Goals, but not football (was re: Happy Box)

From: Stuart Armstrong (dragondreaming@googlemail.com)
Date: Mon May 05 2008 - 02:59:32 MDT

> > No (super) goal is more "intelligent" than another
> But a dynamic goal structure is more intelligent (No quotation marks!)
> than a static one. Rocks have a very stable goal system but are not
> particularly smart.

Rocks have no goals (and if you think they do, can you justify this
surprising statement?)

I can imagine a human whose long-term goals change every day, on a
whim. I can imagine a human whose single overriding goal is to become
the vest conceptual artist the world has ever known. I fail to see how
we can declare the first one more intelligent than the last, without
more information.

Note that "being the best conceptual artist" is a very nice super-goal
to have, as what is needed for that changes constantly, as fashions,
times, and places change. There's no need for fixed goals to lead to
stasis; if you stretch the point a bit (a lot) and claim that the
"goal" of genes is to survive and multiply, then we have the most
dazzling variety being created from these simple unchanging goals.

Similarly, an AI with a goal like "ensure that every human being
survives, is happy and feels worthwhile, and beyond that obey human
instructions", would probably not stumble towards paralysis or rote,
even if that goal remains forever unchanged.


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