YouTube launches its TV service, electric-hybrid airplanes could shorten your flights and we talk to Rob Reid about why research for his next SciFi novel taught him a healthy respect for the dangers of superintelligence. We’ll make great pets?
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One thought on “DTNS 3002 – Goodbye World”
About creating machines with superhuman intelligence:
(As an aside: I think of our human capability as ‘biological intelligence’ and of machine capability as ‘technological intelligence’. I’m with the people for whom the expression ‘Artificial Intelligence’ sounds like ‘counterfeit intelligence’.
Roger raised the question: will superhuman intelligence have emotions?
That question reminded me of something that Oliver Sacks has written about. There is a specific area of the brain that is particularly important for imbuing thoughts with emotional charge. (In general: the area that is involved with emotions is the limbic system.)
Every image that we see, every thought that passes through our minds, is also relayed to this area, and this area gives the thought emotion: What kind of emotion, the strength of that emotion.
Oliver Sacks describes some people who have a particular lesion in the brain, losing this brain-area-that-is-involved-with-emotions. So: do these people benefit from that loss, do they become very rational persons?
Oliver Sacks describes that these people are dramatically unable to function properly. To these people every decision they make is equal to other decisions they can make. There is no sense of one decision being better than another, the brain area that tells you that this outcome is preferable to that outcome isn’t there. Oliver Sacks describes that while their intellectual ability is unaffected something is horribly off.
In that sense we can be certain that technological intelligence will have emotions; if it has no emotions then it will not be intelligent.
In general we can distinguish between transient/volatile emotions such as anger and laughing and steady/persistent emotions such as loyalty and commitment. Our perception tends to notice things that change, easily overlooking things that are unchanging. Hence our volatile emotions are much more in the front of our awareness.
We can easily imagine a state of mind without volatile emotions, but a mind that also lacks the steady/persistent emotions is to us humans unimaginable.
It seems to me that Roger’s question can/should be rephrased as: will superhuman intelligence have steady/persistent emotions, but not volatile emotions?
Rephrasing again: is it possible to create technological intelligence that does have steady/persistent emotions, but not volatile emotions?
It may be, I don’t know, that these ends of the spectrum of emotions are strongly connected, that you can’t have one without the other. It could be, I don’t know, that a technological intelligence that is in the process of emerging will be prone to tantrums, like toddlers are.