Re: Will FAI need simulated empathy to avoid sociopathic tendencies?

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Mon Dec 16 2002 - 19:33:28 MST

On Monday, December 16, 2002, at 07:18 PM, James Rogers wrote:

> I think a rational and intelligent member of society could fake empathy
> with ease if they thought it was an efficient way to accomplish their
> goals. Hell, that's what politicians do on a daily basis.

As a person with broken empathy circuits (not missing, just broken),
faking emphatic reactions is sometimes necessary. I say broken because
sometimes I feel empathy, but it's not generally when appropriate, like
when a member of my kin group dies or is sick or gets a new job.
Usually it's only the first time I read or watch a great book or movie
that I'll feel empathy for some of the characters. I haven't, however,
done anything radically bad for my genes, so I seem to be getting along
fine without it.

The point is moot, though. Empathy is a complex adaption that evolved
over millions of years in response to situations arising from living in
kin groups. In a sense, empathy is coming to morality backwards
(trying different kinds of behavior until you find one that works
well). An FAI would, rather, find what is moral first and then behave
in ways that follow those morals. If empathy was the best class of
emotions that it could develop to do this, then that's what it would do.

BTW, if you've been wondering what anthropomorphic thinking, is, this
is a perfect example. Humans evolved in a certain environment and are
adapted to that environment. An FAI is designed (at first by humans
and later by itself) to converge on normative altruism.

Gordon Worley                          "Man will become better when                 you show him what he is like."                                --Anton Chekhov
PGP:  0xBBD3B003

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:41 MDT