Re: Floppy take-off

From: Jimmy Wales (
Date: Tue Jul 31 2001 - 18:18:11 MDT

Durant Schoon wrote:
> > I think that this is what Gordon meant. If you have a .5 human intelligence, and you
> > just speed it up by a factor of 2, then you've now given your idiot the ability to think
> > up more stupid thoughts more quickly. This doesn't mean that it will make more progress,
> > since it will still not be able to correctly judge which ideas are right or wrong.
> If this hyper-dumbass had a good tutor, would you still feel the same way?
> That is, if this person could learn at all, couldn't he/she(*) learn better
> ways to learn?
> "Learning to learn better", that's what it's all about, after all isn't it?

Maybe, maybe not. There's no question that the ordinary product of our public school
systems could be taught to think more clearly, thus becoming more productive.

But a .5 human intelligence, which I take to mean something like a "50 IQ", and the
answer is: no, I don't think so.

Without giving too much credence or importance to IQ scores, but using
the concept in a loose way, we can say that (some) experts
characterize the mentally retarded with an IQ of 25-50 as "trainable"
rather than "educable".

Of course, a "not quite human" AI isn't likely to be much like a mentally retarded
human. Probably more like an "idiot savant", i.e. hyperintelligence in some ways,
but really stupid in other ways. As an example, we are shocked to see some autistic
people do complex multiplications in their heads, but we should *expect* that even
the most lame-ass general AI we can build to be able to do that no problem, since it's
exactly the kind of thing we can easily program. We can say "Hey, Compu-Homer, what's
3.7 divided by .2345?" He'll be able to answer easily.

I suppose the real question is how hard it would be to network a bunch of .5 idiots
and create a single networked intelligence of somewhat human capabilities.

I believe that Gordon's original point can be expanded by saying that _depending on
the particular *way* in which our AI is stupid, and the *reasons* for that stupidity,
simply throwing more CPU cycles just makes a really fast moron.


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