Re: Plea (was ExI: Cognitive Extropians)

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 13:47:26 -0600

[Saith Lee Daniel Crocker:]
> ...And which is still nonsense. There is no "balance" any more than
> one can balance "green" with "loud". Reason and emotion are simply
> distinct things. They do not exist on the same scale to be balanced.
> They are incommensurable. Disjoints sets. Emotion exists, just as
> dice exist, LSD exists, and reason exists. But for the purpose of
> discovering the nature of reality, one must use reason /only/. Not
> "balanced" with emotion, dice, hallucinations or anything else. Of
> course, I like using dice for playing games, and I like using emotion
> for making life interesting. But not for discovering truth and making
> progress.

Just a gentle reminder that some emotions trigger specific cognitive
abilities, such as frustration->flaw-finding.

Also, goal and subgoal are cognitive mechanisms as well as survival
mechanisms. When thinking, you set out to solve a specific problem and
may even spin off sub-problems to be solved first. Since emotions are
the affective aspects of our goal systems, there may be ground for
thinking that a reasoning AI would require something recognizable as
emotional substrate, if none of the *specific* emotions we bear. I
don't know whether suppressing, repressing, mastering, understanding,
switching off, flexing, or ignoring one's emotions would affect
goal-oriented analysis. It seems to me that the mental systems for
evaluating the *value* of goals may well be intricately intertwined with
our evolved emotional sets.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.