> faith-based assumption
> than a basis for an engineering design of an AI.
> Besides requiring the universe to be a mind, your
> definitions seem to
> require a Tipler-type omega point to occur for your
> definition. Since
> this is unknown and unproven at this point, it
> sounds like your
> definition must be unknown or unproven for now as
> well. Since the
> Omega Point won't occur until the end of the
> universe, it is unclear
> that your explanation applies to anything today.
> Can't you base your
> examples on physics existing now?
What I was suggesting was a 'strange loop' (backward
causality). I was putting forward the proposition
that for sentience to exist now, the Omega Point
condition has to hold. If I can provide some evidence
to support the proposition, this would be indirect
evidence for the Omega Point, since of course we know
that sentience *does* indeed exist (humans are an
example of sentient beings after all).
> > Example: The concept 'Beauty' is defined as being
> > equivalent to the mathematical function which
> > generates a list of all beautiful things.
> This is a circular definition. You defined beauty
> by using the word
> "beautiful" in the definition.
A mathematical function can be (at least
approximately) implemented as a computation. I
defined beauty to be a *process* - I said it was
equivalent to the *process* of a certain kind of
compuation - the computation which would generate an
awareness of all things that a sentient mind would
judge to be beautiful. This is not circular.
> > This is an
> > uncomputable function, since beauty appears to a
> > prospective attribute: the function to recognize
> > generate beautiful things cannot be finitely
> > specified.
> I don't like where this is going. We can't develop
> coherent plans for
> achieving something we can't define. I doubt (and
> hope) that
> "friendiness" is not such a function. Otherwise, it
> boils down to
> "friendliness is in the eye of the beholder". You
> end up saying that
> people will call the system friendly if they like it
> and unfriendly if
> they don't. You can't engineer to such a spec, and
> it ends up being a
> democracy with people voting on what they want for
> friendliness. If
> you can't define it precisely, how can it be a
> requirement? How do you
> know it even exists, if you don't know what it is?
> This isn't some
> observation that we haven't pinned down an
> explanation for yet. This
> is our instructions and requirements to people
> trying to build AI
> systems. How can our request be vague and
> ill-defined, but we'll know
> it when we see it?
I *didn't* say it was undefinable! I said it was
*uncomputable*. In the technical sense of the word,
uncomputable simply means that no finitely specified
algorithim can compute it *exactly*. But it would
still be totally objective and definable! A finite
algorithim can still *approximate* an uncomptable
> > But if the Omega Point condition holds for our
> > universe, then the function can be defined to be
> > one that a super-intelligence (Universal Mind)
> > hold, in the limit that the rate of information
> > processing was approaching infinity (Omega Point).
> > all concepts can be thought of as 'utility
> > in the universal mind.
> Again, circular logic. You define the universe as
> mind. Everything is
> in the universe (which equals mind, which equals
> universal mind).
> Therefore everything is in this universal mind.
> Therefore all concepts
> are held in this mind. Therefore a concept is what
> this universal mind
> holds. There are no definitions here. You are
> stating circular
> relationships and tautologies that do not
> distinguish between items
> within the definition and items without it.
What I said is not circular. I said that *if* the
universe is like a mind under certain conditions (and
I gave the Omega Point as the required condition
-mathematical limit), *then* we can define all
concepts as utility functions. This is definitely
saying something meaningful. It is stating the
condition required for concepts to be defined as
For instance I put forward as a proposition earlier
that any concept (and I gave 'beauty' as an example)
can be approximated by a computation (making
*concepts* identical to the *process* of computation).
I'm now stating the limiting condition required for
this to work ( the Omega Point )
> > * Propositions: All concepts in reality can be
> > interpreted as utility functions. 'Friendliness'
> is a
> > concept; therefore Friendliness is a utility
> This is not a proposition. You are labeling
> something with a name you
> want to call it. This is not the same thing as
> defining it or
> explaining it. A label is not a testable theory.
> There is no validity
> or truth test as to whether these things are what
> you say or not. You
> merely coined a term. Besides using circular logic
> to reach this
> point, you still haven't defined it. You merely
> labeled it.
No, I am saying that all concepts (like beauty) are
equiavlent to the *process* of computation which
generates an awareness of them in the mind of
sentients, in the limit that the Omega Point is
approached. This definitely has a precise technical
meaning and is falsifiable.
> > The class of friendly sentients appears to be
> > potentially infinite, making 'Friendliness' a
> > prospective attribute. Therefore the exact
> > Friendliness utility function is uncomputable.
> The first part of you sentence says "it appears...",
> then you jump to a
> more assertive "making...." Vague appearances
> don't make anything
> true. This argument is beyond weak. It doesn't
> actually explain
> anything at all.
I'm putting forward an axiom here. Argument require
assumptions. I'm simply stating an assumption. I say
that it seems likely that a endless diversity of
sentient minds is possible. This seems very
reasonable given that when we observe human beings, we
see that we are not all identical.
> The last sentence seem to sum up most of your
> "definition". Instead of
> giving a strong definition, you seem to be spending
> most of your words
> giving excuses for the weakness of any definition.
I'm putting forward reasonable assumptions, then
stating in general terms the conditions required for
them to work.
> > Therefore all finite approximations to
> > must have the property that they are recursive and
> > converge on the ideal utility function.
> The only thing you have defined in the end is that
> friendliness is
> recursive. This is not a definition either. It is
> an implementation
> method for encoding the process toward friendliness.
> This is about as
> useful as defining Bayes Theorem as being
> mathematical notation. It
> tells us how it is implemented or expressed, but
> tells us nothing about
> what you are implementing.
It does tell you something. I'm saying that the
mathematical function representing the Friendliness
program has the property that it is recursive.
> > Let Partial Friendly (PF) = finitely specified
> > approximation to the Friendliness function.
> > Omega Friendly (OF) = exact Friendliness
> > function (uncomputable)
> > PF must be a recursive function such that PF (PF)
> > outputs PF’ which approaches OF as number of
> > iterations approaches infinity.
> Assigning variables (or abbreviations) to terms
> sounds like a lead into
> a rigorous definition, like a mathematical formula
> or technical
> specification. But you fizzle off and don't
> actually use these
> abbreviations you define. They sound good, and look
> rigorous, but
> aren't actually used anything. This is about as
> useful as padding a
> glossary with technical words that aren't actually
> used. It adds
The terms are defining a particular kind of recursive
function. I'm assigning lablels to the particular
kind of recursive functions that I'm interested in -
namely the one's that approximate uncomputable
Remember, maths functions are equivalent to
So I'm actually labelling certain kinds of programs -
I'm giving a name to recursive programs that take in
particular other functions as input data and modify
them then give back the modified version as output.
> > Definition of Friendliness
> > A computable 'Friendly' function (PF) is a
> > which takes any finitely specified function
> Partial x
> > as input and modifies it such that the outputted
> > function Partial x' is a better approximation to
> > x. Successive output used as input for the next
> > iteration has to cause Partial x' to converge on
> > x as the number of iterations approaches infinity.
> This definition of "friendliness" merely says it is
> will have a
> recursive implementation. There is no definition
> here. You have
> described one attribute (recursiveness) of another
> (friendliness) without defining that other
> attribute. There is also no
> measurement method of friendliness here, to
> calculate how friendly we
> are getting. Nor is there a test to define whether
> we are friendly or
> Any recursive function, such as factorial, would
> seem to meet your
> definition above. As such, it fails to define or
> distinguish between
> friendly and non-friendly items.
Not so! A recursive function such as factorial does
not have the property that it takes in the particular
kind of functions I labelled as input data, modifies
them, then outputs the improved version.
The functions operated on by my Friendliness function
were defined to be a very particular kind of function.
Let's why I used the labels I did previously. It is
those specific functions that I defined and labelled
previously that my Friendliness function operates on.
Go back to the definition I gave. I defined a
'Partial function' to be a finite function which is an
*approximation* to an uncomputable function.
Then I said that what Friendly fuctions do is take in
these Partial Functions as input data, modify them and
then output improved versions. My 'improved' I mean
that the outputted Partial function is a closer
approximation to the uncomputable function that the
Partial function was approximating.
If you don't think my statements make precise
mathematical sense please continue to explain why not.
Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:50 MDT