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simul
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virus: On faith and boredom
« on: 2004-12-12 05:16:35 »
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Suppose there is a perfectly logical machine who lives on a land which provides it with enough resources to survive, but not to create new things.

The robot spends its time eating form his lake of nutrients and scanning the world for any sign of changes which it can exploit to escape its increasingly boring situation.

The thing is, there is a massive mountain range blocking its view of the rest of the world.

The robot has no idea of what is on the other side of this mountain range, but it does know that, based on its best calculations, there is no way to cross that range and return without dying of starvation.It simply cannot carry enough food to guarantee a safe return. 

Of course, there *might* be food on the other side.  Based on the robot's knowledge of it's own sparse terrain, the odds of there being nutrients on the other side of the mountain are very slim, less than 10000 to one.

But why risk death just to find out?  Better to continue to scan for resources to build a cart or something. 

10,000 years go by and the robot's situation has not changed.  He's still stuck in his land with no way to get out, and there's no more evidence of nutrients on the other side of the mountain range.

At what point should the robot risk death?

Is it ever reasonable or rational for the robot to cross the mountain range?
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RE: virus: On faith and boredom
« Reply #1 on: 2004-12-18 02:35:57 »
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...i would say NO.  the robot apparently has relatively limitless time to
await change...and time presents the opportunity for something unexpected to
happen.  the only exception might be that if the robot can determine how
much more time the local star has before running out of fuel...thus giving
it a 'last chance' scenario before the predicted end of his land would
follow.



DrSebby.
"Courage...and shuffle the cards".




----Original Message Follows----
From: "Erik Aronesty" <erik@zoneedit.com>
Reply-To: virus@lucifer.com
To: "Church of Virus" <virus@lucifer.com>
CC: "Yvette Yasui" <yvette@yvetteyasui.com>
Subject: virus: On faith and boredom
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 10:16:35 +0000 GMT

Suppose there is a perfectly logical machine who lives on a land which
provides it with enough resources to survive, but not to create new things.

The robot spends its time eating form his lake of nutrients and scanning the
world for any sign of changes which it can exploit to escape its
increasingly boring situation.

The thing is, there is a massive mountain range blocking its view of the
rest of the world.

The robot has no idea of what is on the other side of this mountain range,
but it does know that, based on its best calculations, there is no way to
cross that range and return without dying of starvation.It simply cannot
carry enough food to guarantee a safe return.

Of course, there *might* be food on the other side.  Based on the robot's
knowledge of it's own sparse terrain, the odds of there being nutrients on
the other side of the mountain are very slim, less than 10000 to one.

But why risk death just to find out?  Better to continue to scan for
resources to build a cart or something.

10,000 years go by and the robot's situation has not changed.  He's still
stuck in his land with no way to get out, and there's no more evidence of
nutrients on the other side of the mountain range.

At what point should the robot risk death?

Is it ever reasonable or rational for the robot to cross the mountain range?
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"courage and shuffle the cards..."
David Lucifer
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Re:virus: On faith and boredom
« Reply #2 on: 2004-12-19 12:43:17 »
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Quote from: simul on 2004-12-12 05:16:35   

At what point should the robot risk death?

Is it ever reasonable or rational for the robot to cross the mountain range?

It is rational only if and when the robot finds the boredom so painful that it would prefer death to continued existence in its current situation. Does the robot have any control over its boredom? If it does, that presents another interesting question: Should it turn its boredom off? Alternatively can it shut itself down for specified periods of time? If so, maybe it should shut itself down for 10 years, then 20, 40, 80, etc. waking up only long enough to see if anything has changed or until it gets bored again.
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Blunderov
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RE: virus: On faith and boredom
« Reply #3 on: 2004-12-20 02:57:40 »
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David Lucifer
Sent: 19 December 2004 07:43 PM
<snip>
[quote from: simul on 2004-12-12 at 03:16:35]
At what point should the robot risk death?

Is it ever reasonable or rational for the robot to cross the mountain
range?


It is rational only if and when the robot finds the boredom so painful
that it would prefer death to continued existence in its current
situation. Does the robot have any control over its boredom? If it does,
that presents another interesting question: Should it turn its boredom
off? Alternatively can it shut itself down for specified periods of
time? If so, maybe it should shut itself down for 10 years, then 20, 40,
80, etc. waking up only long enough to see if anything has changed or
until it gets bored again. </snip>

[Blunderov] I suppose most of us remember, probably with mixed feelings,
Marvin the paranoid android from "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_the_Paranoid_Android

Unaccountably my copy of the Guide is nowhere to be found, but a
conversation between Arthur Dent and Marvin (after Arthur finally turned
up to retrieve a reproachful Marvin from a marathon car-parking stint on
Magruthea) went something like:

[Marvin] The first million years were the worst...

[Arthur] Oh?

[Marvin]...except for the second million years. They were the worst too.

[Blunderov] I suppose emotion could be programmed into a robot and also
that one of the instructions could be never to turn of that emotion. How
horrible. Better living through chemistry?

Best Regards. 


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simul
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Re: virus: On faith and boredom
« Reply #4 on: 2004-12-20 13:10:37 »
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Of course the irony is that there is a plentiful stash of supplies just over the mountain range.

Thinking of a species and not a single entity.

A species capable of irrational thinking, suicide and self-delusion could convince one or more of its members to abandon reason and self-preservation and find this stash.

A species whose members are capable of only pure self-interest would never find it - since it's entirely illogical to risk likely death for a highly improbable and seemingly pointless quest.

Perhaps this is the purpose of faith/religion.  To delude people into taking risks that the leaders aren't willing to take.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Blunderov" <squooker@mweb.co.za>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 09:57:40
To:<virus@lucifer.com>
Subject: RE: virus: On faith and boredom

David Lucifer
Sent: 19 December 2004 07:43 PM
<snip>
[quote from: simul on 2004-12-12 at 03:16:35]
At what point should the robot risk death?

Is it ever reasonable or rational for the robot to cross the mountain
range?


It is rational only if and when the robot finds the boredom so painful
that it would prefer death to continued existence in its current
situation. Does the robot have any control over its boredom? If it does,
that presents another interesting question: Should it turn its boredom
off? Alternatively can it shut itself down for specified periods of
time? If so, maybe it should shut itself down for 10 years, then 20, 40,
80, etc. waking up only long enough to see if anything has changed or
until it gets bored again. </snip>

[Blunderov] I suppose most of us remember, probably with mixed feelings,
Marvin the paranoid android from "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_the_Paranoid_Android

Unaccountably my copy of the Guide is nowhere to be found, but a
conversation between Arthur Dent and Marvin (after Arthur finally turned
up to retrieve a reproachful Marvin from a marathon car-parking stint on
Magruthea) went something like:

[Marvin] The first million years were the worst...

[Arthur] Oh?

[Marvin]...except for the second million years. They were the worst too.

[Blunderov] I suppose emotion could be programmed into a robot and also
that one of the instructions could be never to turn of that emotion. How
horrible. Better living through chemistry?

Best Regards. 


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First, read Bruce Sterling's "Distraction", and then read http://electionmethods.org.
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