From: Gordon Worley (email@example.com)
Date: Fri May 11 2001 - 23:45:26 MDT
Okay, I've been away for a month, busy with all sorts of work, but
now I'm back. I still haven't finished reading all of the backed up
messages (I still have about 100 to go), but I'm getting closer and
coming up to speed. I wish I could have participated in some of
those discussions, but at this point I don't think that there is much
I could add by bringing up old business.
Anyway, on with this post. I have some objections to section 4.2.2
of FAI (the section on selfishness). First off, I want to start out
by writing that I, by and large, agree with all of section 4.2 and
the sentiments behind 4.2.2, but the execution of 4.2.2 is poor and
needs to be improved (or, maybe I've mixed in my sentiments and
really disagree with this section of the paper).
(In these next few paragraphs, I use 'you' to mean Eliezer at times,
and at other times everyone. Use the context to figure out just to
whom I'm writing.)
Firstly, friendship does not require reciprocy. Yet, the idea of
mutual friendship seems to be pretty strong in section 184.108.40.206. Now,
maybe I have a more conservative view of friendship, but, to me, I
have standards for someone being my friend, and I consider myself to
only have 3/2 friends (that's one whole friend and one person who
meets enough of my standards for me to be half friends with, but not
the level of concern that friendship, for me, entails). Now, for
social reasons, there are plenty of people with whom I'm *friendly*,
but not friends. By friendly I mean behavior that is expected of
friends, but not necessairly directed at a friend. For example, I
might act interested in a person's story about vis latest personal
achievement that doesn't really concern me, but I do it because I
believe there to be some advantage in doing so. I think that this
section goes along with my line of reasoning, but just expresses it
in the wrong way. Maybe a better definition of what is meant by
friend, or maybe a change in wording to something like friendly
Maybe the real point is that there is no such thing as a friend for
evolutionary purposes; friends are only created out of cognition.
Other are merely associations that there is a benefit to act friendly
towards, and maintain a faux friendship even when it is not always
immediately a good idea to be friendly.
Secondly, you change what you mean by selfish. In the first four
sections of 4.2.2, selfishness seems to mean having a sense of self
and, as a result, making decisions where benefit the self the most.
Then, in 220.127.116.11, selfishness suddenly turns to become greediness.
You try to seperate the ideas by suggesting human and bacterial
selfishness, but that isn't very good, because you've overloaded the
term. Bacteria are greedy, in that they have no sense of self, so do
whatever has the greatest immediate benefit. Humans have a sense of
self, and thus think 'hmm, how will this affect *me*?'. There is not
some kind of unchecked selfishness going on, though, because the
concepts are different. A person cannot be selfish and greedy at the
same time: they are mutually exclusive. Well, I should correct
that: an intelligence can have a sense of self but also be
irrational and thus be greedy because of an inability to realize the
effects of having a self, therefore effectively not selfish.
Anyway, a lot of this is just a matter of diction, but I think that
they are very important, especially in a paper like FAI. Hackers are
going to be the ones doing the work of implimentation, and they will
take the paper literally if it is given to them as an outline for
implimenting FAI. You can't just hope that everyone will figure out
what you are writing about.
Also, I should admit I'm a bit like Humpty Dumpty, only I make words
mean something other than accepted definitions when those definitions
are useless (when there are several words which make distinctions
that are virtual).
-- Gordon Worley http://www.rbisland.cx/ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org PGP Fingerprint: C462 FA84 B811 3501 9010 20D2 6EF3 77F7 BBD3 B003
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