September 09, 2004

Friendly AIs

Steve ask the question "Can friendly AI evolve?".

I would like to comment on that, lengthly, so I decided to set a topic here, as he is around and this seems to be an Eclectic Thinkers topic.

First of all, the "us vs them " attitude is somehow overdone. There are people willing to create AIs with build-in evolution potential allowing even for confrontation with NIs (for Natural Intelligences). Else, the discussion would be inexistent. The segmentation between NI and AI is done essentially to give credit to the parents of AIs, in a world where technological achievements are mostly made for glory and/or money. At least for power.
So, let's keep in mind that there may be a secondary segmentation between NIs, a minority pro-AIs, those driven by Asimov's Frankenstein syndrome, afraid from machines, and all the others who haven't' even take time to think about it.

Self-preservation is build even in simple, non-intelligent systems, and this is due to human willing to preserve their realizations. Back-up (clone, mirror, whatever) is essential so one wouldn't have to re-iterate the same work a second time. I am sometimes puzzled from people who don't do that. I always considered this as being one of the first elements to build in any application. Thus it seems obvious that AIs will/should be self preserving.

This doesn't mean that they will have to compete with NIs.
If you are an IBM engineer we may be willing to see Deepest Blue win a chess tournament against a human Chess Master. That doesn't mean that Deepest Blue wanted to win the game. But then DB isn't intelligent either.
Competitions present at least two aspects: I am better then you and I own more then you. Both may be present in a single competition, say with a great material prize to win for the best competitor.
In a any case, power is what the best gain. Either directly as money to spend to control their environment, or indirectly, as they can influence the very same environment using their fame.
Do the NIs and AIs have to share the same environment? If yes, there will be some competition. Even if obviously there isn't any need to share a parcel, the power gained by the others will drive competition. The Google vs Microsoft vs Yahoo! situation is an example. Competition between Yahoo! and Google seems natural, as they share the same space. The entry of Microsoft in the domain is driven essentially by the will to preserve influence over internautes and don't let new actors gain enough power and be able to drive the public opinion, thus ensuring that the public opinion will be favorable to Microsoft.

Being selfish or selfless is a quite simple or complicated matter.
If you do have clearly defined goals and introduced your self-value it is easy to see if you should act egoistically or altruistically, depending of the overall gain. I would accept to die instantly if I had the assurance that every single HIV virions would disappear and don't be replaced by something worse.
I suppose that AIs would be at least during the first times simpler and thus more efficient then the actual NIs. Thus more selfless, understanding more clearly the need for personal sacrifice to improve the species survival.
As a matter of fact, most of the selfish attitudes inscribed in a social behavior tends to be based on the idea that the self-value is important for the community (which is not necessarily truth). I recently named this behavior the "Neo complex": I am the One, even if it isn't clear even for me how I will manage to save the World. Let ME see were the white rabbit goes...
I suspect that AIs will be able to develop such attitudes :-)

Now, let me know what do you think about those matters dear NI-fellows.

September 06, 2004

the quotebox

Very simple to understand what I mean to do opening this topic.

I consider myself a quotaholic. Almost Fetiche that of saying something with other person´s words just for the pleasure of using quotation marks. It feels better to the eye, and sounds better too. So I bookmark and archive quotes everywhere. Frustration goes hand in hand with achievement... Certainly, I have tons of quotes but not tons of situations to use them. Therefore I open this space.

Feel free to post those brilliant things dropped from you, too. No modesty, pliz.


stupidity vs evil


This link: The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity that Bill posted at Orkut in the "Life, definition" discussion, I have found it very interesting and a trigger of a common place in my conversation with friends. Generally, when a proper talk give space to it, I ask the following question:

  • "What do you prefer? Damage caused by stupid or evil people?(on you, close people or things, or just in general)

  • To clarify the question I will take the definition of the Third Law of Stupidity that the link above states:

  • "A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses. "

  • And I add: A evil person causes losses (in this category it is all implied with loose, pain, damage, harm, illness, etc) looking for some sort of gain, whether he finally can achieve it.

    H: harmfull, I: intelligent, S: stupid, B: bandit (evil)

    I would like to know what do you think. I deeply recommend that you read the link. After some posts I will tell you what are the answers I generally get from my question. In all cases, it always sparked interesting discussions.... let´s see what happens in this neck of the woods.

    September 05, 2004


    DNA testing made it easy to discover paternity in cases there is doubts.
    But there is a case where biotech is of no help and I would like to collect your opinions. Mine is already made, but new arguments could change it. So :

    Author MC describe in one of his books a character named MRS, inspired by a real lady, MFT.
    A few years later, MFT drops her real name and plan to publish a new book (her third one) using the MRS pseudonym!
    This is an excellent marketing movement, as MC is a much more popular author then MFT. But is it legal and/or moral?

    Let's leave the legal part to lawyers, they will have an interesting case there.
    What are your opinions from the moral point of view.

    More details, with the names in extenso for Multiply subscribers