Object-level vs. indirect goals


by Eliezer Yudkowsky May 26 2015 updated Dec 23 2015

Difference between "give Alice the apple" and "give Alice what she wants".

An 'object-level goal' is a goal that involves no indirection, doesn't require any further computation or observation to be fully specified, and is evaluated directly on events or things in the agent's model of the universe. Contrast to meta-level or indirect goals.

Some examples of object-level goals might be these:

Here are some example cases of a goal or preference framework with properties that make them not object level:

The object-level vs. meta-level distinction should not be confused with the terminal vs. instrumental distinction.