RE: Free Will

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 18:38:47 +1000

I'm not sure if this is how the thread started, but any way, I'll jump in feet first:

Say you were a super super ... super intelligence (S^NI), modified beyond all comparison with the gaussian version of yourself. After a particular new modification to jump you up to a new level of intelligence, you find that you are so awesomely intelligent that you can predict with 99.99% accuracy the outcome of any action that you might consider, for a reasonably long period (longer than you'd need to be able to assess whether goals were met or not).

Also, you've got some kind of goal system which guides your decisions. Being as brilliant as you are, you find that you always come up with a clear goal mix in any situation. So you have quite solid criteria against which to judge possible action paths (This is implied by the above really, but I thought I'd spell it out here).

So what you find is that you have functionally lost free will. You always know what the correct decision is, at least to a high enough level of confidence that you cannot justify any other course. Your goal evaluation mechanism is really fed into by your decision making system (you set your own goals) so that is predetermined by your original goal state and the environment over time, both of which you have detailed knowledge regarding (ick! is english my first language?).

I would conjecture that in such a state, motivation would fall. Motivation seems based, at least to me, on the ability to attempt to realise your goals, which is ultimately about exercising your will, exerting it over the universe. If free will has dissapeared in a functional sense, what does continued action matter?

So you as an S^NI would either give up (functional/literal suicide) or dumb down, to recover free will, and so purpose, and so motivation, purely as a result of survival instinct.

Is there then a cap on how smart you can get before you self limit your mind? In any case, would this method work at all? Or would the cat be out of the bag? Would you find that the knowledge that you could function in a superior manner (having been proved by experience) take the wind out of the sails of you as an S^(N-1)I remove motivation anyway? For an intelligence like this, an essential ingredient in motivation must be pushing the limits of intelligence, else why would you have bothered to transcend in the first place?

Once you know that you have done all that you can do without losing your identity, do you lose all motivation, and thus identity, anyway?

Emlyn, S^(-N-1)I

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