Re: Can't afford to resuce cows (was Re: Arbitrarily decide who benefits)

From: Nick Tarleton (
Date: Wed Apr 16 2008 - 15:29:46 MDT

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 9:37 PM, Tim Freeman <> wrote:
> * Wanting higher status than the other person. For example, I want a
> bigger car than you, and if you get a bigger car I'll be less happy.
> To cope with this, the AI has separate parameters for respect and
> compassion. The AI's respect is its desire to avoid doing harm to
> others (as compared to what would happen to them if the AI took no
> action), and compassion is the desire to benefit others. The trick is
> to tune the respect parameters so the AI doesn't get involved in
> trivial conflicts (such as our car-buying contest) but it does get
> involved to prevent violent crime (you don't want respect from the
> mugger-to-be to stop it from taking his gun as he's travelling toward
> a forseeable mugging). More pesky parameters to arbitrarily decide. :-(.

Different respect vs. compassion weighting is not the only reason
humans judge the car-buying contest as acceptable but the mugging bad;
we disapprove of using the threat of force to take others' property.
This should be taken into account.

> But nevermind that, I'm too conflict-averse to make the attempt. The
> Buddhists say cows (and other mammals) are conscious. If humans eat
> cows, and my AI is influenced more by empathy for sentient beings than
> by respect for cow butcherers, it will try to stop the cows from being
> eaten. But the problem is that the humans have guns and will start
> shooting at the AI (or its implementor) if it stops them from kiling
> and eating cows. In contrast, the cows do not have guns. So trying
> to save the cows would make the AI (and its implementor) targets for
> no political benefit.

After a Singularity, this will not be even close to a problem. Before
the Singularity, minor issues like cows are unlikely to have
noticeable political effect relative to the idea of FAI itself. In any
case, you really shouldn't specify this level of detail in advance.

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