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

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From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 21:43:41 PDT

Jeff Bone wrote:
> > I'm not interested in implementing Eliezer's Rules or Brian's Rules or
> > Jeff Bone's Rules; I'm interested in implementing The Rules.
> Okay, that sounds reasonable. But before we begin figuring out The Rules, shouldn't we
> agree on The Metarules?

No. Metarules are subject to infinite dispute. The Rules themselves,
on the other hand, are pretty obvious. Compare the "laws of physics"
and the "rules of science".

> BTW, I like your "no coercion" concept. I think that's a good start. Make sure you
> apply that concept everywhere, even when it treads on your own preferences.

Give me credit for basic common sense, Jeff. Anything you can see, I
can see.

> > I don't
> > think there's a whole lot of slack in the Sysop Instructions; not with
> > respect to the basics, anyway. Does the Solar System get divided up
> > evenly among the six billion inhabitants? Yes.
> Why? What evidence do you have that this allocation strategy is better than any other
> strategy, much less all other strategies?

It's symmetrical. It's simplest. It's obvious. There is no
justification for any allocation strategy that favors individual humans
at the expense of others.

> > Can you do whatever the
> > heck you want with your piece, as long as it (a) doesn't harm anyone
> > else without that being's permission and (b) doesn't let you construct a
> > Sysop-threatening weapon?
> What if I don't like my piece? I like your piece better.

You mean the Washington Monument Problem? ("Who gets the Washington
Monument?") I don't know. I don't care. It's a trivial problem. You
could toss it to a UN vote and it wouldn't matter all that much how they
decided. One quark is as good as another.

> Who gets to parcel them out?

Not me. To the Sysop, I'm just another human.

> And why can't I construct a Sysop-threatening weapon? That conflicts with my
> libertarian values. "Right to Keep and Bear Arms."

Fine, construct a private reality and you can blow stuff up all you
like. I have a right to keep and bear arms in a modern society, because
in an unguarded world I can get shot by someone I couldn't shoot first.
In the Sysop world, nobody can shoot me without my permission... and the
reason is that the Sysop won't let anyone construct a Sysop-threatening

Anything you want to do - *anything* at all - that doesn't harm another
human, you can do through the Sysop API. The Sysop is not corruptible
and has no temptation to meddle; the API to external reality would be
*invisible* unless you specifically concentrated on seeing it. Until
you tried to fire your gun at some poor guy who didn't volunteer for it,
when the gun would suddenly stop working. Isn't that how you *want*
reality to work?

I don't even need to put any of that explicitly in the Sysop
Instructions. It follows logically from the goal of maximum individual
freedom plus not letting anyone shoot me without my permission.

> Perhaps more pertinently, given
> that such a weapon would likely be bits, doesn't the latter infringe free speech?

No. How could you possibly harm a Sysop with bits? Hurt its feelings?

> Hey,
> I never agreed to that before you elected yourself God.


> > Yes. Can you harm, or even affect, another
> > entity without vis permission? No.
> That sounds reasonable.
> > Do the Amish get to keep farming?
> > Yes.
> >
> > I'd have to rate all of that a big honkin' Duh. So what exactly is left
> > to debate?
> Well, see above, clearly there are big gaping holes of consensus.

As long as you keep thinking it in terms of a set of Gestapolike
instructions, you will keep finding points of dispute. Think of it in
terms of good and evil and dictatorial powers, all of which you claim to
despise, and of course you'll despise the result. Think of it in terms
of finding a set of underlying rules that guarantee *everyone's*
autonomy, and there is a single, forced solution.

Maybe *you* find it natural to assume that you would abuse your position
as programmer to give yourself Godlike powers, and that you would abuse
your Godlike powers to dictate everyone's private lives. *I* see no
reason to invade the sanctity of your process, and have absolutely no
interest in enforcing any sort of sexual or political or religious
morality. I have no interest in sexual, political, or religious
morality, period. And if I did try to invade your process, the Sysop
wouldn't let me. And if I tried to build a Sysop that could be dictated
to by individuals, I would be building a gun to point at my own head.

All that matters is the underlying process permissions that ensure
individual freedom. I'm in this to significantly reduce the amount of
evil in the world; I think that will follow naturally from giving
everyone absolute individual freedom. I am not *allowed* to try and
dictate reality directly. (Who doesn't allow it? Me.)

> But, thanks, you've
> absolutely proven that you don't have enough objectivity, or even ability or willingness
> to consider other points of view, for the God gig. Next! ;-)


> > Hand it over to the UN, though, and I *guarantee* they'll screw it up.
> Absolutely, unequivocally, no doubt.

Fine. The UN isn't allowed to do it. The trained professionals aren't
allowed to do it. Who's gonna do it? You?

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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