Re: of possible interest: interaction with autonomous agents

From: justin corwin (
Date: Tue Jun 28 2005 - 11:48:55 MDT

On 6/28/05, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> wrote:
> That's an odd thing to say. Do you mean that all else being equal, you infer
> that people in more powerful positions are probably more intelligent? That is
> backed by the data. But do you mean that people in more powerful positions
> are by definition more intelligent? That in virtue of having more options,
> they are smarter? This would mean that I could stand outside an experiment
> and control someone's intelligence with a dial.

This is disingenous. No matter what intelligence is based on, if it
has a physical basis, you could experimentally control it with a dial.

It's also not true that powerful people simply have more options.
They're also exercising more options, which means a host of other
things, like owning good tools, getting better information, continuing
education, and possibly having underlings to assist them. These things
all have an effect on demonstrated intelligence, but perhaps not in a
static IQ test.

It's also important to note that intelligent behavior is affected by
good feedback and emotional reinforcement, both of which powerful
people get much more readily.

I suppose that puts me in weak agreement with your second
interpretation of Lee's statement. Powerful people have more
opportunity to be intelligent, and thus more of them are intelligent,
because of being powerful.

You could experimentally confirm this by testing or looking at the
tests of people who became powerful via no action of their own, like
hereditary wealth, random lottery, or battlefield promotion.

in active experimentation, you could just make random people powerful
for varying periods at varying levels and test before and after, if
there's a state lottery that would be willing to cooperate.

Justin Corwin

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