On 8/17/2012 12:51 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

I don't follow this.  Can you explain how?

If super intelligent aliens secretly came to earth and predicted your actions, how has that diminished the freedom you had before their arrival?

    Someone asked why this concept is important. It isn't for me, per se,
    but I would imagine that someone implementing an agent that must
    survive in a messy real world environment (eg an autonomous robot)
    will need to consider this issue, and build something like it into
    their robot.

I agree with Bruno. A mind can only be made less free if it is built from non-deterministic parts, it is less free to be itself in its full sense because with parts that do not behave in predictable ways, there is no way to perfectly realize a given personality. They will always have some level of capriciousness that will stand in the way of that person realizing the person they are meant/designed to be. The mind will never work perfectly as intended, at best it can only asymptotically approach some ideal.

That's an interesting take, but why isn't caprice part of a personality? What's the standard of "perfectly as intended" if the intention were to be upredictable? And given that one's knowledge is never complete, game theory shows that being able to make a random choice is optimum in many situations.

I do agree with Russell that there are evolutionary advantages for access to a source of good randomness. It would enable people to choose better passwords, be better poker players, pick lottery numbers with fewer collisions, and so on. But I am not convinced humans access to anything approaching a good random number generator.

But "good" is relative. Humans aren't very good at arithmetic either, but they can do it and it's useful.

If we did, I would see it more as a sense which is external to the mind. The mind could determinsitically decide to make use of inputs from this sense, but even if the mind never drew on this random oracle it would still be every bit as free to exercise its will.

I agree with that.


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