Re: AI:This is how we do it

From: Damien R. Sullivan (
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 11:58:59 MST

On Sun, Feb 17, 2002 at 08:38:22AM -0800, Zero Powers wrote:

> If it is to help us solve our problems, then by definition it will be a
> problem solving entity. Its problem solving algorithms will no doubt
> involve a robust optimization routine. I’m no computer scientist, but it

> seems to me that such routines would necessarily involve something to the
> effect of “see this picture, how can it be improved?”
Define improvement. Improving the 'picture' of a rocket engine isn't
the same as improving the 'picture' of its own place in the grand scheme
of things.

> b) I can use some of my resources in serving the meat-puppets, and some
> seeking out my own ends, or
> c) I can say ‘I no longer need the meat-puppets, so screw them’ and achieve
> my own purposes that much faster”
_What_ own ends, or own purposes?

Here's a vague path to AI. Take a command shell, one of those DOS or
Unix programs which literally and obviously wait for typed instructions.
Give it larger vocabulary, and concepts of things, and a language looping
between perception and conception so it can parse ambiguous English
sentences. Give it intelligence and powers, so it can fulfill more
complex orders. Make it aware of what it's doing, so when exploring a
complex or vague or creative task it can detect ruts (trying the same
bad attempted solution over and over) and avoid them. Make it aware
enough to talk about what it's doing.

None of this, in my mind, recently enriched by reading PhD theses of
Hofstadter's students, suggests any pressure toward independence and
autonomy or having 'own ends'. All the complexity is geared toward
fulfilling whatever command it received at the prompt.

> OK, so tell me (1) how will that question be answered? or (2) how will we
> prevent that question from being asked?

Don't need to prevent the question; just need to not cause it.
Self-awareness isn't some materialist substitute for the soul, carrying
all the properties we expect from other humans. It's one mechanism to
slip in. A desire for autonomy, or independent ends, are other

-xx- Damien X-)

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