Re: My view of recent events

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Sat Sep 02 2006 - 00:23:06 MDT

I took a few minutes to google Richard
Loosemore's credentials, as best I could. He
spoke at the AGIRI Workshop this May, and was
Director of Research at an outfit called
Starbridge Systems. Now, for all I can tell from
over here, the Workshop was an open mic session,
and Starbridge Systems only had three employees
(look at me, I was once Production Manager at
Woods Hole Weekly, but when the staff will all
fit in an elevator, you can give yourselves
titles like General, Baron, and Lord High if you
please). Point is, though, I have never read
Judgement Under Uncertainty, though I suppose I
ought, and if Loosemore is a BS artist, he's a BS
artist with some working papers and at a level
above my expertise in this field. In most matters
my personal BS detector is about state of the
art, but in SL4 it is at its redline most of the
time. I accept this.

While I'm agnostic about whether Loosemore lied
or exaggerated concerning his cog sci
credentials, I will mention the obvious fact that
careers and reputations in science have been
destroyed by getting caught in a lie, and that is
as it should be. If anything, it should happen
more, and in more fields. If politicians,
lawyers, CEO's and priests all had to go about
their business with wireless polygraph equipment
on their clothing at all times, in constant fear
of becoming unemployable known liars, there'd be
far less 'evil' in the world. If we can strip a
bicyclist of his medal for failing urine tests,
how can we countenance the incredibly suicidal
practice of letting detectable liars make
decisions about life, death, war and extinction?

In this matter I give Eliezer the benefit of
every doubt, because when I do understand him, I
find his reasoning elegant enough to remind me of
Pythagoras. Of all the brilliant AI researchers
who might have conceived the urgent primacy of
Friendliness as a core principle rather than an
add-on, it was Eliezer Yudkowsky who actually
thought of it. If that was the only good idea
Eliezer ever had, it would still put him ahead of
such shining intellects as Bill Joy, whose
thinking runs a bit like this: "The future
doesn't need us; oh, bother, we're all screwed! I
think I'll build a fifty million dollar yacht."

Tom Buckner

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