Re: Re: Goo prophylaxis

Nicholas Bostrom (
Fri, 29 Aug 1997 20:46:15 +0000

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> "Nicholas Bostrom" <> writes:
> > The way I
> > prefer to think about it is in terms of a superintelligence who
> > attempts to maximize what it thinks is physical value-structures;
> > i.e. it wants to organize as much matter as possible in the way that
> > it think has most value. Except for possible strategic or ethical
> > reasons, it makes no difference whether the matter is virgin
> > territory or some other computer is has already organized the matter
> > in a sub-optimal way.
> But what if its value-structure made it regard "natural" or "unchanged"
> systems as good? This view is already prevalent in our culture, and
> it is not unlikely that an SI might think that its preferred form of
> complexity might include the activities of "simple" forms of life
> and environments in addition to its own structures. It can be a purely
> esthetic choice.

Yes, I agree. It is conceivable that an SI would have conservatism or
naturalness as values. (Presumably because those values were
prevalent in the culture in which it was built, so that these values
were programmed in.) But that's what they are: specific values that
would have to be explicitly added, not something that we can take for

In general, I think we can say the following: Sentimentality values
will be less prominent than they are today. By sentimentality values
I mean values that are dependent on an object's historical origin or
specific association with a beloved one etc. Why would they be less
prominent? Because at least in some cases they are valued only
indirectly, for the psychological effects they produce (a curl from a
lost lover elicits memories and nostalgia, for example). But in the
future, these effects will be more efficiently produced by
manipulating the brain or the emotional centres in the
superintelligence (assuming it has bothered to preserve them).
So the physical objects (such as Mother Earth) would no longer be

Nicholas Bostrom

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