[ExI] Losing control (was: Unfrendly AI is a mistaken idea.)

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Jun 18 03:29:09 UTC 2007

On Jun 17, 2007, at 3:06 PM, Jef Allbright wrote:

> On 6/17/07, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:
>> On Jun 17, 2007, at 1:02 AM, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
>>>> o.
>>> Cheap slogan.  What about five-year-olds?  Where do you draw the  
>>> line?
>>> Someone says they want to hotwire their brain's pleasure center;
>>> they say they think it'll be fun.  A nearby AI reads off their brain
>>> state and announces unambiguously that they have no idea what'll
>>> actually happen to them - they're definitely working based on
>>> mistaken expectations.  They're too stubborn to listen to warnings,
>>> and they're picking up the handy neural soldering iron (they're on
>>> sale at Wal-Mart, a very popular item).  What's the moral course of
>>> action? For you?  For society?  For a superintelligent AI?
>> Good question and difficult to answer.  Do you protect everyone  
>> cradle
>> to [vastly remote] grave from their own stupidity?  How exactly do
>> they grow or become wiser if you do?  As long as they can recover
>> (which can be very advanced in the future) to be a bit smarter I am
>> not at all sure that direct intervention is wise or moral or best for
>> its object.
> Difficult to answer when presented in the vernacular, fraught with
> vagueness, ambiguity, and unfounded assumptions. Straightforward when
> restated in terms of a functional description of moral
> decision-making.
> In each case, the morality, or perceived rightness, of a course of
> action corresponds to the extent to which the action is assessed as
> promoting, in principle, over an increasing scope of consequences, an
> increasingly coherent set of values of an increasing context of agents
> identified with the decision-making agent as self.

Do you think this makes it a great deal clearer than mud?  That  
assessment, "in principle" over some increasing and perhaps unbounded  
scope of consequences pretty well sums up to "difficult to answer".     
You only said it in a fancier way without really gaining any clarity.

> In the context of an individual agent acting in effective isolation,
> there is no distinction between "moral" and simply "good."

Where are there any such agents though?

>  The
> individual agent should (in the moral sense), following the
> formulation above, take whatever course of action appears to best
> promote its individual values.  In the first case above, we have no
> information about the individual's value set other than what we might
> assign from our own "common sense"; in particular we lack any
> information about the relative perceived value of the advice of the
> AI, so we are unable to draw any specific normative conclusions.


> In the second and third cases above, it's not clear whether the
> subject is intended to be moral actor, assessor, or agent (both.)
> I'll assume here (in order to remain within practical email length)
> that only passive moral assessment of the human's neurohacking was
> intended.
> The second case illustrates our most common view of moral judgment,
> with the values of our society defining the norm.

I am a unclear those are well defined.

> Most of our values
> in common are encoded into our innate psychology and aspects of our
> culture such as language and religion as a result of evolution, but
> the environment has changed significantly over time, leaving us with a
> relatively incoherent mix of values such as "different is dangerous"
> vs. "growth thrives on diversity" and "respect authority" vs. "respect
> truth", and countless others.  To the question at hand we can presume
> to assign society's common-sense values set and note that the
> neurohacking will have little congruence with common values, what
> congruence exists will suffer from significant incoherence, and the
> scope of desirable consequences will be largely unimaginable.   Given
> this assessment in today's society, the precautionary principle would
> be expected to prevail.

Really?  That principle is not held in high esteem around here.  I  
would point out that roughly the same argument is put forward to  
justify the war on some drugs.

> The third case, of a superintelligent but passive AI, would offer a
> vast improvement in coherence over human capacity, but would be
> critically dependent on an accurate model of the present values of
> human society. When applied and updated in an **incremental** fashion
> it would provide a superhuman adjunct to moral reasoning. Note the
> emphasis on "incremental", because, because coherence does not imply
> truth within any practical computational bounds.

Assuming that the SAI really had a deep understanding of humans then  
perhaps.  But I am not at all sure I would want to live in the  
ultimate nanny state.   Most likely that statement qualifies me for a  
major psychological adjustment come singularity.   Are you sure that  
forceful intervention is justified by an increasingly nuanced moral  
reasoning?  Within what limits?

Still scans as difficult to answer.

- samantha

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