Re: The Quest for the Purpose of Life

Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 14:18:45 MST

In a message dated 1/28/02 3:29:57 AM, writes:

>This is, imho, one of her major blunders. She claimed that an
>immortal robot would have no need for ethics and no standard of
>values. This speaks rather badly for our future SI, or even for
>ourselves. Values are a matter of choice of what one most cares
>about acheiving, not simply and only what one most needs to
>continue living when death is an alternative and the ultimate
>disvalue. Effectively immortal beings can thus also have values
>as can software and robotic sentiences.

Rand's terms are a little misleading here. "Values" means not
things you want, but things you *have* to want to be you.
(Also, "immortal" in this context means cannot die, not merely
eternally youthful or some such).

Translated into more conventional language, she's saying that
an immortal robot could choose any value set, and implying
that as a consequence its values would be bizzare and meaningless
and probably likely to become more so over time. Given that the robot was
non-reproductive, I would agree with her, and expect a universe
of such things to be filled with things chasing stuff like perfect
Go games and interesting methods to torture small animals.

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