Re: Measuring (quantifying) morality?

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Fri Aug 25 2006 - 12:27:04 MDT

At 09:03 AM 8/25/2006 -0700, Eliezer wrote:

>I don't really think that beauty should really be measured in
>millihelens either, but I still think it's funny.

Mildly, sure. Quick grin, move along.

>Same principle.

I don't think so. But then nobody seems to have noticed that my
original waspish comment was also a joke, whimsy with a razor blade.
The trouble with any discussion from this point on is that we are
both murdering butterflies with machine guns. But to do so for a
moment: the deep background to my little joke was that way back in
the day, when you were "not a teenager", in documents that are
probably no longer accessible on the net, you asserted with your
typical immense confidence that morality was indeed surely universal,
and that (if I recall correctly) the solution to a benevolent machine
intelligence was to guide it towards this Universal Morality, or at
any rate to encourage it (ver) to find that truth for itself
(verself). A number of people, including me, explained why this was a
rather daft idea that completely missed the point. Sometime later,
you abandoned this opinion. It is therefore rather entertaining, if
not thigh-slapping, to see you making a joke that dubs those who pant
after morality as morons. Thud. Apologies to everyone for the
appallingly heavy-handed exegesis.

>Give me a break, Damien! How intelligent do you think *you* would
>have to be, before you were so intelligent that *every single one*
>of your jokes was necessarily a creation of deeply subtle wisdom?

Sufficiently, I hope, to notice when my little joke, apparently at
someone else's expense, came back to bite me on the ass. This is an
equal opportunity comment.

>how would *you* feel if *I* insisted on interpreting every one of
>your jokes as meaningful?

But they are, and hilarious as well.

Damien Broderick

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