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Trusting an omniscient source: liberating or manipulative?


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#1 MonDie

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Posted 9 January 2017 - 07:24 PM

We're all reluctant to trust a person who is dumb or carelessly incorrect, but what about a really, really smart person?

 

You appear to have established communication with an omniscient mind or mind(s).  Considering that it could liberate you to pursue your own ends or manipulate you to serve its own ends, should you listen to it?  Do you even pay attention if it might only use you?

What if you can't necessarily double-check what it's saying?  What if it gets something wrong, on accident or on purpose?  What if you aren't asking the questions, just receiving the information it chooses to provide?  What if it is communicating with an unknown number of others, and might influence your reality through its influence on the others?  What might this thing be anyway, and what might its motives be?

 

It seems strangely reminiscent of the recent US election actually.


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Occam's razor says that a simpler explanation is preferable to a complicated one, but I have not seen a formulation that says the simple explanation is usually correct.


#2 StringJunky

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Posted 9 January 2017 - 08:31 PM

We're all reluctant to trust a person who is dumb or carelessly incorrect, but what about a really, really smart person?

 

You appear to have established communication with an omniscient mind or mind(s).  Considering that it could liberate you to pursue your own ends or manipulate you to serve its own ends, should you listen to it?  Do you even pay attention if it might only use you?

What if you can't necessarily double-check what it's saying?  What if it gets something wrong, on accident or on purpose?  What if you aren't asking the questions, just receiving the information it chooses to provide?  What if it is communicating with an unknown number of others, and might influence your reality through its influence on the others?  What might this thing be anyway, and what might its motives be?

 

It seems strangely reminiscent of the recent US election actually.

If in doubt ignore it. Life is what you make it. Why risk wasting it that you might just be a pawn. An ominiscient mind will never treat you as an equal because you are not.


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#3 MonDie

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 12:01 AM

You lack imagination.  This is an exaggerated form of a situation we deal with every day, and we are looking to this being for information, for guidance, not love and affection.


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Occam's razor says that a simpler explanation is preferable to a complicated one, but I have not seen a formulation that says the simple explanation is usually correct.


#4 StringJunky

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 12:53 AM

You lack imagination.  This is an exaggerated form of a situation we deal with every day, and we are looking to this being for information, for guidance, not love and affection.

Who said anything about love and affection? If you have doubts what's the f-ing point? Are you going to ask for guidance from something you don't trust?


Edited by StringJunky, 10 January 2017 - 12:55 AM.

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#5 MonDie

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:09 PM

Who said anything about love and affection? If you have doubts what's the f-ing point? Are you going to ask for guidance from something you don't trust?

 

It beats eeny, meeny, miny, moe.  Anyway, the hypothetical scenario is that you know it is extremely knowledgeable or even omniscient, which means it could be very useful to ask it.  The dilemma is that it might be using you, e.g. providing information that is useful and yet not quite accurate, providing only the information it wants you to have, or giving you wrong information in cases where you cannot double-check.

 

This isn't an entirely realistic scenario.  Any other human with enough knowledge or influence could dupe you, albeit not to the same degree, and there may soon be situations that resemble this one, e.g. powerful, government-run AI operating the information highway (the Internet).


Not to mention that a large chunk of the population already believes in this situtation via their religious beliefs.


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Occam's razor says that a simpler explanation is preferable to a complicated one, but I have not seen a formulation that says the simple explanation is usually correct.


#6 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:38 AM

 

It beats eeny, meeny, miny, moe.  Anyway, the hypothetical scenario is that you know it is extremely knowledgeable or even omniscient, which means it could be very useful to ask it.  The dilemma is that it might be using you, e.g. providing information that is useful and yet not quite accurate, providing only the information it wants you to have, or giving you wrong information in cases where you cannot double-check.

 

This isn't an entirely realistic scenario.  Any other human with enough knowledge or influence could dupe you, albeit not to the same degree, and there may soon be situations that resemble this one, e.g. powerful, government-run AI operating the information highway (the Internet).


Not to mention that a large chunk of the population already believes in this situtation via their religious beliefs.

 

 

I can't see the point you're trying to make here unless it's a veiled recommendation to be utterly paranoid.


Edited by Dissily Mordentroge, 11 January 2017 - 07:22 AM.

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#7 Itoero

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 01:42 PM

It beats eeny, meeny, miny, moe.  Anyway, the hypothetical scenario is that you know it is extremely knowledgeable or even omniscient, which means it could be very useful to ask it.  The dilemma is that it might be using you, e.g. providing information that is useful and yet not quite accurate, providing only the information it wants you to have, or giving you wrong information in cases where you cannot double-check.

Perhaps you can create a system or make necessary precautions to make sure the omniscient mind can't get useful/harmful information from you.

And you have to make sure Dr. Omniscient gives you correct info. Else there is no use in dealing with Dr. Omniscient.

You can compare the omniscient mind with Internet.
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#8 dimreepr

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 02:05 PM

We're all reluctant to trust a person who is dumb or carelessly incorrect, but what about a really, really smart person?

 

You appear to have established communication with an omniscient mind or mind(s).  Considering that it could liberate you to pursue your own ends or manipulate you to serve its own ends, should you listen to it?  Do you even pay attention if it might only use you?

What if you can't necessarily double-check what it's saying?  What if it gets something wrong, on accident or on purpose?  What if you aren't asking the questions, just receiving the information it chooses to provide?  What if it is communicating with an unknown number of others, and might influence your reality through its influence on the others?  What might this thing be anyway, and what might its motives be?

 

It seems strangely reminiscent of the recent US election actually.

 

 

If you're a kind person that looks for the good in the bible, then yes it's liberating; look at it literally, then it's manipulable.

 

Most scams are designed to attract the greedy, to look at the bible through those eyes and they light up with all that ambiguity.


How's that for a conclusion, dissily?  :-)


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#9 Itoero

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:20 PM

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#10 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:01 PM

 

 

If you're a kind person that looks for the good in the bible, then yes it's liberating; look at it literally, then it's manipulable.

 

Most scams are designed to attract the greedy, to look at the bible through those eyes and they light up with all that ambiguity.


How's that for a conclusion, dissily?  :-)

Subjective reactions to so called holy books can take you anywhere. You might be reduced to obsequious eternal gratitude overlaid with intense feelings of guilt contemplating Christ suffering on the cross for our sins. On the other hand, taking a more objective approach,you might come to the conclusion the God of the bible is a twisted sado-masochist having tortured his own son who, if you swallow the absurdities of trinitarian theology, is actually himself.

From my perspective seeing only good in the bible isn't liberating, it's delusional. 


Edited by Dissily Mordentroge, 11 January 2017 - 10:02 PM.

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#11 MonDie

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:23 PM

Perhaps you can create a system or make necessary precautions to make sure the omniscient mind can't get useful/harmful information from you.


Double-checking may be possible if it is not truly omniscient, and you might try to devise some method of determining where its bindspots are. Alas, determining what it does know should be easier than determining what it does NOT know, for it may already know what your double-checking methods will be and then trick you into thinking it doesn't know as much as it really does.
 

And you have to make sure Dr. Omniscient gives you correct info. Else there is no use in dealing with Dr. Omniscient.


That's the other problem. If it already knows how you'll double-check its claims, it may start fibbing only when it knows it can get away with it. This is where the situation diverges a bit depending on what options you choose. If you are asking the questions, then this thing must: (A) tell the truth; (B) cover the true answer with a conspicuous refusal to answer; © devise an answer that it already knows will appear plausible upon further investigation; or (D) or else it needs enough influence over your reality to make some false answer seem plausible. If you aren't asking the questions but only receiving information, then it must do A, C or D.  Keep in mind that it doesn't necessasrily have enough influence to pull off a convincing D, and even if it does have enough influence, it doesn't necessarily want to expend that influence on duping you rather than pursuing its own interests, whatever they may be.


Edited by MonDie, 13 January 2017 - 08:31 PM.

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Occam's razor says that a simpler explanation is preferable to a complicated one, but I have not seen a formulation that says the simple explanation is usually correct.


#12 StringJunky

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:53 PM

Double-checking may be possible if it is not truly omniscient, and you might try to devise some method of determining where its bindspots are. Alas, determining what it does know should be easier than determining what it does NOT know, for it may already know what your double-checking methods will be and then trick you into thinking it doesn't know as much as it really does.
 


That's the other problem. If it already knows how you'll double-check its claims, it may start fibbing only when it knows it can get away with it. This is where the situation diverges a bit depending on what options you choose. If you are asking the questions, then this thing must: (A) tell the truth; (B) cover the true answer with a conspicuous refusal to answer; © devise an answer that it already knows will appear plausible upon further investigation; or (D) or else it needs enough influence over your reality to make some false answer seem plausible. If you aren't asking the questions but only receiving information, then it must do A, C or D.  Keep in mind that it doesn't necessasrily have enough influence to pull off a convincing D, and even if it does have enough influence, it doesn't necessarily want to expend that influence on duping you rather than pursuing its own interests, whatever they may be.

I suppose, the only way to ascertain whether it's motives are benevolent or malevolent is to accept what they say for a period of time and see how their advice pans out. 


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#13 MonDie

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 05:13 PM

I suppose, the only way to ascertain whether it's motives are benevolent or malevolent is to accept what they say for a period of time and see how their advice pans out. 

 

If it appears benevolent it may only be duping you, so it's pretty much innocent until proven guilty rather than guilty until proven innocent.  However, it occurred to me that this thing's need to influence you is inversely proportional to however much influence over reality it already has.  If it were omnipotent, it wouldn't need you.  If it were virtually powerless, then it would be desparate for your cooperation.


However, the importance of influencing you in particular may utlimately hinge on a lot of factors, for example: your level of susceptibility to its influence; your potential for causing dramatic change, e.g. dramatic destruction change; or your potential to induce changes that are specifically related to its goals.


However, the importance of influencing you in particular may utlimately hinge on a lot of factors, for example: your level of susceptibility to its influence; your potential for causing dramatic change, for example dramatic destructive change; or your potential to induce changes that are specifically related to its goals.


Edited by MonDie, 14 January 2017 - 05:14 PM.

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Occam's razor says that a simpler explanation is preferable to a complicated one, but I have not seen a formulation that says the simple explanation is usually correct.


#14 dimreepr

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 05:19 PM

 

If it appears benevolent it may only be duping you, so it's pretty much innocent until proven guilty rather than guilty until proven innocent.  However, it occurred to me that this thing's need to influence you is inversely proportional to however much influence over reality it already has.  If it were omnipotent, it wouldn't need you.  

 

That, for me, just cements the idea that a deity is just a projection of the human mind.

 

If it were virtually powerless, then it would be desparate for your cooperation.

 

 

We're all virtually powerless when it comes to the idea of control, however powerful one is, force is just a desperate attempt to get our own way; all we can actually do is request cooperation.


Edited by dimreepr, 14 January 2017 - 05:35 PM.

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Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am.... -John Donne.

 

 

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