Re: AI boxing

From: Chris Capel (
Date: Thu Jul 21 2005 - 08:09:32 MDT

Am I missing something, or is this conversation about an exact retread
of old conversations on AI boxing? If I'm missing something, could
someone point out what it is? If not, could both the infidels and the
true believers please lay off?

Everyone is arguing against the other's subjective estimation of the
probability that a superhuman intelligence (something we have exactly
no experience with) could invoke unknown physics or advanced
psychology (something we have exactly no experience and a little
experience with, respectively) to escape a human-created box. Arguing
one's subjective impressions of the world against another's rarely
produces anything productive, except where anecdotes and thought
experiments can be useful. But in this case, no convincing thought
experiments can be made, because the point of the anti-box side is
that there are unknowns that we should be cautious about, and the
point of the pro-box side is that the unknowns aren't likely enough.
Anecdotes about unknowns are particularly poor in playing upon
people's beliefs.

This kind of thing has little chance of producing anything productive,
except perhaps that sometimes another person might be convinced by the
right side of the argument (whatever that is). Rarely are the people
arguing convinced, though. (I've never seen it.) When people keep
retreading old ground like this, it seems like the forum is broken.

I thought I'd get this in before the killthread, as I've never seen a
meta-discussion on AI-boxing, and it might be more fruitful than the
actual discussion.

Chris Capel

"What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it
like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?"
-- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)

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