From: Joshua Amy (
Date: Wed Aug 31 2005 - 01:26:23 MDT

>From: "Michael Vassar" <>
>Subject: Re: drives ABC > XYZ
>Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 22:06:14 -0400
>>We're already
>>assuming that. The A B C -> X Y Z example shows how, one step at
>>a time, the system can take actions that provide greater utility
>>from the perspective of its top-level goals, that nonetheless end
>>up replacing all those top-level goals.
>Well then, so long as the ultimate goals are higher utility, from the
>perspective of the original goals, than the original goals were, why is
>this a problem? A human would typically not be able to predict the long
>term expected utility of a change to its top level goals, but a FAI
>wouldn't make such changes unless it could.
>>Another question entirely is whether, if the AI is told to maximize
>>a score relating to the attainment of its top-level goals, and is
>>given write access to those goals, it will rewrite those goals into
>>ones more easily attainable? (We could call this the "Buddhist AI",
>>perhaps?) The REAL top-level goal in that case
>>is "maximize a score defined by the contents of memory locations X",
>>but it doesn't help us to say that "maximization" won't be replaced.
>>The kinds of goals we don't want to be replaced have referents
>>in the real world.
>This really is a very very old insight for this list. Try to familiarize
>yourself with the list archive or at least with the major articles. That
>really applies to everyone who hasn't done so. Suffice it to say that such
>concerns were addressed very thoroughly years ago.
>>You seem to be proposing that an AI will never make mistakes.
>In the human sense, yes. If an AI is superintelligent and Friendly for any
>significant time it will reach a state from which it will not ever make the
>sort of errors of reasoning which humans mean by mistakes. In fact, any
>well calibrated Bayesian built on a sufficiently redundant substrate should
>never make mistakes in the sense of either acting on implicit beliefs other
>than its explicit beliefs or holding a belief with unjustified confidence.
>Obviously, computing power, architectural details, and knowledge will
>determine the degree to which it will or will not act in the manner which
>actually maximized its utility function, but that is not what we humans
>mean by a mistake. We are used to constantly taking actions which we have
>every reason to expect to regret. A FAI shouldn't do that. This is an
>important distinction and not at all a natural one. It shouldn't be
>terribly shocking, but is. But by now we should be used to the idea that
>computers can perform long series of mathematical operations without error,
>and that performing the right long series of mathematical operations is
>equivalent to making a decision under uncertainty, so they should be able
>to make decisions under uncertainty without error, though due to the
>uncertainty such decisions will usually be less optimal that the decisions
>that would have been available given more information.
>>Making mistakes is a second way in which top-level goals can
>>drift away from where they started.
>Making sub-optimal decisions can cause top-level goals to drift, but this
>problem is absolutely unoavoidable, but should not be critical (and if it
>is critical, that is, fundamental to the way reason works, we will just
>have to do as well as we can). Account must be taken of it when designing
>an FAI, but this only requires an incremental development beyond that
>needed to protect it from Pascal's Wagers.

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