Re: [Fwd: Eliezer speaks (forwardable)] - was loserhood and analysis

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 15:49:29 PDT

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> Jeff Bone wrote:
> >
> > The scary thing about that is, who gets to define what constitutes "evil?"
> Someone has to do it.

Why? I find it incredible that (a) you actually believe someone *can* do it in a
reasonably satisfactory way for everyone else, and (b) that you believe you're the
man for the job.

> "To eliminate all INVOLUNTARY pain, death, coercion, and stupidity from
> the Universe."
> Any problems?

Are *all* things voluntary and consensual? Isn't it true that by adopting some
particular definition of external "evil" you are in fact coercing everyone into
accepting that definition? What if I don't agree with you on, say, whether
consensual anal sex is "evil?" Without stating what isn't permitted, if anything,
you aren't actually saying anything about what this brave new world will be like.

Case in point: you want to eliminate stupidity. I happen to like stupid people.
I'm a big fan. They make me look smarter than I really am. ;-) And I know lots of
stupid people who are perfectly happy being stupid. Are you going to force them to
be smarter? Or just give them the opportunity? If the latter, aren't you going to
be annoyed that there are still folks who choose to be stupid? Given that you're
writing the OS, what assurance do any of the rest of us have that you won't inject /
infect the OS with your own particular idiosyncracies, belief structures, values,

> Who would you trust it to?

Nobody can make those decisions for anyone but themselves.

> Someone so ostentatiously humble, so new and
> unacclimated to the issues, that they're too shocked to venture an
> opinion?

This SL thing is really tiresome. Sure, shock is a factor for probably most of the
population, and even for some part of the folks who can actually tackle the problems
intellectually, but you guys just use this whole "shock level" argument as a hammer
to beat down your critics without really knowing if that's the issue. Believe it or
not, there're other people out there who've given some thought to these things and
gotten past the "gee whiz" and "ooh, scary" phases.

> I don't think I have a direct line to The Truth,

Dude, you wrote a F.A.Q. on the Meaning of Life. You nominated Doug Hofstadter for
"Most Significant Human Being of the Epoch." I think your own words belie you.

> but I'm not
> afraid to guess using the best information I have - or to plan ahead for
> the possibility that I'm wrong.


> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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