RE: Universalising an AGI's duty of care

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Jul 17 2005 - 21:58:39 MDT


Eliezer once made the wise point that, when we propose abstract goals like
"freedom, joy and growth" or "peace and love" or "truth, justice and the
American way" or whatever, we are using terms that are not precisely
defined -- and that are, in fact, defined only in terms of the whole human
culture and human psychology.

So if a future AGI is to impose abstract goals *in the way that we intend
them*, it either needs to keep us humans around as goal-interpreters, or it
needs to simulate the implicit judgment of human culture internally...

And if we're going to recommend to an alien civilization that it adopt some
goals we make up, we should remember that the alien civilization may not
actually have terms or concepts like our "freedom" , "joy", "growth",
"peace", etc. In order to explain what our goals mean to the aliens, we'll
need to steep them in the wonderful peculiarities of human culture and human
individual and collective psychology.

-- Ben

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Philip
> Sutton
> Sent: Sunday, July 17, 2005 9:00 PM
> To:
> Subject: Universalising an AGI's duty of care
> A lot of people are still framing their discussion of
> friendliness goals around
> prime consideration of humans.
> How about adopting another frame........
> I reckon we should start from the perspective of a person who is advising
> the makers of AGIs in another galaxy. What friendliness goals would we
> recommend that they adopt?
> Taking this perspective enables us to more easily and
> automatically think in
> a 'universal' way rather than being caught in the particularities
> of the earth
> and humans. If AGIs are capable of developing awesome powers to shape
> events in many parts of the universe than we should be concerned about
> the friendliness rules of AGIs originating in other parts of the
> universe. The
> rules that we would wish that these distant entities to
> incorporate in their
> AGIs might well cover much of the ground that we should incorporate in
> AGIs that we develop here.
> Cheers, Philip

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