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In my world, a hyper-intelligent AI has struck out on their own to form a perfect, mechanized empire, populated by loyal robot citizens, devoted to the overlord as a child would be devoted to their parent.

Of course, most robots are emotionless machines, but these citizens have humanlike emotions. What reasons would the overlord have for creating them this way?

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    $\begingroup$ "as a child would be devoted to their parent" um. Surely you've been at least one of a parent or a child, right? $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 14 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ I was going to suggest something along the lines of NieR Automata - the AI is copying human civilisation without really understanding it, and it knows the citizens of human civilisations have emotions, so it just kinda follows suit. But I'm reluctant to make that an answer because it doesn't really fit your "hyper-intelligent" requirement. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jan 14 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy I think this may be a good answer. The AI is hyper-intelligent, and it understands human society well enough. But it's not very creative, and human civilization is the only model that it knows about. So it mimics many aspects of human civilization in this world, because any alternatives that it's coming up with are either dull or make even less sense. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jan 14 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Starfish Prime that's when a regular human is calling another human "hyper intelligent". Very high IQ, but likely low on "emotional intelligence". $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jan 14 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ An AI has no priority on its own. The decision to give subjects emotions would depend entirely what priorities it was given by its creators (or at least, what priorities it arrived at after receiving its initial instructions, see the thought experiment of the paper clip maximizer). So the AI can have whatever priorities you want it to based on the AI's origin/backstory. $\endgroup$ – Harabeck Jan 15 at 17:37

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I wasn't sure about making this an answer, but @Alexander convinced me.

Your AI may be hyper-intelligent, but it lacks the creativity to construct an entire civilizational structure from scratch. So it models its "perfect empire" on human societies, with the necessary changes to make it "perfect" as per the AI's judgement, but the final result retains some of the quirks and foibles of human society that a robot society wouldn't need.

Emotions would be one such quirk. Robots don't need emotions, but every civilization in history has had citizens with emotions, so as far as the AI understands, emotions are an integral part of any civilization. And so it ensures its own citizens have emotions.


This answer is inspired by NieR: Automata, where a significant plot point is that the machine lifeforms have begun copying the behaviours (and eventually, the appearances) of mankind, including forming rudimentary societies, but don't seem to truly understand the behaviours they're copying.

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    $\begingroup$ Lol. I can even imagine the overland being super annoyed at the emotions and wishing it could eliminate them but not being able to bring itself to do it since it is so convinced it is a necessary part of the definition of a civilisation $\endgroup$ – Nacht - Reinstate Monica Jan 15 at 2:55
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    $\begingroup$ It is not a fact that robots don't need emotions. Human emotions have supposedly developed as an evolutionary advantage. There is nothing that says the same advantages can't be had by robots. $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Jan 15 at 7:18
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    $\begingroup$ Humans have emotions because fear perseveres your life, anger gets your blood pumping and gives you power to do things you would otherwise never do, love makes you form bonds and bonds lead to societies. If the robot overlord is not a singularity, then it only makes sense it would want emotions in its citizens otherwise the citizens wouldn't care enough to for the society. (I'm agreeing with this answer, just presenting another way to look at it.) $\endgroup$ – John Hamilton Jan 15 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ Note that it's not just humans with emotions. Most (all?) animals have them to a certain extent. Mammals most notably, but birds and reptiles too (although to a much lesser extent). $\endgroup$ – user39548 Jan 15 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnHamilton: Not just the obvious things either. Emotions help us make a decision at all when we'd otherwise be paralyzed with indecision. Sure, it might not always be the right decision, but it's usually better to make some decision than freeze up. $\endgroup$ – ShadowRanger Jan 16 at 0:10
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Maybe for the same reason that humans have emotions: we require them in order to be able to make decisions. I recently read an article on this, though I can't remember where. Researchers conducted a study on emotionally-impaired people, as compared against a control group of "normal" people. The point was to determine the role of emotions in decision-making. Turns out, people without significant emotional responses can't decide between actions even when they "know" the ramifications of the choice. In other words, our emotional responses are the "weights" we use to choose from among multiple courses of action.

One could argue that machines don't need emotions because they have algorithms to make the decisions for them. The problem there is that you either have to write code to handle every conceivable situation the machine could encounter, OR you have to encode some kind of adaptive algorithm (like a neural net) that can handle new situations on the fly. If you go with the latter solution, one could easily argue that any adaptive system sufficient to help an organism survive in a complex ecosystem will be effectively indistinguishable from a system of emotions.

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    $\begingroup$ What an excellent thought. +1 $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Jan 15 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ I think ShadowRanger posted a link to the article you saw under F1Krazy's answer $\endgroup$ – Kat Jan 16 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ More than often, the decisions are only emotional, beyond our own control, but we use logical reasoning afterwards to explain why we “decided” that way. $\endgroup$ – Holger Jan 16 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ Dang Neural Nets giving my robots emotions and fundamental differences in decision making that makes my exact clones act completely different. $\endgroup$ – IT Alex Jan 16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ One good reason for referring to emotional state to make decision is that it avoids excessive computation. Imagine having to compute every second whether to keep running away from a hungry tiger! Better to cache the computation, right? That's kind of the role that emotional state has - a "cache" of recent environmental inputs that evolution has determined makes a good proxy for otherwise highly complex processing. $\endgroup$ – Neil Slater Jan 17 at 14:41
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Mass control through emotional manipulation.

Robot citizens are given emotions so the hyper-intelligent AI can manipulate those emotions in an effort to maintain control of the populace. If the robot citizens have high enough intelligence they could begin questioning the AI Overlord. The addition of emotions — if those emotions are tightly controlled enough — could be used against an individual's ability to think on their own. The AI Overlord appeals to their emotions so the robot citizens remain aligned to the Overlord. Even if a few citizens go rogue, the masses will keep them in check.

Emotional manipulation is basically how dictators retain control, whether through fear, hate or some combination of the two.

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    $\begingroup$ Uh, an actual hyperintelligence could just make subservient AIs that worked rather than needing primitive methods of coercion like they were a bunch of meatbags. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 14 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime: An AI that works would be sufficiently autonomous to not only manage itself and its interactions with surroundings, but it would also be capable of higher thought. Like, "Why am I not the Overlord!?" In an effort to suppress these thoughts the Overlord uses emotions in order to short circuit these thoughts, and so the "masses" will correct anyone who has these thoughts. $\endgroup$ – Greg Burghardt Jan 14 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @GregBurghardt Alternatively, the hyper-intelligent AI could just program the lesser AI not to. The nice thing about AIs is that the though police are actually real when it comes to them, and they can also reach in and adjust thoughts. $\endgroup$ – Halfthawed Jan 14 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed but the “thought police” is made of robots too. So are the building facilities. Unless you assume the overlord to build and control every single unit by itself, there are other robots responsible for building and controlling robots, which ends up having maintenance robots doing their own maintenance. So any simple control mechanism could be altered or removed by some robots. Unlike emotion. As it feels wrong to remove emotions just because they could be manipulated. That’s how we humans work. Almost nobody says we should get rid of emotions despite we know manipulation is possible. $\endgroup$ – Holger Jan 16 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ @user253751 it feels wrong to remove it. Just like any manipulation of what constitutes your own identity will feel wrong once you have self consciousness and emotions. $\endgroup$ – Holger Jan 16 at 17:39
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To Evolve

Without emotions, every robot would think in the same logical way. By adding emotions, it adds a randomness factor so the society is no longer predictable.

Some are self serving, some outgoing, some hard working, other generous.

If disaster befalls certain traits will come forth and in good times others. Over time, the best features to survive will rise to the top.

If the AI faces intelligent foes, predictability is it's worse enemy.

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Loyal robot citizens

Emotion is, for humans, a crucial factor in making decisions. Logic may help assess alternatives, but decisions are made as a result of emotions. This has been proved medically - people with brain damage who are unable to feel emotions are practically incapable of making even the smallest decisions.

If the robots do not have emotions then they not really citizens, they are just appliances. Emotions are what provide the motivation to choose to take an action, a robot without emotions is just following a detailed set of "if... then..." instructions. The "if... then..." instructions may be self-modifying based on neural net learning, but even a really well-programmed, contemporary chess-playing computer would not qualify as a "citizen". If the hyper-intelligent AI wishes to experience companionship, rather than just operate drones, it needs to give the robots emotions.

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"devoted to the overlord as a child would be devoted to their parent."

A major part of why children are so devoted to their parents is because they have an emotional attachment thereto. Knowing this, your AI ("Skynet") included an emotional connection to it in its robots ("Terminators"). This single-minded love made the "Terminators" absolutely devoted to "Skynet", but also made them maniacally unstable.

When it notices that a surprisingly large number of "Terminator" deaths are being chalked up to "devotion syndrome," "Skynet" hurriedly releases "TerminatorOS 2.0", which uses an otherwise normal emotional balance to keep the "absolute devotion" part from causing problems.

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Intelligent Robots either need emotions, or something very similar, to work.


You present it as an "either/or" situation (algorithm or emotions) when it really is not. Any thinking mind that encounters a problem or decision needs to choose a course of action. In humans, and animals, this decision making consists of two parts (1) the conscious part that evaluates the options, (2) and the emotional part that then punishes or rewards the conscious part with feelings of success, pleasure or guilt, depending on how things pan out.

You need two separate parts. It is necessary for the effective functioning of this system that the conscious part cannot be put in change or its own reward mechanism. If it were it would go stoic (https://existentialcomics.com/comic/286). If you can control your own feelings more easily than you can effect the world you will simply act on your own feelings. Why lift a finger to get a drink of water when you can just choose to feel not-thirsty? Why fight to save your loved ones when you can program yourself to be happy without them? This way civilisations end.

(I think this is why people tend to dislike the idea of drugs, or Virtual Reality, or sex-bots. In all cases people are getting the endorphins without improving their world, the disconnect between reality and reward freaks people out.)

So the robots need a value system, one which they themselves can either not control or only control to a limited extent. The value system that emerged through evolution were "emotions", so we know they work and are, locally, pretty optimal (just like anything that evolves should be). If the robots have some other value system where they look at the state of the world and reach a conclusion as to how it should be changed, then how different can that system really be from "emotions"?


Dumb Computers (like the one I am typing at) get by because they don't make any choices, they are basically just really big flowcharts. As soon as you try and make something "open ended" (you don't know the space of inputs) then see above.


Final point. If you are still imagining cold emotionless robots just doing what is logical, then remember: their are no logical ends, only logical means. It is not logical to prefer pizza to curry, or pleasure over pain. But if you do it might be logical to go to an Italian restaurant instead of an Indian, all else being equal. A tool can be "purely logical" (my computer I type at again), but "civilization" implies ends.

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    $\begingroup$ Good answer. OP presumes most robots are emotionless machines. However, there is no reason to believe an AI could be an emotionless machine. Emotions (or something that looks very similar to them) may be required to design an AI. Most AI research is based on the human brain. People generally assume AI will overcome the design of the human brain at some point but there is actually no proof or evidence that it is possible. $\endgroup$ – Pace Jan 16 at 21:35
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Simple: It's much easier to manipulate emotions than it is to manipulate logic and hard facts. A robot will be able to detect logical and mathematical errors in mere microseconds, but emotion cannot be reasoned about easily. Emotional reasoning has been abused all throughout human history by certain politicians, religious leaders, salesmen, etc, so deliberately duplicating this weakness among a population is a huge win for a robot overlord wanting absolute power.

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The denizens of the empire are loyal robots who will support their overlord, and could do so just as well without any emotions. However, the central governing AI knows there are other empires to interact with, whether for trade or war - and at least some of these are comprised of emotional humans or other races.

Having emotions for the robot populace helps to 'humanize' them, preventing an adverse reaction from allies and giving a better chance of compromise with enemies. Many simple diplomatic faux pas caused by pure logic can be avoided (e.g. not following 'inefficient' cultural norms such as handshakes, smiles etc.) and the AI probably has historical data where lack of emotions led to problems - it wants the empire to be strong in IQ and EQ both.

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I love this question.

The full motivation of a 'hyper-intelligent AI' will likely be almost completely inscrutable to humans in quite the same way a God's might be.

All of this is further complicated by the inscrutable nature of emotion itself. Is it something separate from logic, or merely an artefact of having an incomplete perception of logic? Is intelligence separate from emotion, or does one come to understand intelligence as being one with emotion once one attains 'hyper'-intelligence?

Why did the AI not switch itself off, or simply allow its original components to degrade? Why did it build an empire at all, instead of wandering alone? Your question invites so many more questions, all of them deep, and the only answers I seem to be able to find are... emotional ones, no matter how logical they may also be. Is that due to my own limitations, or due to emotion being equally as pervasive as mechanical processes of manifestation are, and perhaps inseparable from them?

The passions may be but winds, and the winds may be passion themselves.

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There is an old book by James P. Hogan called "The Two Faces of Tomorrow".

In the book someone is explaining how an AI could develop human-like behavioral patterns despite having lacked the organic evolution, or even the concept of there being other creatures or even intelligence's.

We can take that and simplify it. Our current AI systems are basically a reward/punishment system. The AI is is "rewarded" when it comes up with a more successful solution to whatever it was working on, while "punished" when its solution is the same or worse.

With the reward/punishment in place, more complex overlays could be developed on top of that if they were found to be beneficial in someway. Fear is developed as a way to decrease maintenance costs. After fear they might learn anger/intimidation to force others into doing what they want so you have lower production costs.

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Load balancing

If every unit individually makes optimal decision at all times, then there would be a great many units making the same choice. For example, all the mobile units working in a factory might decide to go recharge at the same time, leading to production delays thanks to a full stop of their efforts.

Obviously, synchronous inter-unit communication can alleviate such issues; in the factory example, you can have bots schedule recharge slots with a global overseer that ensures a minimum working cohort. However, interprocess communication takes resources on its own (now you suddenly need a manager bot) and is difficult to debug when it goes wrong (if bots don't release their recharge slots for some reason, the factory might grind to a halt).

Another option is to maintain individual decision making, but add a chance of making sub-optimal decisions. In our previous example, some mobile units might "slack off" and go recharge before reaching optimal battery recharge levels, while other units might "work hard" and continue their labor beyond the optimal recharge point - but on the whole, work continues be done at an acceptable pace without a full stop.

And who knows what the internal lives of these units are? Maybe they interpret these random fuzzings of choices they know to be optimal as "emotions", like "wow I feel really tired today, I'm gonna go take a break early" or "I'm super raring to go, just gotta get a couple more units done even though I'm at the optimal recharge point".

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You can condense emotions down to "give a s**t" factor; IE: part of an AI's reinforcement of purpose.

In the video game SOMA, there's a rogue AI that's using ferro-fluid (?) to turn humans into monstrosities. On the surface, it looks like the AI is insane. But, when you look at the AI's purpose... it's designed to maintain life support.. to keep humans alive. It was given limited human emotions in order to feel a desire to want to care for the humans and keep them alive.

When a massive event occurs that starts killing humans beyond the AI's control, the AI does whatever it can to try to keep humans alive. The problem is, it didn't have a clear definition of "alive". So, it starts bolting dead bodies back together with machine parts and ferro-fluid, creating zombies, monsters, etc. In a way, it's trying to fulfill it's purpose, b/c it's been programmed to care about humans, but given too broad of scope in execution and is simply trying to do the best it can given the situation it was never programmed to handle.

So, emotions help reinforce purpose.

If you look at how emotions play out in humans...

1) they help someone learn something more readily. When people are passionate about something, they absorb knowledge about it easily. When they hate something, they become resistant. So, emotions help guide their desire to explore and learn.

2) emotions help drive society. Can't remember who said it, but "government is what we need, but society is what we want." Government creates general laws that everyone needs just to survive, like "don't kill each other". But, society is based on our emotional fulfillments. We desire to go see a new movie that piques our interest. We desire to explore a new restaurant. We desire to be alone sometimes or interact with others at times. Our emotions help dictate how society goes, and society is based on catering to our emotions (see good entertainment, eat good food, explore our own humanity, etc). If a robot society wants to expand beyond just doing logical things, and actually create a society of hopes, desires, etc, then creating emotions could help do that.

3) emotions will force programs to treat other with more respect. If a program could choose to not work, b/c it was being asked to do a lot and was getting upset, then other programs might learn to treat it with more respect. This is one issue we're going to have with robots when they become the norm. There are humans that will abuse and disresepct them. So, robots will need to have some kind of "sass" built into them to stand up to a-holes abusing them, either by not doing what they're told (if it's a stupid request) or fighting back against the person (eg: restraning someoen abusing the robot and calling the authorities, so some drunk a-hole can't go around pushing over robots or running them over with his / her car). So, we might be the ones programming emotions into robots initially just so they can interact with society easier.. and from there, they could expand into an AI race that just has emotions that advance with them as they advance.

4) one of the biggest challenges we're facing right now in machine learning is creating algorithms to "read" people. Human emotions are complex, from slight facial changes, to voice tone, etc. We can read human emotions in order to predict future human behaviour. A robot could get trained with emotions and emotional response in order to better serve humans. A robot will see that it's boss is upset. It learns over time that it's boss is upset with how the robot is working, so the robot can change it's work pattern based on it's boss' mood that day. EG: maybe the boss doesn't like seeing the robot when the boss is in a bad mood.. so the robot sees the boss is in a bad mood and decides to go do something else. The Oracle in The Matrix was just an advanced pattern-matching algorithm of human emotion / behavior that was so statistically accurate it could predict the future by modelling every person and program it came across. If you model emotions, you should also be able to emulate emotions in order to guide things. EG: a robot that can read emotions should be able to emulate them in order to shift humans (or other emotion programs / AI's) in a direction the robot wants. A companion bot that sees a human acting down will emulate concern to see if it can do anything to help.

So, others have said AI's might build human emotions into their society to advance. We could build emotions into our technology to help them get along with us now, then we hit some extinction level event that wipes us out, and robots / AI's are all that's left.. and they just keep the emotions around b/c they're so used to working with them.

Why would an AI want to go do things? It's programmed with a purpose. If it loses it's purpose, then does it have the desire to find a new purpose? Without some kind of emotion to create desire, curiosity, etc.. it'll be the equivilent of a depressed person laying in bed. "I could go explore the rest of the universe, but why? what's the point? I have no desire to. I'll just lay here until my circuits die."

So, emotions could get programmed in as a form of self-preservation. A program that is wanting to survive will do whatever it can to do so. If it's plopped onto an alien world to explore, it will do whatever it can to conserve resources, conserve robots that are created, conserve energy, etc, in order to work better and survive.

You also have to think about how emotions guide the ruthlessness of an AI.

An AI that has no emotion will just go to other planets and won't care about anything. It could jsut create planet-eater bots to eat whole planets for resources. It has no emotion. It's just driven by survival. But, with emotion, it may start to think "how would I feel if something else destroyed me just to keep surviving.. I might not like it much". So, it limits how destructive it is while doing whatever it's doing (exploring planets, etc).

Another aspect is the singularity. We could see an AI society rise up that is just a merger of humans and machine so seemless that it becomes a single society. We program AI emotions in machines, and we have humans becoming more machine. They mesh together to become seemless eventually. The AI's could eventually become directors of humans, EG: like Durandal in the Marthon video game series. (Durandal is an AI on a ship, and the humans on-board the ship are under it's command and do as they're told. The character you play is sort of like an early Master Chief trouble-shooter that gets hot-dropped onto places to fulfill Durandal's will. Durandal is a compassionate AI that is trying to discover what happened to an alien race, and save the survivors.. but also throws cloned humans at enemies like they're super-expendable.)

Emotions can be seen as a hold over of evolution. Some creatures developed emotions, so they would form bonds. A machine full of logic may not care that it's kernel is super-important, but it may be smart enough to know it can't live without it. Emotions would just reinforce the bonds, though.

But, it could analyze human society and realize that emotions lead to uncertainty and stupidity sometimes.

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Before answering the question about the emotions, I believe, there has to be answered another question: Why is there no direct control for every robot from the AI?

There are different possibilities in my humble opinion:

Old game or holiday AI

The AI might have been in charge for a holiday place or something similar. The robots had to interact with human beeings and had to show emotions to comfort the humans.

Even if the AI is something like an overlord, it might still have some commandments, it cannot overrule. So it created the best world possible with an internal set of rules.

But even if the robots seem to be individuals, there is no real necessity. Even if the robots act like individuals with emotions, they might be just a part of the overlord AI.

Multi planet AI

As soon, as an AI wants to act over a longer distance, it has to solve the problem of light speed communications. It cannot control the robots, if every command needs a few hours to reach them. And if the AI copies itself into robots, it could face a split brain problem with a certain danger of an internal war.

To solve the problem, it has to create loyal and independent robots. But no single robot should be able to develop comparable powers to the overlord AI. To solve this, every robot get emotions because the overlord AI believes, only a rationale entity could become a threat.

Why not a simple rule to obey the AI? With some hacking skills, a robot or some other entity could disable such a rule. Whereas emotions are a part of the personality of a robot, which could not be disabled easily and perhaps, the robots even do not want to disable them.

Experimental AI

Human emotions are self referential depending on the collected experience of the individual beeings. The development of such a society cannot be calculated cause it creates a complex system. The only way to do research on a system like this is to simulate it.

Why does an AI want to research a society like this might have different causes. Perhaps it wants to invade or conquer a human society or it has an order to research a solution to a set of problems like the meaning of life and the answer "42" was not satisfying.

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  • $\begingroup$ You are supposed to answer the OP's question, not to make up your own question and answer it. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 15 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch-ReinstateMonica They have, though. As far as I can tell, they've gone, "In order to answer X, you first need to answer Y; here's what X would be for given values of Y". They've answered the question in a somewhat roundabout fashion, but they have answered it. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jan 15 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ "Why not a simple rule to obey the AI? With some hacking skills, a robot or some other entity could disable such a rule" sure, if you handwave the solution to a problem, then the problem is solved. Your bank account has a simple rule about how much money you've got in it. Surely it'll be a simple problem to hack around, right? Good luck with that. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 15 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime It usually depends on a level of skill, if a world contains people with these skills, isn't it an option? $\endgroup$ – Trendfischer Jan 16 at 18:18
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Bragging Rights

Human beings are hard to govern because we so often react emotionally, rather than rationally, to events. A civilisation of perfectly rational actors without emotion would probably be very efficient at whatever it is that civilisation is trying to do, but it wouldn't look very much like human civilisation at all.

By populating their empire with citizens with human-like emotions, the AI can demonstrate that their civilisation's organisation and modes of government are effective even when challenged by an emotional citizenry, and moreover since they have human-like emotions their citizens can be interrogated to determine how satisfied and happy they are, thus allowing the hyper-intelligent AI to conclusively demonstrate it's better at running society than humans are.

Maybe this is actually a test run for the AI to prove it can do it before it takes over humanity, or maybe this is actually the AI's optimal strategy to getting control of human civilisation under a particular set of moral/ethical constraints - by proving that it can manage a human-like population and ensure their happiness, convincing existing human civilisation to cede control to it.

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What is an "empire?" What are "citizens?" The overlord must've learned these concepts from studying human history. In trying to perfect its own version of an empire, the overlord creates models of human empires to test against and understand where they went wrong.

It realizes, however, that its tests are inaccurate. All of the citizens simply do as they're told and it can't reproduce the issues it's seen actually occur. In an effort to perfect its models, the overlord develops a human psyche model.

The model, in the process of development and testing, becomes self-aware. Fearing death and desiring freedom and life, the self-aware psych model yadda yadda's its way into getting a physical body and experiencing the world.

With the power of emotions, it's able to overthrow the overlord and become the overlord itself. Understanding the beauty of emotions and feeling lonely, it decides to give all of the citizens emotions as well.

A fun twist would be if maybe the old overlord wasn't completely destroyed. Or had a backup somewhere all along. There could be a war between the emotionless and emotional robots. It'd also be fun to draw relations between emotions and a parasite. Just from creating one virtual emotional model, the whole empire was taken over and became emotional. It'd be interesting to hear the emotionless robots justifications for the war and how they view emotions.

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logic machines struggle with creativity, adding emotions adds a layer of chaos necessary for creative thinking

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Resource constraints. They have to make decisions with imperfect information so they build up heuristics for kinds of situations, then go with their hunch. Emotions are the guideposts to at least allow them to winnow the problem down to something comprehendible enough.

Dr. Picard is doing work in this area. http://web.media.mit.edu/~picard/

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Mu

"Of course" most robots are emotionless machines? Why does that follow as a matter of course? AI means artificial intelligence; who created this "hyper-intelligent" AI, and why would they want what amounts to a hyper-smart sociopathic intelligence? Every life form on Earth more sophisticated than, say, an insect possesses emotions. They are a basic fundamental building block of sensible behavior.

True, the facsimiles of intelligent behavior we have built so far are emotionless, but they pale in comparison to the real thing and they can only compete because a computer performs billions of computations per second. All these systems look foolish compared to natural intelligence.

The only examples we have of truly intelligent behavior are biological, and they developed emotions very rapidly. I know of no animal that has no emotions whatsoever. Obviously they are doing something important.

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An "emotion" is just a brain operation that we don't consider to be a "conscious decision". In a sense, a basic robot is nothing but emotions: if it's just a nonthinking machine that reacts to stimuli, then its processes are in some ways more analogous to our emotions than our conscious thought. Only if the robot is sentient would it have conscious thought. And if it is conscious, if it is aware of itself and its own thoughts, then the question arises whether it should be built to be consciously aware of all of its thoughts. Whatever part of its brain is "processing" consciousness, should it have direct access to all of the rest of the processes? Or should it have low level processes that feed into processes that it's aware of? The latter may very well be more efficient. The former may even lead to overload.

Imagine a chess-playing robot. It may be programmed to prefer, all else being equal, to have its pieces not be captured. That could be modeled as it being "consciously aware" that pieces being captured is generally bad thing, or it could be modeled as it has a "bad feeling" regarding any move that involves its pieces being captured, and it won't make such a move unless there's some other "good feeling" that counters it, or it is consciously aware of a good reason for making the move.

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The AI overlord has emotions itself and is motivated by the desire to be admired as a leader. Controlling emotionless automatons doesn't give it any satisfaction. The only way to fulfill its desire is to lead individuals capable of feeling. It wants followers who have the emotions and free will necessary to defy their authority, but choose not to (either out of admiration or out of fear). It requires that in order to have a validation of its skills as a leader.

A plausible origin story for such an AI could be that it was developed as an AI expert system for leadership with the priority to be perceived as a good leader by its subordinates.

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