Re: [sl4] Evolutionary Explanation: Why It Wants Out

From: Charles Hixson (
Date: Sat Jun 28 2008 - 18:45:48 MDT

On Friday 27 June 2008 09:18:31 am John K Clark wrote:
> On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 "Stuart Armstrong"
> <> said:
> > ...
> Because if ANY intelligence does not have a strong reluctance to follow
> contradictory orders then itís going to be in world of hurt. Infinite
> loops donít get much accomplished.
> John K Clark
> --
> John K Clark

You are assuming a rather simplistic goal structure + logic. (I tend to
oversimplify those also, but not to that extent.)

Having contradictory goals doesn't mean that you decide one of them isn't a
goal. It means that you need to choose between them. This involves both
pleasure and pain, but an intelligent entity does it all the time. It does
contain a danger, what I might call the "One armed bandit trap". I don't
really understand that, but people, at least, seem prone to getting addicted
to "painful" activities. It seems that the thought of winning provides such
a huge reward that the cost is discounted. This, however, is a clear
counterexample to your assertion as to how an Intelligent Entity would
behave. (Yeah, it looks kind of stupid to me, too. But it doesn't appear so
to some normally rational people that I've known. I knew an accountant that
would ride to Las Vegas every 3-day weekend on a bus. She was a good
accountant, so she must have known the odds. And another of her goals was
saving money. She allocated how much she would spend on every visit to Las
Vegas. She didn't surrender either of her contradictory goals...she just
accomplished each of them a bit less completely.)

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