To be, or not to be, that is the question

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer; The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? To die: to sleep”
(from Hamlet 3/1)

Now I’m no literary critic. I could not help to be reminded however of this most famous snippet of Shakespearean writing when working on putting together a set of axiomatic beliefs on which the core belief of my friendly AI theory is founded on: that is good what increases fitness.

Inspired by a comment on famous geek site I sat down to do the following:

  • write down a strongly held belief => “That is good what increases fitness.”
  • write down the set of “sub-beliefs” that I have which form the basis of my belief
  • iterate above steps, applying the same process to each belief listed

The result was very interesting. Soon I realized that the listed beliefs started to contradict each other so I had to think deeper and rewrite some of them. That lead to new insights and resulted in a set of 40 beliefs. Some of them are trivial and some of them are interesting. Most axiomatic however is the following belief: To exist is preferable over not to exist

To be, or not to be, that is the question. Is that not the metaphorical question implicitly posed by reality on every living thing: ‘Can you exist?’

Over the course of evolution this question was first asked and answered passively on the chemical level and later actively ‘pondered’ on the cognitive level to avoid reality taking its toll. With the realization that what is good is what increases fitness one can start to actively as well as consciously look into developing strategies for ensured continued existence.

Averting the rise of a non-friendly AI then becomes but one of many existential risks.


  1. Rational Morality » Ayn Rand Contra Existence said,

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  4. Rational Morality » Rational spirituality said,

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