Re: [SL4] washington post article

From: Greg A (
Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 16:59:19 MDT

This is a good countermove, Eliezer, but I think I'm going to win this game
of semantic chess. Everyone else please pay attention. If I can out-dialog,
Eliezer, I'm on to something worth noticing (in the Yudkowsky sense). :)

Note for future reference: I've pretty much adopted his semantics for
RNUI -- they're genius-level work in the truest sense of the word.

The key element that I think you're missing, Eliezer, (and which I don't
blame you for, since it's intentionally withheld in the preliminary
announcement) is the (relatively) novel concept (at 30 hours old) of the
semantic network. This only makes sense if you read this:

particularly the mathematical concept of "projection." Dr. Codd noticed it
in 1969. I noticed it in 1999. I understood it about 10 days ago, and I came
across the Codd paper (while search for the name of SQL's inventor and the
date of origin) on Friday morning. That killed the last of my doubt.

My non-linguistic math sucks. I'm sure you guys can see much bigger
implications after you see the link I'm talking about.

The essence of my idea (quickly maturing into a theory) is that the Codd
concept of projection is/(can be) equivalent to semantic meaning in
fact-based computation involving human beings.

[NOTE: There are lots of interesting fallout implications here, but I'm
trying to excite the world about the business implications first before they
figure these out. SL4 is a suitably rarefied atmosphere for exploration of
the deeper meaning in an attention-secure arena.]

What THAT means, is that a team of links humans sharing fact-based data can
perform fact-based computations much better than a pure machine will for the
foreseeable future (i.e. the next 30 days).

Welcome to the New World of Computing, everyone. Check what I'm saying.
Follow the links. Decide whether I'm crazy or genius or both, and let me

"Essential humanity" means what's left over as uniquely human here in the
New World. I'm hoping it will largely be the good stuff, since the good guys
have built the first cybersocial weapon with potentially planetary scale
effect. I think we can stay ahead of the bad guys for long enough to make it
not matter, mainly because the bad guys won't WANT to understand what we're
talking about.

If that's not good news to this group (particularly in light of Mr. Bill
Joy's recent Wired article), I don't know what will be.

REQUEST FOR INACTION: Although this idea is revolutionary, I would very much
appreciate it if nobody took the perceived connection outside this list for
now. I am declaring this idea humanity's first un-patent (i.e. uncontrolled
idea), in the tradition of copyleft, and Fact Technologies doesn't need to
get involved in expensive legal games at this hypercritical early stage of
the process. I'm counting on you guys for support in effecting this social
explosion, so please prove to me that my decision to trust you was valid.


Greg A

Greg A
Chief Executive Officer
Fact Technologies LLC
Giving Business A Mind Of Its Own.(TM)

510-681-8997 (direct)
510-549-1255 (fax)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, April 02, 2000 1:30 PM
Subject: Re: [SL4] washington post article

> Greg A wrote:
> >
> > I have an answer. How about:
> >
> > Use MPC technology, such as that being developed by Fact Technologies,
> > extend humanity's control of the universe through successive legions of
> > Vinge-style physical, digital, and social automation,
> Now, there goes someone who really loves relational databases. If I
> ever need a relational database built, this is probably the person to ask.
> I don't know about a Singularity or an AI, though.
> SQL doesn't exactly capture the full complexity of physics, life, mind,
> and culture, except in the Physicist's Paradigm sense that SQL is
> Of course, this isn't really what you're talking about, according to
> FactTechnologies's video whitepaper. You're talking about using
> real-time enterprise computing systems (which are usually built on
> relational databases, albeit not real-time ones) to add another layer of
> organization to the company; that is, by automating the flows of
> information that result in certain types of responses - even
> thermostat-like feedback - you hope that certain types of higher-level
> phenomena will emerge, just as a capitalist economy emerges from
> selfishness, Gaia effects from DaisyWorld, brains from selfish-neuron
> wiring algorithms, and so on. Personally, I'm not sure how much
> higher-level phenomena you're going to get, but it does seem worth a
> shot. An organization with real-time feedback mechanisms should at
> least be more efficient than one without them, maybe substantially more
> efficient. I've had my own ideas along those lines. But I don't think
> it's enough to save the world.
> Even with real-time feedback mechanisms and emergent phenomena, a
> corporation composed of human elements plus automation does not have the
> complexity of a single human brain. If you have an automated
> corporation with hundreds of non-genius humans, they will not be able to
> outthink a genius human. Thoughts are enormous structures that exist in
> a brain with a hundred billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses;
> the bandwidth between humans, in a corporation, isn't enough to expand
> the class of things that are Obvious, and while it does expand the class
> that's Inventable, it does so in a very limited, airy way.
> Maybe two or three or sixty-four nongeniuses with BCI telepathy links
> (BCI: Brain-Computer Interface) could outthink a genius, if the
> interconnection bandwidth was high enough. (Certainly, both
> corporations and telepaths can do things that a genius can't; the
> question I'm asking is whether they can do genius-things - invent
> Newtonian physics, predict General and Special Relativity, design an
> Groups of humans can spread out a thought-structure over multiple
> individuals, enabling the construction of mental structures far larger
> than any single human is capable of. But the elements of that structure
> have to be joined by links limited to the bandwidth of human language
> (admittedly with a shared reference base). Human genius is
> characterized by very dense, tightly-interconnected chains of reasoning.
> Those genius thoughts might be Understandable by a corporation - they
> are, for that matter, understandable by individuals; GEB, Q.E.D. - but
> the thought processes that Invent them cannot be spread across
> A group of humans is simply capable of holding a larger overall
> structure. Each individual link, each individual insight, is the
> product of a single individual, because the cognitive abilities that
> produce those insights are neural modules and neural processes with
> internal variables that just don't get shared by language.
> Imagine a thousand Gary Kasparovs trying to beat Deep Thought. If they
> were all in the same room thinking about it out loud, that's analogous
> to a modern corporation. If a computer system projects a couple of
> moves ahead and assigns various positions to each separate Kasparov,
> then that's a FactSystem corporation - or at least, that's what they're
> aiming for. Even so, though, the Kasparovs won't be able to share
> insights, chess-perceptions, about each of the hundred boards assigned.
> They'll need to have the same insights over and over. They won't be
> able to take an insight on one board and apply it to a second, or invent
> forks that they'd have to look at two boards at once to see. And when
> it comes time to chose the best move, each one will have to give some
> kind of numeric rating to the chessboard in the absence of any knowledge
> about what the other possibilities are like. They won't be able to
> match a BCI-telepathic team, and a BCI group can't match a
> general-intelligent AI with a chess cortex.
> This is essentially the same objection I have to Marc Stiegler's
> characterization of the Earthweb as a superintelligence, or Robin
> Hanson's characterization of modern corporations as being in the same
> league as hardware intelligence enhancement. (Greg A, if you
> haven't read a book called _Earthweb_ by Marc Stiegler, I think you'd
> really enjoy it.)
> If humans are Legos, then corporations represent the class of structures
> that can be built with Legos; automated corporations are the class of
> structures that can be built with motorized Legos; hardware intelligence
> enhancement is the class of structures that can be built with modern
> manufacturing; and AI is nanotechnology.
> > while attempting to
> > restrain that growth to such an extent that it doesn't dilute our
> > humanity?
> Just thinking about the Singularity for a few years has severely diluted
> my "essential humanity", or at least what most people would cite as
> "essential humanity" - my fear of nonexistence, my emotional attachment
> to various parts of my personality and cognitive architecture, my
> allegiance to the human race (though I'm still fond of it), that sort of
> Can't we just admit that we don't even know which parts of ourselves are
> valuable, and keep an open mind about which parts we might want to throw
> away? Right now, it's all theory. Once we're faced with the reality,
> our perspectives will change.
> I certainly don't have the moral (or engineering) authority to chide
> anyone about remaining attached to their humanity, but the correct goal
> from that perspective is to ensure that each individual has the option
> of remaining human. Not to ensure that everyone is similarly restrained.
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Member, Extropy Institute
> Senior Associate, Foresight Institute
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