Questions

Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about the book. If your question is likely to be asked by others, I’ll add it to this page.


question: Isn’t decision basis evaluation useful for humans, too? Why focus only on the implementation of decision basis evaluation within machines?

response: As we design and implement algorithms in machines that give them human or superhuman intellectual capability, we sometimes gain insight into the human mind. As we study the human mind, we sometimes acquire ideas that can be implemented in machines. I chose to focus on the implementation of decision basis evaluation in machines, leaving others to explore its use by humans.


question: Section 4.5 claims that Amy’s veil of actuation and perception (VOAP) is inviolable, yet Section 9.4 states that the counterfactual description of a state external to Amy both violates and preserves Amy’s VOAP. Is there a contradiction here?

response: No. Within Amy’s world, her VOAP is inviolable. Any violation of Amy’s VOAP must be performed by some other agent whose sensory field includes states both external and internal to Amy. In DBET, Betty is this other agent.


question: What was the point of including in Chapter 14 the news story of the worker’s death-by-robot at the Volkswagen plant? A robot is just a tool, and people sometimes accidentally injure or even kill themselves by using or misusing such tools.

response: The killer robot in the Volkswagen plant is a machine, it is autonomous after it is activated, but it is not a decision maker as described in the DBE book. The article was worded to imply that the robot had intention when it grabbed and crushed the worker, rather than merely describing the accident as a machine tool malfunction. I included the quote not because of what actually happened, but because of what could happen when our machines begin producing models of the world, making decisions based on those models, and begin exhibiting intentionality by acting upon those decisions.

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