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Re: [ontolog-forum] electric sheep

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 17:40:22 -0400
Message-id: <46D88AC6.7050506@xxxxxxxx>
Joshua Lieberman wrote:    (01)

> There is an amusing / alarming story from the filming of Lord of the  
> Rings concerning the use of a massive autonomous agent animation  
> program for the larger battles. It seems the first attempts at  
> defining the parameters of warrior behavior resulted in most of the  
> agents fleeing the battle scene. Only after concern for personal  
> safety was reduced to an appalling level could the battle animations  
> actually proceed in a "realistic" fashion.    (02)

This comes as no surprise.  For thousands of years, soldiering 
has been motivated by one or more of:
  (1) protection of home and family
  (2) belief in a higher good, that transcends self-preservation
  (3) lust for battle and loot, something to make life worth 
living in a world where life was drab and short,
  (4) belief that your army is invincible, and therefore, you are 
unlikely to take damage, or at least that it is no more dangerous 
than many other jobs
  (5) force and fear, soldiers were serfs and criminals serving 
time, and while the enemy might kill you if you charge, your own 
MPs will surely kill you if you run.
  (6) social force, soldiering is a requirement of manhood, a 
sacred duty, cowardice makes you a worthless outcast.    (03)

And in practice, it is the inverse of (4) -- the perception that 
your army is going to lose -- that makes self-preservation the 
higher priority over the other motivations involved.  If you 
lose, the other objectives/consequences will not be fulfilled. 
And (6) regularly trumps even that -- Leonidas' 300 Spartans, the 
captain who goes down with his ship, the 12-year-old drummer 
beating rally-round-the-flag for a routed regiment, and so on.    (04)

You don't have to program in sheer recklessness, although it is 
definitely a factor;  you just have to model the operating value 
systems correctly.    (05)

But managing conflicting directives and values is a problem for 
many humans.  So we shouldn't be surprised that it is a problem 
for artificial intelligences.  And it is a favorite topic for 
study in perhaps the only part of philosophy this forum hasn't 
yet talked much about -- ethics.    (06)

-Ed    (07)

P.S. My son observed: Players of the Lord of the Rings card game 
all know that the Retreat and Cancel a Skirmish cards are among 
the most effective for advancing your Fellowship.  Running away 
is a great tactic if you can make it work to your advantage.    (08)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (09)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (010)

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