Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Edward Boyden Finds a Flaw With the Singularity Hypothesis

[A] really advanced intelligence, improperly motivated, might realize the impermanence of all things, calculate that the sun will burn out in a few billion years, and decide to play video games for the remainder of its existence, concluding that inventing an even smarter machine is pointless. (A corollary of this thinking might explain why we haven't found extraterrestrial life yet: intelligences on the cusp of achieving interstellar travel might be prone to thinking that with the galaxies boiling away in just 1019 years, it might be better just to stay home and watch TV.) Thus, if one is trying to build an intelligent machine capable of devising more intelligent machines, it is important to find a way to build in not only motivation, but motivation amplification--the continued desire to build in self-sustaining motivation, as intelligence amplifies. If such motivation is to be possessed by future generations of intelligence--meta-motivation, as it were--then it's important to discover these principles now.

It's a good point, and one that I admittedly hadn't contemplated before. Intelligenced is nothing without ambition, and ambition is not necessarily an emergent property of intelligence.

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