[ExI] Unfrendly AI is a mistaken idea.

A B austriaaugust at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 2 22:09:06 UTC 2007

Hi Stathis,

Stathis wrote:

> "Single-celled organisms are even more successful
> than humans are: they're
> everywhere, and for the most part we don't even
> notice them."

But if we *really* wanted to, we could destroy all of
them - along with ourselves. They can't say the same.

> particularly human level intelligence, is just a
> fluke, like the giraffe's
> neck. If it were specially adaptive, why didn't it
> evolve independently many
> times, like various sense organs have?

The evolution of human intelligence was like a series
of flukes, each one building off the last (the first
fluke was likely the most improbable). There has been
a long line of proto-human species before us, we're
just the latest model. Intelligence is specially
adaptive, its just that it took evolution a hella long
time to blindly stumble on to it. Keep in mind that
human intelligence was a result of a *huge* number of
random, collectively-useful, mutations. For a *single*
random attribute to be retained by a species, it also
has to provide an *immediate* survival or reproductive
advantage to an individual, not just an immediate
"promise" of something good to come in the far distant
future of the species. Generally, if it doesn't
provide an immediate survival or reproductive (net)
advantage, it isn't retained for very long because
there is usually a down-side, and its back to
square-one. So you can see why the rise of
intelligence was so ridiculously improbable.

 "Why don't we
> see evidence of it
> having taken over the universe?"

We may be starting to.  :-)

 "We would have to be
> extraordinarily lucky if
> intelligence had some special role in evolution and
> we happen to be the
> first example of it."

Sometimes I don't feel like ascribing "lucky" to our
present condition. But in the sense you mean it, I
think we are. Like John Clark says, "somebody has to
be first".

  "It's not impossible, but the
> evidence would suggest
> otherwise."

What evidence do you mean?

To quote Martin Gardner: "It takes an ancient Universe
to create life and mind". 

It would require billions of years for any Universe to
become hospitable to anyone. It has to cool-off, form
stars and galaxies, then a bunch of really big stars
have to supernova in order to spread their heavy
elements into interstellar clouds that eventually
converge into bio-friendly planets and suns. Then the
bio-friendly planet has too cool-off itself. Then
biological evolution has a chance to start, but took a
few billion more years to accidentally produce human
beings. Our Universe is about ~15 billion years old...
sounds about right to me. :-)

Yep, it's an absurdity. And it took me a long time to
accept it too. But we are the first, and possibly the
last. That makes our survival and success all the more
critical. That's what I'm betting, at least.


Jeffrey Herrlich 

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