An AGI Modifying Its Utility Function in Violation of the Strong Orthogonality Thesis
Journal article, 2020

An artificial general intelligence (AGI) might have an instrumental drive to modify its utility function to improve its ability to cooperate, bargain, promise, threaten, and resist and engage in blackmail. Such an AGI would necessarily have a utility function that was at least partially observable and that was influenced by how other agents chose to interact with it. This instrumental drive would conflict with the strong orthogonality thesis since the modifications would be influenced by the AGI's intelligence. AGIs in highly competitive environments might converge to having nearly the same utility function, one optimized to favorably influencing other agents through game theory. Nothing in our analysis weakens arguments concerning the risks of AGI.

orthogonality thesis

instrumental drives

artificial general intelligence


James D. Miller

Smith College

Roman Yampolskiy

University of Louisville

Olle Häggström

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

University of Gothenburg


2409-9287 (eISSN)

Vol. 5 4 40

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Other Mathematics

Mathematical Analysis



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