Re: Conversations on Strong AI

I am having a conversation with Rod Furlan over on his blog about the possibility of self-preservation being an emergent property of intelligent systems. Just, you know… in case you were curious what I’m up to.

Edit: I am commenting. I did not send the original email.

Synaptic Growth (Economics)

[INSERT MEME HERE]I am not a motorist. I dislike most everything about cars, and I do not drive (or even know how). I get rides between places that aren’t practical to walk to bike to, but when I have free time I like to be impractical and walk between them anyway, even if it takes me several hours.

In addition to exercise and fresh air (and significant personal risk of mugging, nowadays), these long walks help link my mental representations of these two places in my mind. When I take a bus from A to B, it seems like they’re on different worlds, only reachable by spacecraft, but when I take the time to go by foot they become anchored as part of a larger spacial model.

Linking two things, be they places, people, objects, events, or ideas, is what our brains are good at. The very structure of the neuron is built around the all important synapse—the link between cells. This morning I made a similar link, this time between cognitive science and economics. It’s somewhat trivial, but seeing as it’s taken me this long to work out, I figure that it might not be immediately obvious to everyone.

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Earlier today Aaron Saenz, the lead writer at Singularity Hub (an excellent tech news-blog) wrote a piece called The Myth of the Three Laws of Robotics – Why We Can’t Control Intelligence. In it he dismissed fears of “robot apocalypse”, saying:

Let’s get something out of the way. I’m not worried about a robot apocalypse. I don’t think Skynet is going to launch nuclear missiles in a surprise attack against humanity. I don’t think Matrix robots will turn us all into batteries, nor will Cylons kill us and replace us. HAL’s not going to plan our ‘accidental deaths’ and Megatron’s not lurking behind the moon ready to raid our planet for energon cubes. The ‘robo-pocalypse’ is a joke.

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A Description of Egoism and the Singularity

I need to post what I write. I write often, to myself and to others, but so very often I feel as though the ideas and statements inside are somehow not worth publishing. This blog was only ever intended as a personal space; I have no obligation to post here, or any professional interest. So why don’t I share more? I donno. Let me do that.

The following is a message I sent to a new friend, where we were discussing transhumanism, ecology, and specifically whether the transhumanist perspective is egocentric and not concerned enough about environmental health and sustainability. I’m a neohippy and environmentalist, so I could totally relate to the values expressed, but I wanted to clarify a point about egoism.

As I see things (which may certainly be wrong), there is no objective moral system. (This is what I mean when I say I’m an amoralist or moral non-realist.) What this means, essentially, is that all notions of “good” and “bad” are inventions of people. (Same with “purpose”.) This doesn’t mean that ethics don’t exist–just that they’re entirely subjective (within an ethical context something can be good or bad, but it’s probably healthy to recognize that said context is artificial).

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The Ideal Choice

In Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman there’s a part where Feynman is getting reimbursement for having flown to San Fransisco to be on a state board to decide the books they’d use in schools…

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