Cellar Door Skeptics #99: Should You Fear Roko’s Basilisk?

“Before you die, you see Roko’s Basilisk. It’s like the videotape in The Ring.”

Can Artificial Intelligence predict if people helped or tried to stop it from becoming sentient? This episode Cellar Door Skeptics tackle all angles of Rosko’s Basilisk Theory and what it means for AI and our future. They talk about their perceived notions on whether AI could predict humans who have not helped it become sentient. This dilemma falls in line with Pascal’s Wager and the team takes a stance where this should be a concern or if we can feel comfortable dismissing this as a crazy conspiracy. Follow the episode as it delves into AI philosophy and the team takes rabbit hole after rabbit hole toward the reality that we live in. Will you take the Red Pill or the Blue Pill or should you just flush the pills and succumb to logic?

#RokosBasilisk #ArtificialIntelligence #LessWrong #Philosophy #PascalsWager

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Links
——
http://lesswrong.com/
https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Roko%27s_basilisk
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/07/roko_s_basilisk_the_most_terrifying_thought_experiment_of_all_time.html
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Roko‘s_basilisk

Pascal’s Climate Change Wager.

I know the title is confusing so no, Pascal never made such a wager, but we all know his stance on gambling with God.  The ultimate bluff over eternity one might say.  

 

  1. God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives.
  2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
  3. You must wager (it is not optional).
  4. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
  5. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
  6. But some cannot believe. They should then ‘at least learn your inability to believe…’ and ‘Endeavour then to convince’ themselves.

 

The natural conclusion, to what Daniel Dennett would surely call a poor logic pump, is that we should believe, because if the sky king does not exist and we lived in servitude the whole of our lives we have lost nothing.  Casting the myriad of problems with this oft debunked stream of logic aside let’s play a game with the very people who use this to validate their beliefs.

 

It is regularly shown in all forms of media that there is a strong correlation to conservatism, religiosity, and the denial of climate change or global warming.  Within this group of scientific repudiators and devout, God fearing, holy rollers we are quite likely to run into Pascal and his trusty tool of insincere faith.

 

Let us now send it back shall we?

  1. Climate change is, or Climate change is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives.
  2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
  3. You must wager (it is not optional).
  4. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that Climate Change is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
  5. Wager, then, without hesitation that Climate Change is. There is here an extension of the fragile ecosystem within which we live, a relatively cool space between ice ages, and more time for us to find a solution to future changes that could make Earth almost uninhabitable.  The Chance of gain is one of finite probabilities measuring in the possibility that we may stave off global catastrophe over assuming inevitable destruction or speeding headlong into that pending doom
  6. But some cannot believe. They should then ‘at least learn your inability to believe…’ and ‘Endeavour then to convince’ themselves.

 

Simply put, what do you have to lose by believing in climate change? If climate change is inevitable, uncontrollable, divine, or doesn’t exist and we spent our time respecting the earth’s resources what have we lost?

Secular Philosophy: Countering Pascal

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” -Christopher Hitchens – God Is Not Great

One of the last bastions of faith is a proposition known as Pascal’s Wager. Presented by the philosopher Blaise Pascal and it goes like this.

  1. “God is, or He is not”

  2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.

  3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.

  4. You must wager (it is not optional).

  5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.

  6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

(Taken from Wikipedia)

  Continue reading “Secular Philosophy: Countering Pascal”