Evidence for the orthogonality thesis

by Stuart_Armstrong1 min read3rd Apr 2012293 comments


Orthogonality Thesis
Personal Blog

One of the most annoying arguments when discussing AI is the perennial "But if the AI is so smart, why won't it figure out the right thing to do anyway?" It's often the ultimate curiosity stopper.

Nick Bostrom has defined the "Orthogonality thesis" as the principle that motivation and intelligence are essentially unrelated: superintelligences can have nearly any type of motivation (at least, nearly any utility function-bases motivation). We're trying to get some rigorous papers out so that when that question comes up, we can point people to standard, and published, arguments. Nick has had a paper accepted that points out the orthogonality thesis is compatible with a lot of philosophical positions that would seem to contradict it.

I'm hoping to complement this with a paper laying out the positive arguments in favour of the thesis. So I'm asking you for your strongest arguments for (or against) the orthogonality thesis. Think of trying to convince a conservative philosopher who's caught a bad case of moral realism - what would you say to them?

Many thanks! Karma and acknowledgements will shower on the best suggestions, and many puppies will be happy.