Re: Hacking your own motivational and emotional systems, how dangerous?

From: James (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2007 - 18:56:45 MDT

From: Robin Brandt
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2007 6:49 AM
Subject: Hacking your own motivational and emotional systems, how dangerous?

>>>>I look very much forward to the possibility of replacing my Darwinian drives with a more beautiful, consistent, constructive and moral goal system!

I believe the Hierarchy of Motivation, proposed by arguably one of the worlds most famous psychologists, Abraham Maslow, is a concept that incorporates the "Evolutionary Drives" you refer too, and also the higher moral drives, or goals that can be considered "Beautiful." i.e. self-actualization, and his revised version, including self-transcendence .

  1.. Physiological
  2.. Safety
  3.. Love/Belonging
  4.. Esteem
  5.. Self-actualization
  6.. Self-transcendence

>>>>Of course you can already do this to a certain level with your own will, reflectivity and discipline. But you can't reach into your own super goal space, of course, since it would not be a good adaption.

His diagrammatic goals system portrays a potential starting point from which to work with (or change) and I suppose it would be hypothetically possible to advance, or strive to complete or focus on one particular drive. In fact, Carl Rogers' inspiring book On Becoming a Person is notable for describing a potential system in which to help others ascend our motivation system.

>>>>This relates to AI reflectivity and the friendliness stability issue. But here the question is about multiple minds that already have a human goal system to begin with.

I believe that concerning the development of AGI, a more clear understanding of the human motivational system could potentially be included into a concept of friendliness. I base this on the idea that if animals have a basic version of our motivational system, i.e. the establishment of basic survival needs, but not the higher/human portions, such as self-actualization or self-transcendence, then an even higher system may include our motivational system, plus include some higher order goals.

What might these higher goals include? We'll, if our motivational goal-system caps out at self-transcendence, then perhaps thereafter more global goals are aimed for. For a super-intelligent system, this could include thinking about more then the survival one oneself, and more upon the safety, survival, happiness, of the species as a whole. (Has a categorization of super-intelligent goal system been subject to recent discussion?)


Koltko-Rivera, M. E. (2006). Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification. Review of General Psychology , Vol 10 (4), 302-317.

Rogers, C. R. (1961). On Becoming a Person. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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