Papers in peer-reviewed journals
- Sotala, Kaj (2012) Advantages of Artificial Intelligences, Uploads, and Digital Minds. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (1), 275-291.
- Sotala, Kaj & Valpola, Harri (2012) Coalescing Minds: Brain Uploading-Related Group Mind Scenarios. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (1), 293-312.
Peer-reviewed conference papers
- Armstrong, Stuart & Sotala, Kaj (2012) How We’re Predicting AI — or Failing to. Beyond AI: Artificial Dreams. Pilsen, Czech Republic.
- Sotala, Kaj (2010) From mostly harmless to civilization-threatening: Pathways to dangerous artificial intelligences. ECAP10: VIIIth European Conference on Computing and Philosophy. München, Germany.
- Sotala, Kaj (2009) Evolved altruism, ethical complexity, anthropomorphic trust: three factors misleading estimates of the safety of artificial general intelligence. VIIth European Conference on Computing and Philosophy. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.
For the citation counts for these papers as indexed by Google Scholar, see my Google Citations profile.
Papers in peer-reviewed journals Sotala, Kaj (2012) Advantages of Artificial Intelligences, Uploads, and Digital Minds. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 4 (1), 275-291. Sotala, Kaj & Valpola, Harri (2012) Coalescing...
This work by Kaj Sotala is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License
Kaj Sotala: Star Trek: Into the Darkness. It wasn't exactly bad, but not exactly good, either. It had a lot of potential, plenty of nice touches and nods to the originals, a story that could have been great, and I quite liked the way in which they were re-imagining the TOS movies. But it also felt like most of it could've been done much better. The ratio of plot holes per minute got better towards the end, but by then I'd already needed to spend so much effort on maintaining suspense of disbelief that I could no longer forget that it was just a movie.
"7. The New England War on Satan:
"Yep, you read that correctly. Public education in North America was born under the banner of a war on the devil! In the 1640s the American colony of Massachusetts passed a series of school laws establishing the first colony-wide public schools. These laws would soon spread throughout the American colonies generally and provide the foundation for public education in the new nation following the American Revolutionary War.
"That all sounds mild enough. But the most famous and first of these laws, the one that got the entire ball rolling, came to be known as the “Old Deluder Satan Law”. This law starts out rather dramatically as follows, “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times keeping them in an unknown tongue…” and then proceeds to legislate the necessity of all citizens of the colony learning how to read through the establishment of a school system."
13 Little Known Historical Events that Made Education What it is Today
"A friend of mine, B, used to suffer from terrible road rage. His girlfriend, L, felt so uncomfortable driving with him when he was like this that she put considerable time and effort into working out what was going on, since B is not typically an angry guy. Eventually, she realised that what was going on was that B wasn't seeing the other cars as vehicles containing living people with plans and emotions of their own, but as potential obstacles that sometimes moved in unpredictable ways to block his path.
"One of my favorite bloggers had a very well-received post about a certain type of guy who approaches women like they're vending machines for sex, where he just needs to perform the right moves and say the right things, and lo and behold he'll get laid. When this doesn't happen he gets angry and bitter and talks about how he's such a Nice Guy but girls still aren't interested in him.
"On hearing B's road rage story, it occurred to me that I have a similar failure mode when I'm socially anxious, where I treat the people around me as mysterious black boxes that require that I perform esoteric nonsensical social rituals in order to appease and become accepted by them, where any deviation from the rituals will be punished with immediate scorn and/or rejection*. Unsurprisingly, this way of thinking does not particularly aid me in my efforts to be liked and accepted.
"In a post about abusive partners, one of the comments highlighted the way that the abused blame themselves, searching for the thing they did to deserve the punishment. When they think they've found it, they tell themselves that if they just stop doing that particular thing, their partner will stop abusing them. Inevitably the abuse happens again, because the thing they did that first time was at best a convenient excuse, at worst completely uncorrelated with the abusive behavior.
"In all of these stories, a person with otherwise completely functional theory of mind is put in a stressful situation, and in response they have lost their ability to think about what the other people in the interaction believe and desire."
Failures in theory of mind
"This is why some researchers are cautioning against the pursuit of mere happiness. In a new study, which will be published this year in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Positive Psychology, psychological scientists asked nearly 400 Americans aged 18 to 78 whether they thought their lives were meaningful and/or happy. Examining their self-reported attitudes toward meaning, happiness, and many other variables -- like stress levels, spending patterns, and having children -- over a month-long period, the researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a "taker" while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a "giver."
"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors write. [...]
"Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others," explained Kathleen Vohs, one of the authors of the study, in a recent presentation at the University of Pennsylvania. In other words, meaning transcends the self while happiness is all about giving the self what it wants. People who have high meaning in their lives are more likely to help others in need. "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need," the researchers, which include Stanford University's Jennifer Aaker and Emily Garbinsky, write. [...]
"Having negative events happen to you, the study found, decreases your happiness but increases the amount of meaning you have in life. Another study from 2011 confirmed this, finding that people who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose. "If there is meaning in life at all," Frankl wrote, "then there must be meaning in suffering."
There's More to Life Than Being Happy
"The outlawing of psychoactive drugs amounts to the worst case of scientific censorship in modern times, a group of leading scientists have argued.
"A paper published today in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience claims that the UN conventions on drugs in the 1960s and 1970s have not only compounded the harms of drugs but also produced the worst censorship of research for over 300 years. They have set back research in key areas such as consciousness by decades and effectively stopped the investigation of promising medical treatments, the researchers say.
"The paper is written by Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London and Leslie King, both former government advisors, and Professor David Nichols of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"The possession of cannabis, MDMA (ecstasy) and psychedelics are stringently regulated under national laws and international conventions dating back to the 1960s.
“The decision to outlaw these drugs was based on their perceived dangers, but in many cases the harms have been overstated and are actually less than many legal drugs such as alcohol,” said Professor Nutt, Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.
"“The laws have never been updated despite scientific advances and growing evidence that many of these drugs are relatively safe. And there appears to be no way for the international community to make such changes.”
Drug laws "censor science", say researchers