[ExI] AI motivation, was malevolent machines

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 14 12:39:48 UTC 2014

Yes, most motivation is unconscious and introspection is fairly useless
(see lack of evidence for effectiveness of it for years of it on the
psychoanalytic couch).  Many psychologists (see Kahneman) believe that what
we do is to give reasons post hoc for our behavior.  One metaphor is that
we are the elephant's mahout and have some guidance, but the elephant goes
where it wants to, mostly - "I can't quit smoking, I can't lose weight..."
If you want to know yourself, look at your behavior - we are what we do.
bill w

On Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 11:57 AM, Robin D Hanson <rhanson at gmu.edu> wrote:

>  On Apr 13, 2014, at 12:48 PM, Rafal Smigrodzki <
> rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 4:48 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>wrote:
>> An interesting point that might help understanding is *why* we are
>> mostly not conscious of our motives.  Even if I am aware that I must
>> have this motivation for status seeking, it's an abstract intellectual
>> awareness, not a reason to get up in the morning.  There must be some
>> reproductive success element in not being aware of our own
>> motivations.  Perhaps we need to hide them even from the rest of our
>> minds to keep them from being too obvious to other social primates.
>>  ### Self-awareness of the type you mention is a neurological function.
> As such, for it to evolve, there must be genes directing biological events,
> and usage of metabolic resources for it to function. But, if self-awareness
> does not increase fitness, genes for it will not be selected, and if it
> does sometimes appear, it will be selected against to conserve energy.
> Generally, unless it's evolutionarily useful or a side-effect of something
> useful, it doesn't evolve, and if it does, it does not stay long, whatever
> it is.
>  I don't believe in the self-deception explanation, the idea that our
> true wicked self must be kept hidden from us to better lie to others. The
> truth does not *have* to be hidden, it just does not have a reason to be
> known to us. There is lack of selection for self-awareness about many
> levels of our motivations, rather than active selection against it.
>  Your argument works too well, as it is just as good a reason for us not
> to be consciously aware of anything we think or do. Yet lots of kinds of
> reasoning can apparently benefit from your being conscious of them, because
> then your conscious mind can help to assist to overcome obstacles and
> complexities. Why wouldn't the same thing be true for status seeking?
>   Robin Hanson  http://hanson.gmu.edu
> Res. Assoc., Future of Humanity Inst., Oxford Univ.
> Assoc. Professor, George Mason University
> Chief Scientist, Consensus Point
> MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
> 703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323
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