RE: Cats, was I am a moral, intelligent being

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2006 - 09:39:09 MDT

It seems to me that all that you are saying is that FAI cannot grant all of
the possible desires of biologically and culturally unmodified humans
forever. Lack of omnipotence-in-principle is not a failure of Friendlyness.

>From: Keith Henson <>
>CC: ExI chat list <>
>Subject: Cats, was I am a moral, intelligent being Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2006
>05:06:04 -0400
>At 01:37 AM 6/7/2006 -0400, Michael Vassar wrote:
>>Yes analogies are always suspect...
>>And existance proofs really do always demonstrate possibility...
>>So so long as the existance proof is valid and people really *can* want to
>>remain moral and become more intelligent the analogy is simply a waste of
>>our time.
>>If you want to get serious, at the very least you have to make a serious
>>case that the robustness of human morality under carefully considered and
>>bias corrected self-modification has not been adequately demonstrated (or
>>that human morality is not robust under bias correction) and give us some
>>reason for seriously doubting it. Succeed in that and you still won't
>>have prooved that Friendlyness is impossible, you will just be in a
>>position analogous to those who claimed that heavier than air flying
>>machines capable of lifting humans are impossible rather than that of
>>those who claim that NO object of any size or with any other
>>characteristics can fly.
>I am sorry to say I don't understand the basis of your complaint against my
>"The dire reality is that reproduction cannot be unlimited in a limited
>world--so we go *SNIP* to cat gonads. This is good from the moral
>viewpoint of a substantial majority of humans."
>(I should correct the above to a substantial fraction of western culture
>My point was that more intelligent AIs or upgraded humans may have a
>different view of what is moral as we have a different view of what is
>moral compared to cats. If you upgraded a cat to human level intelligence
>would it think controlling the population of regular cats the way we do was
>moral? (I have no idea.)
>I certainly had no intent to prove Friendlyness impossible either. I would
>be more inclined to attempt to prove it possible or even likely. But I do
>think Friendly AIs will have to make some hard decisions if unmodified
>humans remain in the world--analogous to the decisions we make about cats
>and for the same reason.
>I think you may be objecting to my word use. The word "solved" (in
>quotes) was in the literary device sense i.e., for the story. I make no
>claims at all about this being a solution for the real world outside the
>Though it does have the flavor of what we do with cats . . . .
>Keith Henson
>PS. If the list snippers clip it, we should move this to the extopy-chat
>list. In preparation I will cc that list.
>>>From: Keith Henson <>
>>>Subject: Re: I am a moral, intelligent being (was Re: Two draft papers:
>>>AI and existential risk; heuristics and biases)
>>>Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2006 21:53:24 -0400
>>>At 09:46 AM 6/6/2006 -0700, robin wrote:
>>>>It blows my mind that any intelligent and relevantly-knowledgeable
>>>>person would have failed to perform this thought experiment on
>>>>themselves to validate, as proof-by-existence, that an intelligent
>>>>being that both wants to become more intelligent *and* wants to
>>>>remain kind and moral is possible.
>>>>Really bizarre and, as I said, starting to become offensive to me,
>>>>because it seems to imply that my morality is fragile.
>>>Analogy is always suspect, but consider cats. We treat them as morally
>>>as we can.
>>>The dire reality is that reproduction cannot be unlimited in a limited
>>>world--so we go *SNIP* to cat gonads. This is good from the moral
>>>viewpoint of a substantial majority of humans.
>>>But I have my doubts about how the cats feel about it. At least it is my
>>>observation that intact cats have more interesting personalities.
>>>I "solved" this problem in the fiction I have been writing by putting
>>>rules on the AIs that they would analyze as being such a good idea they
>>>would not want to do otherwise. Namely, no reproduction inside uploaded
>>>simulations and no food production by the AIs outside the simulations.
>>>And the simulations were so attractive compared to the real world that
>>>the big problem was getting enough people to have children in the
>>>physical world to keep up a remnant population.
>>>(The AIs were constructed without the desire to reproduce and were only
>>>brought into existence by physical state humans.)
>>>Keith Henson

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