Archive for October 8th, 2013

More Thought

On Twitter, Konkvistador recalls this, this, and this. In the background, as in much of the most interesting Less Wrong discussion, is a multi-threaded series of arguments about the connection — or disconnection — between intellect and volition. The entire ‘Friendly AI’ problematic depends upon an articulation of this question, with a strong tendency to emphasize the separation — or ‘orthogonality’ — of the two. Hence the (vague) thinkability of the cosmic paper-clipper calamity. In his More Right piece, Konkvistador explores a very different (cultural and historical) dimension of the topic.

Bostrom sets things up like this:

For our purposes, “intelligence” will be roughly taken to correspond to the capacity for instrumental reasoning (more on this later). Intelligent search for instrumentally optimal plans and policies can be performed in the service of any goal. Intelligence and motivation can in this sense be thought of as a pair of orthogonal axes on a graph whose points represent intelligent agents of different paired specifications.

His discussion leads to far more interesting places, but as a starting point, this is simply terrible. That there can be a thought of intelligence optimization, or even merely wanting to think, demonstrates a very different preliminary connection of intellect and volition. AI is concrete social volition, even before it is germinally intelligent, and a ‘program’ is strictly indeterminate between the two sides of this falsely fundamentalized distinction. Intelligence is a project, even when only a self-obscured bio-cognitive capability. This is what the Confucians designate by cultivation. It is a thought — and impulse — strangely alien to the West.

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October 8, 2013admin 11 Comments »