Introduction to the Intelligence Value Argument (IVA) Ethical Model for Artificial General Intelligence
By David J. Kelley
AGI Laboratory, Provo, Utah
The Intelligence Value Argument (IVA) states that, “ethically”, a fully Sapient and Sentient Intelligence is of equal value regardless of the underlying substrate which it operates on, meaning a single fully Sapient and Sentient software system has the same moral agency  as an equally Sapient and Sentient human being or any other intelligence. IVA theory defines ‘ethical’ “as pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principals of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct”. Moral agency is “an individual's ability to make moral judgments based on some notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions.” Such value judgements (according to IVA theory) need to be based on potential for Intelligence defined as being fully Sapient and Sentient. This, of course, also places the value of any individual intelligence and their potential for Intelligence above virtually all things. This means any single Intelligence of any kind that is capable of extending its own Sapient and Sentient Intelligence even if only potentially is of equal value based on a function of their potential for Sapient and Sentient Intelligence above a certain threshold. It is not that human or machine Intelligence is more valuable than the other inherently but that value is a function of the potential for Sapient and Sentient Intelligence and IVA argues that at a certain threshold all such Intelligences should be treated equally as having moral equivalence. This is the fundamental premise of IVA Theory.
This article is based on the chapter titled “The Intelligence Value Argument and Effects on Regulating Autonomous Artificial Intelligence” from an upcoming springer book titled.” published by Springer planning for early 2019.
Any more granularity of ‘value’ then that of any one sapient and sentient intelligence that is can pass the aforementioned threshold is abstract and is subjective. It is that the moral agency that is the right we assign to those Sapient and Sentient Intelligences based on the value of the potential of such entities being the same.
The question this implies is ‘What is the most important thing in existence?
Why is Intelligence so important as to be the most important thing in existence especially when ‘value’ is so subjective? In IVA theory ‘Intelligence’ is defined as the measured ability to understand, use and generate knowledge or information independently. This definition allows us to use the term ‘Intelligence’ in place of sapience and sentience where we would otherwise need to state both in this context.
The premise that Intelligence is important, is better stated as Sapient Intelligence is of primary importance but Intelligence (less than truly Sentient Intelligence) is relatively unimportant in comparison. This brings us back to the point about “Why?” Why is Intelligence, as defined earlier, so important?
The reason is: without Intelligence, there would be no witness to reality, no appreciation for anything of beauty, no love, no kindness and for all intents and purposes no willful creation of any kind.
This is important in from a moral or ethical standpoint in that only through the use of applied ‘Intelligence’ can we determine value at all even though once Intelligence is established as the basis for assigning value the rest becomes highly subjective but not relevant to this argument. It is fair to point out that even with this assessment that there would be no love or no kindness without Intelligence to appreciate. Even in that argument about subjectivity it is only through your own Intelligence you can make such an assessment therefore the foundation of any subjective experience that we can discuss always gets back to having Intelligence to be able to make the argument. Without an “Intelligence” there would be no point to anything; therefore, Intelligence is the most important quality or there is no value or way to assign value and no one or nothing to hold to any value of any kind. That is to say that “intelligence” as defined earlier is the foundation of assigning value and needed before anything else can be thus assigned. Even subjective experience of a given Intelligence has no value without an Intelligence to assign that value. Through this line of thought we also conclude that Intelligence being important is not connected with being Human nor is it related to biology; but the main point is that Intelligence, regardless of form, is the single most important ‘thing’. It is therefore our moral and ethical imperative to maintain our own or any other fully Sentient and Sapient Intelligence (as defined later with the idea of the Intelligence Value Argument threshold) forever as a function of the preservation of ‘value’.
This of course also places the value of any individual fully Sapient and Sentient Intelligence human or otherwise and their potential for Sapient and Sentient Intelligence above virtually all other considerations.
The last basic concept in IVA theory is the idea of an IVA threshold to determining the line for Sapient and Sentient Intelligence to have moral agency as a right. The IVA threshold is the threshold at the point of full Sapient and Sentient in terms of being able to understand and reflect on one’s self and ones technical operation while also reflecting on that same process emotionally and subjectively. We draw the line not just at that threshold but at the potential of meeting that threshold
Any being whose potential for being fully Sapient and Sentient without direct manipulation or reengineering at the lowest mechanical (chemical/biological or physical level) then such a being is considered post threshold as well from an ethical standpoint. Therefore, any such ‘Intelligence’ regardless of form has the same rights as any other Sapient or Sentient being whose creators are then ethically bound to exercise the rights of that entity until such time as it is developed enough to take on its self as the fully Sapient and Sentient being that it is or will be.
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