Re: Please Re-read CAFAI

From: micah glasser (
Date: Thu Dec 15 2005 - 10:35:25 MST

I can't really say I disagree with much you've said here. I guess my point
was just that consciousness could turn out to be a necessary emergent
property of any sufficiently intelligent system.
To answer your question all that I mean by consciousness is the phenomenal
awareness of qualia, and by self conscious the phenomenal awareness of a
self. (I think Hume refutes himself on this point). Descartes's cogito is
really the only place from which to begin a rational discussion in my
opinion but this is off topic. The next issue I wish to address is your
stipulation that evolution is an intelligent process. Evolution does not act
according to a goal system which means that it is neither intelligent nor
conscious. Of course if one believes in some sort of theism then one would
say that evolution was exactly an intelligent process. I remain agnostic on
this point because I don't believe the possibility can be ruled out. At any
rate nature has only produced one entity that we know of with General
Intelligence and that is man. Man is a conscious and self-aware being. So it
is not to much of a stretch to suppose that consciousness and intelligence
are related.

On 12/15/05, Michael Vassar <> wrote:
> >Any intelligence which is conscious and aware of that consciousness
> >certainly would have a self.
> Huh? Hume and Siddhartha would beg to differ, but I would simply ask what
> you mean by "conscious" and why it is relevant to talk about
> "consciousness"
> when thinking about intelligences in general? Evolution is certainly an
> effective optimization process, but not a conscious one.
> The category "Intelligent Processes" is the super-category which includes
> both human minds and evolution, and processes as different from both as
> they
> are from one another, including all possible GAIs. Unless you understand
> that, anthropomorphising from your sense of what "conscious" implies is
> harmful to your understanding.
> >I argue that sufficiently
> >powerful AGI must have self consciousness because such an intelligence,
> in
> >order to be sufficiently intelligent, must be able to add its own agency
> as
> >one aspect of the system that it is modeling (reality).
> The above is all clearly true, but none of it implies anything like what
> the
> mental model of a "self" that you and many others seem to be
> using. Rather,
> an entity must model it "self" if it is to self-improve and if it is to be
> able to judge "improvements". The model it uses of its "self" may be
> identical to the model it would use for any process it found externally
> which behaved in the same manner and which it had the same information
> about, or at least far more similar than the model of self used by a human
> is to the human's other models.
> A strongly suspected feature of Intelligent Processes of sufficient power
> is
> that they will converge to a potentially Friendly and otherwise omnicidal
> "Really Powerful Optimization Processes" because consistant "improvement"
> requires a well-ordered preference structure.
> It is important to note that to a great extent "morality" is an attempt
> for
> agents with competing preference structures to generate a well ordered
> aggregate preference structure.
> >Now if this is true,
> >i.e. that real AGI must be self-aware, then it would be highly dangerous
> to
> >have a bunch of super intelligent AGI running around treating people as a
> >means to an end alone. Note that it is ok to treat a person as means to
> an
> >end as long as that action can be justified as also being an end in
> itself.
> >Also I contend that if an AGI is self-aware that it must be programmed to
> >understand that it is not just an individual but part of a collective
> which
> >is human civilization and part of its goal system should be in service to
> >this collective. This is not just true for machines but for people as
> well.
> Until you understand what powerful optimization processes are, you won't
> have any idea what "highly dangerous" means by SL4 standards.

I swear upon the alter of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny
over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson

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