Re: Donaldson, Tegmark and AGI

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sat Aug 12 2006 - 17:45:55 MDT

Russell Wallace wrote:
> On 8/12/06, Brian Atkins <> wrote:
>> I worry that subconscious factors involved with faith-based
>> reality-view belief systems could affect important decision making if one
>> were
>> not superhumanly vigilant in remaining unbiased.
> To expand a little on this: you remind me of a remark I think Eliezer made
> awhile back to the effect that religious belief puts an upper bound on
> rationality. I'm not sure the reverse isn't the case. It is true of course
> that some people hold irrational beliefs for religious reasons, the most
> notorious example in modern times being the creationism versus evolution
> debate. On the other hand it may be for some people that having a place to
> stand, so to speak, outside our world, may free them to look more
> objectively at empirical propositions within this world.
> ...

I would say in general my comment should apply to all faith-based views. If that
were the end of it, you might have a counterpoint. But my point is a constrained
case dealing specifically with existential risks. Stepping outside the
least-risky viewpoint temporarily, as a lark or creative aid, might still be
useful in such a case, but if you live there permanently and wholeheartedly
believe in a reality which provides for ultimate okayness despite a 99% failure
rate then we seem to be into unnecessary risk territory.

Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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