X-Message-Number: 17965
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 22:13:04 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Desiring Machines with Desires

Thomas Donaldson (#17949) writes:
>Do we want machines with independent desires? I see no reason to
>see why we would.

Robot pets and dolls, for instance--some will surely want them, and want 
them to have personalities of their own, not just something copied in from 
outside. (To get such a personality could involve an on-site learning 
process whose outcome is not fully predictable.) But I also wonder if 
independent desires will not develop in other systems we wish to optimize. 
One case in point is surveillance systems. A cryonics facility watched over 
by something with the desire to keep the patients safely cold, that thought 
incessantly and creatively and tried to anticipate problems beyond its 
original instructions, might do far better than something more 
pedestrian--though this could backfire too. Self-guided passenger vehicles 
are another possibility, as are robot soldiers (if we still have need of 
them, though we wish not). Good posting, at any rate.

Mike Perry

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