electronic intelligence and ethics

From: Zero Powers (zero_powers@hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Feb 22 2000 - 14:16:23 MST

Following up on QueeneMuse's interesting question about what the uploading
experience will be like, one of the things I wonder about is what sort of
life we (plain, trans-, or post-)humans will be allowed by the electronic
intelligences (I prefer the term EI to AI) once they take over. That will
depend, of course, on the nature of their ethical or moral systems. I think
it's a safe bet to say that they will be driven by a desire to acquire and
analyze data. I believe they will pick up the baton and run with the human
scientific attempt to formulate a grand unified theory of everything.

But what else (if anything) will motivate them? Will there be any "good"
for them other than information? Any "evil" other than ignorance? Will
they care at all about such trivialities as emotion, fairness, compassion
and pain? Whether or not I want to survive the ascendancy of strong EI will
depend largely upon this question. Unfortunately I'll never know the
answers unless and until I survive to that time. Or unless I am persuaded
by the musings of this list. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

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