Desire is easy. Just use an algorithm that modifies itself based on its output. Either a neural network, where connections between neurons are strengthened or weakened depending on if they produced a desirable output, or a genetic algorithm, where randomly mutated code is selected for the most effective at producing a desirable output. Or do both.
But even earthworms can desire. When the rain floods their tunnels, they seek the drier surface. When plant cells reproduce, they do so more in the direction that the sunlight is coming from. The difference with humans is we have more complex desires, where we adjust our own "neural network" based on a lot of output, over many years sometimes, and the process is extremely complex, such that it's hard to predict what someone's brain is gonna decide to do next.
I think what you're saying is that we have to tell a computer what it desires, but... humans don't get to decide what they desire either. The decision of what we want is largely outside of our control. Heck, that's 99% of the angst of puberty, where we suddenly start wanting things more than anything, that we spent the last decade not giving a fuck about. And those things we start wanting are significantly self-destructive. Thanks to evolution, it suits the species better if we aren't horny and baby crazy until we're actually capable of producing them, so our bodies are rigged from birth to change our desires profoundly around that time.
So... I think it's just that computers are dumb, and inexperienced. A complex enough computer could fall in love. It might take 18 years of programming it to get that to happen though, never mind as much time as it takes to program the algorithms from the last 9 billion years of natural selection, that human brains are born with.
This post was edited by its author on .