Re: AI Goals [WAS Re: The Singularity vs. the Wall]

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Apr 25 2006 - 08:23:59 MDT

> I think that the question of an AI's "goals" is the most important issue
> lurking beneath many of the discussions that take place on this list.
> The problem is, most people plunge into this question without stopping
> to consider what it is they are actually talking about.

Richard, this is a good point.

"Goal", like "free will" or "consciousness" or "memory", is

a crude abstraction that we use to describe certain aspects of a
complex cognitive system (the human mind/brain), but that does not
really fully describe these aspects correctly

An abstraction that some complex cognitive systems use as an
**ideal**, i.e. they try to modify themselves so as to be more
explicitly goal-oriented, never fully succeeding (at least in the
human case)

When I say that an AGI has certain goals, I don't necessarily mean
that the AGI is orienting all its actions toward these goals, just

* the statement that the AGI is "pursuing" these goals is a fair
approximation of its behavior

* the AGI is explicitly involved in an ongoing process of making
itself more goal-oriented so that it can better achieve these goals
which it explicitly conceptualizes

-- Ben G

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