X-Message-Number: 30180
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 11:23:49 EST
Subject: more on alleged AI threat

Kennita Watson had some good thoughts.
Flavonoid, I think, still misses the mark.
>If that grizzly bear is coming at you,
>though,  believe it - he has a programmed goal
No, the bear is not programmed in the way that a computer is.  The computer 
is language-based and digital, which is very  different.
>Things happen already in
>computers, akin to this -  programs running haphazard until they end up
>causing damage to your hard  drive or causing the operating system to

That is close to what I said, and it is not only possible  but, as far as I 
can see, inevitable. Any attempt to program a computer in  broad-brush terms 
will result in breakdown of the computer. You cannot program a  computer to 

"destroy humanity" or to "save humanity" because no such algorithm  is possible.
>But let's assume for a brief second that any programmer would, as  you
>say, build in a pause for external input when he thinks he is nearing  a
>super-intelligent program.  
That isn't what I meant. I meant programming a pause whenever the  advanced 
AI program called for an action that might have a real-world result. 
>You certainly cannot conclude that there is
>no such proximity  to achieving a super-AI, because the programmer may not
>know when the  conditions are present to satisfy that.  We certainly do
>not know  now ahead of time what algorithms are necessary to spawn  such
What we do know is that search engines--the closest thing we have to  

language-based AI--are primitive, despite the heavy financial incentive to  
>The other factor is publicity.  You cannot say you  know
>anything about what "present effort to do this" indeed exists,  because
>the general public is not privy to all ongoing research projects  in any
>field, much less this one.

It seems highly unlikely that private efforts are underway that are far  
ahead of the heavily financed search engines.

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