Empathic inference is every-day common mind-reading. It’s an inference made about other person’s mental states using your own brain as reference, by making your brain feel or think in the same way as the other person you can emulate his mental state and predict his reactions. This method is extremely less costly than trying to model the brain as a physical system and then calculating the expected reaction. It can be used in science, for example in cognitive psychology it’s standard procedure to use a panel of reviewers ascribing emotional states and expected reactions to other individuals. However, it doesn’t reveal the underlying mechanisms behind the reactions and the emotional states.
Due to human's extreme social nature, empathic inference if often wrongly used to predict the behavior of non-human agents in a manifestation of Anthropomorphism. This was commonly done to forces of nature in ancient myths and religions. For example, attributing intentionally to hurricanes saying they are the manisfestation of God's wrath. Today, AGI is often subject to this kind of bias, i.e., some people tend to think a superintelligent AGI would have to be necessarily benevolent or malignant when actually values and intelligent are independent.
- The Comedy of Behaviorism How Behaviorism tried to ban empathic inferences from science.