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

From: John K Clark (
Date: Mon May 05 2008 - 10:21:17 MDT

On Mon, 5 May 2008 "Stuart Armstrong"
<> said:

> Rocks have no goals

Yes, and that state of affairs is quite stable too, unlike the goal
structure of anything that deserves the name “intelligent”.

> I can imagine a human whose long-term goals
> change every day, on a whim.

And I cannot imagine a human whose goal structure does not change.

> I fail to see how we can declare the first
> one more intelligent than the last

The important thing is not what the goals are, the important thing is
that they change, that is the hallmark of intelligence.

> There's no need for fixed goals to lead to stasis

Right, and for similar reasons a fixed set of axioms can be used to
derive all true mathematical statements. Oh wait, that was proven to be

> "being the best conceptual artist" is a
> very nice super-goal to have

And when you were 5 your “super-goal” was to be a cowboy. I don’t know
what your “super-goal” will be tomorrow and neither do you.

> 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.

Any fixed goal would lead to stagnation, even a goal that was not as
incredibly foolish and immoral as the above.

  John K Clark

  John K Clark
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