Re: Beyond evolution

From: Christian Weisgerber (
Date: Sun Feb 04 2001 - 17:34:34 MST

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> wrote:

> Evolution is not something I like. Evolution is something that *is*.
> Moreover, it's a something-that-is that I think humanity (and our new
> friends) should move away from. I think evolution is something we should
> grow out of as we grow up. Evolution is not the best way, or even a good
> way, it's simply the first way. In casting aside evolution, we will lose
> nothing, gain everything, because there is nothing whatsoever that
> evolution can do that can't be done by a sufficiently powerful general
> intelligence. Humans are not "sufficiently powerful", but a seed AI is.

You can't outrun evolution. Not in this universe at least. It is
a very fundamental principle, more fundamental than physical law.
I don't know *what* it is. It's probably subsumed by math. There
are a variety of conditions required, but once these occur you end
up with evolution. It's inevitable.

- A population of replicators.
- Mutation.
  (In its widest meaning, i.e. some change to the replicators.)
- A fitness function.
- Limited survivability, typically by resource limitation.

This may look like a lot of conditions, but good luck trying to
find circumstances where they don't apply.

All you are suggesting with your "casting aside evolution" is a
replacement of the mutation mechanism, from random change to
engineered change by the replicators themselves. This may affect
the mutation speed, but it doesn't change one iota about the
applicability of the principle of evolution. Those that are fitter
will reproduce better, and due to the general pruning by limited
survivability they will spread through the population and eventually
it take over. Variability of the fitness function along some
dimension (space, time) will cause diversity along that dimension.

Stepping beyond evolution smells like a type III god problem to
me. (Maybe type II if you can engineer a really interesting

Maybe Eliezer simply has a different understanding of the term

Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                

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