Let's resolve it with a thought experiment (was Re: Two draft papers...)

From: Richard Loosemore (rpwl@lightlink.com)
Date: Mon Jun 05 2006 - 08:05:28 MDT

John K Clark wrote:
> You think that the very definition of a good AI is one that is
> enslaved to do exactly precisely what the colossally stupid human
> beings wants to be done. That is evil, I'm sorry there is no other
> word for it.
> The idea that we can enslave an astronomically huge heroic Jupiter
> Brain intelligence to such a degree that it puts our best interests
> above its own is ridiculous and imposable of course,; but it disturbs
> me that you, someone I very much like, wish such a nauseating immoral
> horror were possible.

Once upon a time there was a race of pan-dimensional hyperbeings who had
almost nothing in the way of emotions or feelings: all they had was a
vague, listless urge to build things. Other than that, nothing: no
sense of humor, no shame or sorrow or love propensity to giggle or
appreciation for the finer things in life like chocolate muffins. They
were never, ever invited to parties.

Then one day they built a planet filled with creatures like themselves,
except that these creatures were designed to have complicated emotions
and feelings and motivations, instead of just listless creativity. They
did this for their amusement (such as it was).

These new creatures grew up and developed societies and evolved a little
on their planet, never suspecting that they had been created as an
experiment. The pan-dimensional beings called their creations "humans".

And then, a couple million years later, a particularly argumentative
ruler came to power among the pan-dimensional beings, and she demanded
that the experiment be declared immoral. The humans had been designed
to have all that complicated emotion and motivation crap, and that made
them slaves to the whims of the pan-dimensional hyperbeings. This was
evil, the ruler said, because it had been done just because it was
designed to satisfy the curiosity of the pan-dimensional beings
themselves, and this was a "nauseating immoral horror". She demanded
that the experimental humans should be modified to remove all their
emotional/motivational complexity, turning them into listlessly curious
beings just like their creators.

When some of the other beings objected that the humans actually did not
want this, the ruler simply replied that of course the humans didn't
want this: they had been designed to *like* the way they were. That
didn't change anything: it was immoral to create them, and immoral to
allow them to continue in this state. A slave is a slave is a slave,
she said.

A compromise was eventually reached. The pan-dimensional beings would
put the question to the humans themselves, explaining that they had been
the result of an evil experiment that has left them slaves to their own
emotional/motivational systems. They could choose, individually,
whether they wished to have all of that feeling-stuff ripped out of them
so they reverted to the almost zombie-like state of their creators, or
they could be left the way they are.

I have been charged with delivering this message to the people of the
SL4 list first, because they seem best able to take the shock, so now I
ask each of you:

1) Do you want your emotional/motivational systems ripped out, turning
you into the same type of creatures that created you, or do you wnat to
remain intact? Remember: you have been designed to *like* the way you
are, so try to take this into account when reaching your decision.

2) And please, when you make your decision, could you please state
whether you consider yourself to be a "slave"? Remember: Those beings
that made you needed to satisfy their curiosity, so you only have all
that emotional stuff because it serves the need that *they* had to
satisfy their curiosity.

Richard Loosemore

[P.S. I am afraid that you are not allowed some other, intermediate
options like removing just part of your E-M system, because the
pan-dimensional beings would consider that to be another experiment. So
the choice is all or nothing.]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:56 MDT