Coherent Blended Volition

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Coherent Blended Volition is a recent concept coined in a 2012 paper by Ben Goertzel with the aim to clarify his Coherent Aggregated Volition idea. This clarifications follows the author's attempt to develop a comprehensive alternative to Coherent Extrapolated Volition.


When discussing machine ethics and the extrapolation of human values for use in AGIs, CAV appears to the author as being easily misinterpreted, with a confusion emerging between aggregation and averaging. This misinterpretation is then clarified through CBV, which suggests instead a “conceptual blend” between different values and perspectives. The term was borrowed from Fauconnier and Tunner’s works exploring creativity (2002) and is suggested that such process would allow for an harmonious and elegant incorporation of divergent views and goal sets. The major detail here is that each and every single one of the persons whose views are being blended would have to agree that these blend includes enough of their own contributions.

According to original definition of this conceptual blending, new concepts are formed by combining the most important details of already existing ideas. This process, however, is done carefully, in order to obtain a useful and high-value new concept. As such, the result is similar in a way to the concepts that gave birth to it, but at the same time possessing its own novel integrity. When considering the problem of aggregating volitions for use in AGI, this blending of different people’s goals and views is proposed as a novel, fine-tuned solution with which no human would disagree.


If a thorough collective interactive process to arrive at a form of Coherent Blended Volition is to be designed, it can probably encompass many of the same kind of extrapolations that are part of Yudkowsky's Coherent Extrapolated Volition. The main difference between the two methods relies on who's responsible for guiding them. In CEV, this process is to be carried by a highly developed software framework. On the other hand, in the approach proposed by Coherent Blended Volition, this is to be done by a collective human activity. This perspective relies on the assumption that the creation and definition of collective human values is probably better carried out through human work and collaboration than through an artificial, machine based process. At the same time, the author links this blending process to already existent tools like the Internet, which already support deep sharing and collective engagement between humanity.

Another major problem with the original CEV definition is that it assumes that humanity’s values, when extrapolated, will become coherent and converge. There is, however, no strong basis for this, as humans can be very divergent in our opinions, goals and ethics. As such, a blend of these features along with an approval from each opinion holder - through CBV - is seen as a viable alternative with a seemingly more useful result than CEV.

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