Basking in the Basilisk
Without knowing anything much about what this is going to be (beyond the excerpt here)* it provides an irresistible pretext for citing what has to be among the most gloriously gone texts of modern times, Eliezer Yudkowsky’s response to Roko on the arrival of the Basilisk:
Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 July 2010 05:35:38AM 3 points
One might think that the possibility of CEV punishing people couldn’t possibly be taken seriously enough by anyone to actually motivate them. But in fact one person at SIAI was severely worried by this, to the point of having terrible nightmares, though ve wishes to remain anonymous. I don’t usually talk like this, but I’m going to make an exception for this case.
Listen to me very closely, you idiot.
YOU DO NOT THINK IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL ABOUT SUPERINTELLIGENCES CONSIDERING WHETHER OR NOT TO BLACKMAIL YOU. THAT IS THE ONLY POSSIBLE THING WHICH GIVES THEM A MOTIVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE BLACKMAIL.
There’s an obvious equilibrium to this problem where you engage in all positive acausal trades and ignore all attempts at acausal blackmail. Until we have a better worked-out version of TDT and we can prove that formally, it should just be OBVIOUS that you DO NOT THINK ABOUT DISTANT BLACKMAILERS in SUFFICIENT DETAIL that they have a motive toACTUALLY BLACKMAIL YOU.
If there is any part of this acausal trade that is positive-sum and actually worth doing, that is exactly the sort of thing you leave up to an FAI. We probably also have the FAI take actions that cancel out the impact of anyone motivated by true rather than imagined blackmail, so as to obliterate the motive of any superintelligences to engage in blackmail.
Meanwhile I’m banning this post so that it doesn’t (a) give people horrible nightmares and (b) give distant superintelligences a motive to follow through on blackmail against people dumb enough to think about them in sufficient detail, though, thankfully, I doubt anyone dumb enough to do this knows the sufficient detail. (I’m not sure I know the sufficient detail.)
You have to be really clever to come up with a genuinely dangerous thought. I am disheartened that people can be clever enough to do that and not clever enough to do the obvious thing and KEEP THEIR IDIOT MOUTHS SHUT about it, because it is much more important to sound intelligent when talking to your friends. This post was STUPID.
(For those who have no idea why I’m using capital letters for something that just sounds like a random crazy idea, and worry that it means I’m as crazy as Roko, the gist of it was that he just did something that potentially gives superintelligences an increased motive to do extremely evil things in an attempt to blackmail us. It is the sort of thing you want to be EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE about NOT DOING.)
The affect is strong, or simulated with bizarre brilliance. It almost reaches an intensity capable of burning through time and worm-holing into acausal or horroristic communion with this (plus). Which would suggest that the abominable coupling in question is not without occult connective threads (and not for the first time). All the darkness connects around the back.
We were somewhere near here before. (Bryce went further and then — coincidentally — disappeared, taking his records with him.)
* Related post and (especially) comment thread.
ADDED: I think this is the best Basilisk basics source.