Nonperson Predicate

A Nonperson Predicate is a theorized test which can definitely distinguish computational structures which are not people; i.e., a predicate which returns 1 for all people, and returns 0 or 1 for nonpeople. This would be helpful due to the hypothetical risk that an artificial general intelligence could, while modelling the world around it, produce conscious beings as part of its world-model.

If a nonperson predicate returns 1, the structure may or may not be a person, but if it returns 0, the structure is definitely not a person. In other words, any time at least one trusted nonperson predicate returns 0, we know we can run that program without creating a person. (The impossibility of perfectly distinguishing people and nonpeople is a trivial consequence of the halting problem.)

The need for such a test arises from the possibility that when an Artificial General Intelligence predicts a person's actions, it may develop a model of them so complete that the model itself qualifies as a person (though not necessarily the same person). As the AGI investigates possibilities, these simulated people might be subjected to a large number of unpleasant situations. With a trusted nonperson predicate, either the AGI's designers or the AGI itself could ensure that no actual people are created.

Any practical implementation would likely consist of a large number of nonperson predicates of increasing complexity. For most nonpersons, a predicate will quickly return that it is not a person and conclude the test. Although any number of the predicates may be used before the test claims that something is not a person, it is crucial that any predicate in the test never claims that a person isn't a person. Unclassifiable cases being in-principle unavoidable, it is preferable that the AGI errs on the side of considering possible-persons as persons.

Related Wiki Pages: Computation Hazard, Philosophical zombie

Related Posts: Nonperson Predicates, Computational Hazards