Re: language and friendliness

From: Chris Capel (
Date: Thu Dec 01 2005 - 09:37:59 MST

On 12/1/05, keith <> wrote:
> It might not be so easy to control a machine whose
> intelligence was based on language. Like in the novel 1984,
> the meaning of words can change. Just look at the US
> constitution.
> Perhaps language referring to objects and behaviors could be
> tied down. But all the really important language humans use
> refer to subjective feeling states, for which the machine
> might have no computational referents.

> If it has no aesthetics or goals of its 'own', other than
> the admonition 'be nice'. It could only know it was being
> 'nice' by interrogating individual humans that have the
> subjective capacity. The 'feelings' to know what 'nice' is.

> If we actually discovered what 'pleasure' was, and
> programmed the machine to take 'pleasure' in making humans
> 'feel nice', A friendly machine might engineer for us all a
> kind of heaven I guess.

> But perhaps a better goal, rather than friendliness, might
> be to strive to make humans wise. Even if most people
> 'prefer' their delusions. 'Prefer' their gods and their
> prejudices. Even if they don't actually 'like' the truth or
> wisdom very much.

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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