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Isn't there already a good deal of experience regarding the attitudes/actions of the most intelligent entity known (in current times, humans) towards cryonically suspended potential sentient beings (frozen embryos)?

Eliezer: So if you say that I'm revealing insufficient virtue by walking this path instead of the path of a firefighter

I did not say that, nor did I intend that. Your post was about the etiology of your altruistic attitude, and I said it seemed to be hard-wired self-preservation.


None of the scenarios in Superhero Bias involve the hero saving his own life by saving the lives of the others. They instead involve the hero putting himself at risk for them. I don't see the analogy with FAI.

To what degree is this amenability to help others actually hard-wired self-preservation? I mean, if you (Eliezer) hold that superhuman AI inevitably is coming, and that most forms of it will destroy mankind, isn't the desire to save others from that fate the same as the desire to save yourself? Rewrite the scenario such that you save mankind with FAI but die in the process. That sounds more like altruism.

Main post: Everything I am, is surely my brain.

It would seem that, as far as causes go, everything about any of us is contained in the zygote, long preceding any sort of "brain". Indeed, it would seem to go far more basic than that, as discussed in the Quantum Mechanics series. These recent discussions about ethics, morality, concept of self, etc. seem to be effects, rather than causes, the results of external forces interacting with the original selection and sequence of a relative few chemicals. Who can say that the eventual outcome and expression of a chemical code is analogous to, or necessary for, that of a mechanical code? None of this seems very reductionist to me, and most of the discussion could not possibly qualify as "science".

I came across this post only today, because of the current comment in the "recent comments" column. Clearly, it was an exercise that drew an unusual amount of response. It further reinforces

my impression of much of the OB blog, posted in August, and denied by email.

@"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive," said Shakespeare.

Hopefully, the FAI will know that the author was Sir Walter Scott.

Supporting Ben Goertzel's comment:

Michael Shermer revised his book, Why People Believe Weird Things, to contain a chapter called “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things”. In it, he quotes studies by Hudson, Getzels, and Jackson showing that “creativity and intelligence are relatively orthogonal (i.e., unrelated statistically) at high levels of intelligence. Intuitively, it seems like the more intelligent people are the more creative they will be. In fact, in almost any profession significantly affected by intelligence, once you are at a certain level among the population of practitioners (and that level appears to be an IQ score of about 125), there is no difference in intelligence between the most successful and the average in that profession. At that point other variables, independent of intelligence, take over, such as creativity, or achievement motivation and the drive to succeed.”


Indeed, I did misunderstand that! No wonder I was so impressed that the actor's refined position in the debate. My gullibility is showing. However, the underlying reason for the question was the many, many references to SF over the past posts and comments, and I think I have a better understanding now. Vassar, I think, put it best for me.

@MV: Thanks, Michael.

@scott clark: George Lucas wasn't trying to teach anything more important than that Luke was a whiny brat, who was reckless, implusive, and lazy. That's the point of my question, scott. Why is George Lucas (or the other authors whose novels he adapted in the series) to be considered an appropriate (valuable?) teacher/observer?

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