Re: Geddes's 'Moral Perturbation Theory'

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Thu Jun 17 2004 - 23:54:58 MDT

--- Eliezer Yudkowsky <> wrote: >
Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
> > Marc Geddes wrote:
> >>
> >> To approximate the collective volition of
> humanity we
> >> don't need to look at the brains of 6 billion
> people
> >> at all. In fact I think that the brains of only
> a few
> >> hundred should suffice as a very good
> approximation!
> >
> > Possibly.
> I see on further reading that Geddes had a specific
> few hundred people in
> mind. Talk about your transparent moral failures.
> I'd like to repudiate
> any association with that concept. I simply meant
> that a random sample of
> a few hundred might turn out to suffice for a good
> approximation.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for
> Artificial Intelligence

Well hang on I didn't mean restricting attention to
specific people, I meant restricting the class of
people to be considered for the random sample to
humanities 'best, brighest, most altruistic, wisest'
or whatever in order to try to get a more accurate
first approximation.

You must admit that human individual characteristics
simply would not have equal weight when factored into
the CV. Isn't it reasonable to conclude that the
characteristics of a mass murderer is not likely to
have as much weight as the characteristics of Mother
Teresa in the CV? And the more long-term the
extrapolation the less weight the characteristics of
the stupid, evil people will have?

So it seems to me that if we restrict our attention to
the best, brightest, most altruistic etc , the
characteristics of these people are likely to 'ballon
out' in importance relative to the characteristics of
the rest of humanity as we extrapolate forward.

I never said we exclude everyone else, I just said
that for the purposes of a first approximation of the
CV it would seem reasonable to restrict our attention
to the best, brightest, most altruistic humans etc.
For more accurate approximations we would then expand
the pool of people to be considered for a random

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