C. S. Lewis's Narnia has a problem, and that problem is the super-lion Aslan - who demotes the four human children from the status of main characters, to mere hangers-on while Aslan does all the work. Iain Banks's Culture novels have a similar problem; the humans are mere hangers-on of the superintelligent Minds. We already have strong ethical reasons to prefer to create nonsentient AIs rather than sentient AIs, at least at first. But we may also prefer in just a fun-theoretic sense that we not be overshadowed by hugely more powerful entities occupying a level playing field with us. Entities with human emotional makeups should not be competing on a level playing field with superintelligences - either keep the superintelligences off the playing field, or design the smaller (human-level) minds with a different emotional makeup that doesn't mind being overshadowed.
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This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Can't Unbirth a Child, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.
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