Re: [sl4] Our arbitrary preferences (was: A model of RSI)

From: Matt Mahoney (
Date: Fri Sep 26 2008 - 15:50:08 MDT

--- On Fri, 9/26/08, Nick Tarleton <> wrote:

> > > > Could someone remind me again, what are we trying to
> > > > achieve with a singularity?
> > >
> > > The survival of some version of humanity. Beyond that, the usual
> > > eternal meaninful happiness and immortality
> > > stuff. Beyond that, we all disagree.
> >
> > We don't agree about the first part either. A
> > singularity could take many
> > forms that result in human extinction, extinction of
> > all DNA based life, or
> > extinction of all life (the latter being the only
> > stable attractor in an evolutionary process).
> Well, the entire point is to see that this doesn't happen.

Are you opposed to replacing the human race with superhuman AI whose ethical system approves of this replacement?

> > At best it will result in godlike intelligence that
> > (by definition) bears
> > little resemblance to humanity, and which will be
> > unobservable to any humans who are still present.
> You've completely lost me; why couldn't we observe
> a superintelligence?

For the same reason that insects can't observe human intelligence. How would you communicate with a superintelligence? You don't need to say anything because it can model your brain to know what you want. If it has something to say to you, it will just reprogram your brain to get the desired result. How do you know that all of your memories weren't just created one second ago?

Where do you think the universe you now observe came from? If it is a simulation (you don't know), then where did the superintelligence running the simulation come from? That is what I mean when I say you can't observe a singularity.

> > Furthermore, our quests for happiness and immortality serve
> > to increase our evolutionary fitness, but only if they cannot be
> > obtained.
> And?

And so we seek the optimal mental state of maximum utility and ultimate happiness, where any thought or perception would be unpleasant because it would result in a different mental state. How is that different from death?

-- Matt Mahoney,

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