Comments on “This is about you”

you do not have any "ethics"?

Nathan 2023-02-25

Let me say first that I like this page as poetry, and I think I am familiar with some of the intellectual background. Almost all of it rings true to me.

The only line that strikes me as problematic on first impression is: you do not have any “ethics”.

Intuitively I accede to everything on this page except to that line, to which I intuitively object: “yes, I do.”

I will note, though, that the ethics that I think of myself as having is pragmatic and contextualist; much of what James D. Wallace has said about this topic strikes me as right. From a description of one of his books: “To solve new problems, he asserts, we must adapt what we have learned from past problems to novel circumstances, sometimes appreciably changing our ways of dealing with certain kinds of issues.”

Is that still ethics? I think so. (Someone once said: “James D. Wallace’s view is well outside the mainstream.” So I concede that my “ethics” is not mainstream ethical theory.) If I said “I don’t have any ethics” to people who know me, they would have the same objection that I had to that line in this page: “yes, you do.”

What it should say, I think, is: you do not have any programmable “ethics”. That seems to be the point in this book?

I apologize if I am inappropriately nitpicking poetry.

follow-up to my previous comment

Nathan 2023-02-25

I noticed that on another page Mike Travers stated essentially the same objection that I stated above (there the offending clause was essentially the same proposition as the one in question above, but substituting the word “values” for “ethics”):

There seems to be something here that needs to be thought through more or at least communicated in a different way. Mike and I agree that something is wrong in the way it is stated.


David Chapman 2023-02-26

Thanks, Nathan, this does need clarification. Noted for revision.

I’m not sure what to do with the page, overall. It’s possibly the most important in the book, but it’s allusive and most readers will probably not get the message. I may remove it altogether. Or maybe it needs an explanatory commentary—but that would be maybe ten times as long, and only tangentially about AI.

"rationalist myths"

Hans Kersting 2023-03-31

Dear David,

I think it would be great if you could expand somewhere on the following

these are all malign rationalist myths
they make you miserable when you take them seriously



Hans Kersting 2023-03-31

I would actually be super interested what you think about “virtue ethics” as taught by Theravada and Stoic philosophy. Not as stiff moralizing, but as a way to live a good/happy/liberated life.

"rationalist myths"

David Chapman 2023-03-31

Thanks, yes… this whole piece is probably mostly incomprehensible, and I will probably delete it. Alternatively, it needs a lot of expansion and explanation, which would kill the vibe (and take a lot of work for which I may not have time).

I know almost nothing about Stoicism. I’m generally skeptical of Buddhist ethics, but have quite limited knowledge of the Theravada version.

Don't delete the best page of the book

John Evans 2023-10-09

I sent this page to my friend who is not technical but is worried about AI and she really liked it and then read the rest of the book.

The page ties the whole work together with vividness and meaningness and I don’t think anyone else could have written it.

The only reason to remove this page would be if it was going to be the first page of a new book of AI/meaning/non-dual poems

The best page

David Chapman 2023-10-09

Oh, I’m glad you liked it! And thanks for sending it to your friend.

Maybe the just needs some light revision…

Move to the front of the book

Nathan Davis 2023-10-24

Cite it as an alms to humanity or some such thing in between the introduction and chapter one.

Love it btw!

To whom is this page addressed?

Danyl Strype 2024-02-02

I also enjoyed this page and I’d be sad to see it deleted. One thing I find confusing is I’m not sure who “you” is. To whom is this page addressed?

I’m guessing it’s addressed to the reader. But the link in the first sentence makes it seem like it’s addressed to a future AGI. The idea of pleading with a future AGI seems to undercut the message of the rest of the book.

Maybe clarifying this would help?

Set in stone (well, paper)

David Chapman 2024-02-02

I appreciate the suggestion! Unfortunately, at this point, the book is Published, on dead trees, and the text here is identical to that, so I’m unlikely to make changes.