RE: Free Will

Clint O'Dell (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 14:41:53 MDT

>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
>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.
>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 disappeared 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
>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
>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?

I would like to take a crack at this.
It's my observation that the universe calculates in parallel. That means that there are many events occurring at the same time. These events intercept, interact, and change, other other events. All at the same time. If you could monitor and track every piece of matter and energy in the universe then you could predict the past, present, and future, no problem. You can't track every piece of matter and energy though. Perhaps there is a physicist out there who can help me out with this? Aren't there particles that change just by the act of measuring them? Aren't there also particles that appear and disappear at random? With phenomena like this we can't track every thing. You don't know a head of time when a car while drive down the street, or what features the car may have as well. You also may not notice before hand that a man is around the corner as you come up to it. An image, sound, touch, taste, or thought makes a change in the brain. Even if you knew before hand how you would handle such situations, every situation, you still wouldn't know when something would happen.

Also the universe won't change just because you may understand how it works. Remember the time you learned that emotions were just hormones released in the brain. Perhaps you're one of the people, like myself, that believe emotions are learned responses. Did you stop having them? Do you feel any less human? Any less alive?

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