[extropy-chat] Fools building AIs (was: Tyranny in place)

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Sun Oct 8 06:41:51 UTC 2006

On Oct 7, 2006, at 1:42 PM, Russell Wallace wrote:

> On 10/7/06, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:
> Russell, I am very surprised at you.  Almost no one here believes  
> that AGI is in some unknowably distant future.  I am certain you  
> know full well that it is not what the humans program the AGI to do  
> that is likely the concern.  Hell, if it was just matter of rot  
> programming the AGI to exterminate humans explicitly there would be  
> nothing to worry about and FAI would be easy!   In any field where  
> success is largely a matter of intelligence, information and its  
> timely application the significantly faster, brighter and more well  
> informed will exceed what can be done by others.  And that doesn't  
> even touch on the depth of Moravec's argument which you could easily  
> read for yourself.
> Samantha, recall that you are talking to one of the people who's  
> been actually working on this stuff.

Precisely why I was surprised to say the least.  I do not remember you  
being such a naysayer on the subject.

> The idea that human-equivalent AI is just around the corner was a  
> story we told ourselves because we wanted it to be true and we  
> didn't know enough about the problem to come up with any form of  
> realistic estimate, like the eighteenth century artisans who made  
> mechanical animals and imagined all the functionality of a real  
> animal might be just a little harder to do. In reality human- 
> equivalent AI is not one but several technological generations away,  
> each generation requiring a set of major related breakthoughs and  
> the development of an industry to follow through on them; and we'll  
> need to cover most of that distance before we know enough to do more  
> than philosophize about what might make an AI Friendly or Unfriendly.

That is one opinion.  I very much doubt it is that difficult.  Also  
did you factor in accelerating change fully in these "generations"?    
In some fields a generation is about a month long.

> This is not, mind you, a counsel of despair, nor a call to retreat  
> to narrow-AI projects of the kind we already know how to do. Smart- 
> tool AI in particular is, I think, only one generation away; it will  
> be harder to create than I once dreamed a Transcendent Power might  
> be, but _if_ we approach it in the right way, it looks just barely  
> doable. And smart-tool AI would suffice for a great deal; it looks  
> to me both necessary and sufficient for radical advances in  
> nanotechnology, life extension, space colonization.
> What is this blunt denial of the obvious about?
> It's about my opinion that real progress will be assisted if we  
> acknowledge reality and face up to the full complexity of the tasks  
> ahead of us, neither contenting ourselves with small narrow-AI  
> projects nor needing to believe in the modern-day equivalent of the  
> shoemaker's elves.

Eh, it is fun to attempt to build elves.    But I was talking there  
about denying that whether the AGI is "friendly" or not is a bit more  
difficult than merely refraining from explicitly programming in the  
goal of exterminating humanity.

- samantha

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20061007/397521a6/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list