Re: Why Not a Planet Of The Apes?
Mon, 9 Jun 1997 22:01:00 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 6/9/97 10:49:44 AM, Robin Hanson wrote:

>>While aggression, dominance games, and shirking work would probably
>>help a monkey's reproduction, it's going to be counterproductive for
>>an AI, at least as long as AIs depend on humans for reproduction.
>This behavior may have helped monkeys in the past, but it is counter
>productive now. So will it take AIs a similarly long time to figure
>out what behavior is in their interest?

Open question, but, as I said, probably not. Monkeys have evolved to
reproduce successfully in the wild for millions of years (billions in some
senses) and this has left them with many behaviors not well suited to
domesticated society. AIs will not start with this disadvantage.

>>Long domestication tends to make animals more docile (e.g. dogs vs.
>>wolves) and AIs will presumably start out docile, from both design
>>goals and (presumably) little need for self-motivation in the early
>I think you're arguing that docility is irrelevant to increasing
>intelligence. But maybe self-motivation is important to the proces

I would think that some self-motivation is important to intelligence. But
even the most docile domesticated animal is pretty self-motivated. Docility
is comparative.

As an aside, the domesticated primate (us) is the smartest primate of all.
Domesticated animals by contrast tend to be dumber than their wild
relatives. Apparently we prefer assistants as dumb as practical; this
preference may carry over to AIs. The highly limited idiot savant-type AI
might well be the kind humans prefer to have about. Of course, we want AIs
for thinking, while animals we generally want for other purposes.