Re: Ethics

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 17:45:48 MST

--- David Clark <> wrote:
> > The notion of "sentience", when closely
> examined,
> > turns out to mean nothing other than "human",
> > so it is not a useful qualification.
> Totally true. Why would an intelligent silcon
> based AI need to think or act
> like a human to be considered "a self aware
> independant entity".
> -- David Clark
Phil and David, I find I agree with everything
you say here, except this last bit. When I think
of "sentience" I start with humans, but I am not
in a hurry to exclude the larger apes or the
whales, and I would consider any AI as smart as
us to be sentient even if it is very different.

As for democracy, I have elsewhere noted that
political systems are based on the popular
science of the time they were invented, which is
to say thay they tend to be a generation or so
behind the cutting-edge science of the time. Marx
based his ideas on Darwin, among other things,
and produced a flawed system (communist societies
produce information bottlenecks at the top levels
of decision makers, and by centralizing power
they make dictatorships inevitable).

American-style democracy was invented in the
mid-18th century, based on scientific ideas
existing prior to that, and likewise has
'security holes' which leave the door open to
various ills.

I elsewhere proposed a new political model based
on a more modern understanding that any social
system is a form of software, and needs to be
debugged and proofed against 'hacking' such as
vote fraud and propagandization of the stupider
voters. I call it the Random Mandarin system, and
in essence calls for a 'jury pool' of candidates
who have passed intelligence and psychological
tests. (I am convinced that there are quite a few
sociopaths in high places who would be outed by
PET scans). From this pool office holders would
be chosen randomly. Elaborate measures would be
taken to ensure random choice of qualified
candidates, and tampering with the random choice
mechanism would be a very severe crime (more akin
to murder than petty theft; one of the real flaws
of our system is that assaults on the system's
integrity are treated like jaywalking when the
consequences can easily cost thousands of lives).

However, such a system would be obviated by the
ascension of transhumans or SAI. That, plus the
fact that the powers-that-be would make sure it's
never adopted, is why I don't proselytize it a
lot harder.

Tom Buckner

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