Re: Personal goal system was: IA vs. AI

Paul Hughes (
Mon, 09 Aug 1999 00:18:40 -0700

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> > "In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true, either is true or
> > becomes true in one's mind, within limits to be determined by experience and
> > experiment. These limits are beliefs to be further transcended." - John C.
> > Lilly
> True only up to a point - as I said recently, there's a distinction
> between what you can do with software and what you can do with hardware.

Yes, but that's where it gets interesting. Because its my software that can make a decision to utilize the increasing means available to reprogram my hardware. Simple hardware changes now available include dietary intake, supplements, nootropics and psychotropics. And as we all know these are only a prelude of what is to come.

> Actually, the whole "paradox" of free will is an illusion. Even in a
> deterministic Universe, there are still causal dependencies between past
> and present - it's just the notion that "the outcome is written in some
> big book" leads one to attribute causality to the book, instead of to
> the preconditions. You might say that even if all our choices are
> pre-written in some big book, we are the writing.

Yes. I agree that what most people call their free will is at least ~99.9% pre-programmed. It's that remaining ~0.1% that needs to be addressed.

To better illustrate what I'm saying, consider another paradox between conscious decisions and a deterministic universe. Our conscious thoughts are a product of our neural architecture which is governed by the properties of cellular biochemistry, which is governed by atomic and quantum physical processes. Technology continues to increase our capacity in manipulating these processes to our own end. So another way of looking at nanotechnology is as a complex set of atoms (us) manipulating themselves for their own end in a *bootstrapping* process. So the question is, what or who is doing the manipulating? Subquantum processes? Sub-sub-quantum processes? And what happens when we can manipulate those as well? Until this question can be answered, the verdict on still out on free will.

Paul Hughes