Re: Why friendly AI (FAI) won't work

From: Harry Chesley (
Date: Wed Nov 28 2007 - 18:43:29 MST

Robin Lee Powell wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 28, 2007 at 08:49:39AM -0800, Harry Chesley wrote:
>> First, to be useful, FAI needs to be bullet-proof, with no way for
>> the AI to circumvent it.
> If you're talking about circumvention, you've already missed the
> point. An FA no more tries to circumvent its friendliness then you
> have a deep-seated desire to want to slaughter babxes.
>> This equates to writing a bug-free program, which we all know is
>> next to impossible.
> I don't know who "we all" is there, but they are wrong.
> It's hard, and requires concerted effort, but when was the last time
> you hard of a bug in an air traffic control program? It happens, but
> it's an extremely rare thing isolated to *particular* ATC programs;
> most of them are basically bug free. Same with the space shuttle.
> Same with most hospital equipment.

Those techniques work when you have a very well-defined specification of
the application you're developing, and when you're willing to put lots
of resources into making the implementation correct. Do you really
believe that the AIs created in some random research lab or some garage
will meet either of those criteria?

>> Second, I believe there are other ways to achieve the same goal,
>> rendering FAI an unnecessary and onerous burden. These include
>> separating input from output, and separating intellect from
>> motivation. In the former, you just don't supply any output
>> channels except ones that can be monitored and edited.
> OMFG has that topic been done to death. Read the archives on AI
> boxing.

And nothing that I've read about it has yet convinced me. What I've seen
seems to come down to one of two arguments: 1) Intelligence is like a
corrosive substance that will leak out, overflow, or corrode any
container. This seems too simplistic an argument to me. Intelligence is
far to complex to be analyzed as a commodity. Or 2) intelligence is
anthropomorphic in that, like us, it will never stand for being boxed up
and, being so very smart, will figure out a way out of the box. That
strikes me as too anthropomorphic. (Anthropomorphism has its place, but
every part of it is not a required part of every AI.) Nor do I buy the
argument that a super-AI can talk its way out. (I'll leave out 3) that
it will take over the world to get more computing power, since, although
an entertaining thought, I don't see it as a serious scenario, more like
the plot to a science fiction novel -- oh, wait, it's already been done,
The God Machine by Martin Caidin.)

> Why should we go to the effort of doing your research for you? How
> arrogant is *that*?

Please don't do any more than you feel like. But please do understand
that my questions to this list are not just an attempt to stir up the
ant hill (tempting though that may be). I am actively working on AI, and
though I'm unlikely create a singularity, I do feel I should worry about
these issues. At present, my AI architecture has no facilities for FAI
as discussed here because I think it's a waste of time.

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