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DilGreen comments on Surprised by Brains - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 23 November 2008 07:26AM

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Comment author: DilGreen 11 October 2010 02:20:21AM *  6 points [-]

This comment crystallised for me the weirdness of this whole debate (I'm not picking sides, or even imagining that I have the capacity to do so intelligently).

In the spirit of the originating post, imagine two worms are discussing the likely characteristics of intelligent life, some time before it appears (I'm using worms as early creatures with brains, allowing for the possibility that intelligence is a continuum - that worms are as far from humans as humans are from some imagined AI that has foomed for a day or two);

Worm1: I tell you it's really important to consider the possibility that these "intelligent beings" might want all the dead leaf matter for themselves, and wriggle much faster than us, with better sensory equipment.....

Worm2: But why can't you see that, as super intelligent beings, they will understand the cycle of life, from dead leaves, to humous, to plants and back again. It is hard to imagine that they won't understand that disrupting this flow will be sub-optimal....

I cannot imagine how, should effective AI come into existence, these debates will not seem as quaint as those 'how many angels would fit onto the head of a pin' ones that we fondly ridicule.

The problem is, that the same people who were talking about such ridiculous notions were also: laying the foundation stones of western philosophical thinking; preserving and transmitting classical texts; developing methodologies that eventually underpin the scientific method - and they didn't distinguish between them!