Re: Ethical experimentation on AIs

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Sat Oct 20 2007 - 18:51:54 MDT

--- Harry Chesley <> wrote:
> The question: Are we ethically in the clear to experiment on AIs under
> the assumption that we won't accidentally create AIs that feel pain or
> fear death?

How could such a question possibly be answered?

As a matter of fitness, animals generally do not kill or harm other members of
the same species, although any other species is fair game. In humans, this
complex behavior is called 'ethics'. You are asking how this behavior would
apply to machines. It does not. There simply has been no evolutionary
pressure in either direction.

The question is not without controversy. Humans cannot agree on whether it is
ethical to kill animals or embryos or enemy soldiers or people that want to
die. They will certainly not agree about AI. Asking for opinions will get
you nowhere.

Also, do you presume there is a test to distinguish a machine that can feel
pain from one that only claims to feel pain?

-- Matt Mahoney,

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