Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Brent Meeker writes:
> I agree with everything you say, and have long admired "The
Hedonistic > Imperative". Motivation need not be linked to pain, and
for that matter > it need not be linked to pleasure either. We can
imagine an artificial > intelligence without any emotions but
completely dedicated to the > pursuit of whatever goals it has been
set. It is just a contingent fact > of evolution that we can
experience pleasure and pain.
I don't know how you can be sure of that. How do you know that being
completely dedicated is not the same has having a motivating emotion?
My computer is completely dedicated to sending this email when I click
Actually, it probably isn't. You probably have a multi-tasking operating system which assigns priorities to
different tasks (which is why it sometimes can be as annoying as a human being in not following your
instructions). But to take your point seriously - if I look into your brain there are some neuronal
processes that corresponded to hitting the "send" button; and those were accompanied by
biochemistry that constituted your positive feeling about it: that you had decided and wanted to hit the
"send" button. So why would the functionally analogous processes in the computer not also be
accompanied by an "feeling"? Isn't that just an anthropomorphic way of talking about satisfying
the computer operating in accordance with it's priorities. It seems to me that to say otherwise is to assume
a dualism in which feelings are divorced from physical processes.
Surely you don't think it gets pleasure out of sending it and
suffers if something goes wrong and it can't send it? Even humans do
some things almost dispassionately (only almost, because we can't
completely eliminate our emotions)
That's crux of it. Because we sometimes do things with very little feeling,
i.e. dispassionately, I think we erroneously assume there is a limit in which
things can be done with no feeling. But things cannot be done with no value
system - not even thinking. That's the frame problem.
Given a some propositions, what inferences will you draw? If you are told there is a
bomb wired to the ignition of your car you could infer that there is no need to do
anything because you're not in your car. You could infer that someone has tampered with
your car. You could infer that turning on the ignition will draw more current than
usual. There are infinitely many things you could infer, before getting around to,
"I should disconnect the bomb." But in fact you have value system which
operates unconsciously and immediately directs your inferences to the few that are
important to you. A way to make AI systems to do this is one of the outstanding problems
out of a sense of duty, with no
particular feeling about it beyond this. I don't even think my computer
has a sense of duty, but this is something like the emotionless
motivation I imagine AI's might have. I'd sooner trust an AI with a
matter-of-fact sense of duty
But even a sense of duty is a value and satisfying it is a positive emotion.
to complete a task than a human motivated
by desire to please, desire to do what is good and avoid what is bad,
fear of failure and humiliation, and so on.
Yes, human value systems are very messy because a) they must be learned and b)
they mostly have to do with other humans. The motivation of tigers, for
example, is probably very simple and consequently they are never depressed or
Just because evolution came
up with something does not mean it is the best or most efficient way of
But until we know a better way, we can't just assume nature was inefficient.
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