On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 6:57 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> silky wrote:
>> On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 6:08 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>
>> wrote:
>>> silky wrote:
>>>> I'm not sure if this question is appropriate here, nevertheless, the
>>>> most direct way to find out is to ask it :)
>>>> Clearly, creating AI on a computer is a goal, and generally we'll try
>>>> and implement to the same degree of computational"ness" as a human.
>>>> But what would happen if we simply tried to re-implement the
>>>> consciousness of a cat, or some "lesser" consciousness, but still
>>>> alive, entity.
>>>> It would be my (naive) assumption, that this is arguably trivial to
>>>> do. We can design a program that has a desire to 'live', as desire to
>>>> find mates, and otherwise entertain itself. In this way, with some
>>>> other properties, we can easily model simply pets.
>>>> I then wonder, what moral obligations do we owe these programs? Is it
>>>> correct to turn them off? If so, why can't we do the same to a real
>>>> life cat? Is it because we think we've not modelled something
>>>> correctly, or is it because we feel it's acceptable as we've created
>>>> this program, and hence know all its laws? On that basis, does it mean
>>>> it's okay to "power off" a real life cat, if we are confident we know
>>>> all of it's properties? Or is it not the knowning of the properties
>>>> that is critical, but the fact that we, specifically, have direct
>>>> control over it? Over its internals? (i.e. we can easily remove the
>>>> lines of code that give it the desire to 'live'). But wouldn't, then,
>>>> the removal of that code be equivelant to killing it? If not, why?
>>> I think the differences are
>>> 1) we generally cannot kill an animal without causing it some distress
>> Is that because our "off" function in real life isn't immediate?
> Yes.

Do does that mean you would not feel guilty turning off a real cat, if
it could be done immediately?

>> Or,
>> as per below, because it cannot get more pleasure?
> No, that's why I made it separate.
>>> 2) as
>>> long as it is alive it has a capacity for pleasure (that's why we
>>> euthanize
>>> pets when we think they can no longer enjoy any part of life)
> > This is fair. But what if we were able to model this addition of
> > pleasure in the program? It's easy to increase happiness++, and thus
> > the desire to die decreases.
> I don't think it's so easy as you suppose.  Pleasure comes through
> satisfying desires and it has as many dimensions as there are kinds of
> desires.  A animal that has very limited desires, e.g. eat and reproduce,
> would not seem to us capable of much pleasure and we would kill it without
> much feeling of guilt - as swatting a fly.

Okay, so for your the moral responsibility comes in when we are
depriving the entity from pleasure AND because we can't turn it off
immediately (i.e. it will become aware it's being switched off; and
become upset).

> > Is this very simple variable enough to
> > make us care? Clearly not, but why not? Is it because the animal is
> > more conscious then we think? Is the answer that it's simply
> > impossible to model even a cat's consciousness completely?
> >
> > If we model an animal that only exists to eat/live/reproduce, have we
> > created any moral responsibility? I don't think our moral
> > responsibility would start even if we add a very complicated
> > pleasure-based system into the model.
> I think it would - just as we have ethical feelings toward dogs and tigers.

So assuming someone can create the appropriate model, and you can
"see" that you will be depriving pleasure and/or causing pain, you'd
start to feel guilty about switching the entity off? Probably it would
be as simple as having the cat/dog "whimper" as it senses that the
program was going to terminate (obviously, visual stimulus would help
in a deterrent),  but then it must be asked, would the programmer feel
guilt? Or just an average user of the system, who doesn't know the
underlying programming model?

> > My personal opinion is that it
> > would hard to *ever* feel guilty about ending something that you have
> > created so artificially (i.e. with every action directly predictable
> > by you, casually).
> Even if the AI were strictly causal, it's interaction with the environment
> would very quickly make it's actions unpredictable.  And I think you are
> quite wrong about how you would feel.  People report feeling guilty about
> not interacting with the Sony artificial pet.

I've clarified my position above; does the programmer ever feel guilt,
or only the users?

> > But then, it may be asked; children are the same.
> > Humour aside, you can pretty much have a general idea of exactly what
> > they will do,
> You must not have raised any children.

Sadly, I have not.

> Brent


CHURLISH rigidness; individual tangibly insomuch sadness cheerfulness.
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