Re: Introducing myself

From: Carlo Wood (
Date: Tue Apr 02 2002 - 07:42:11 MST

On Mon, Apr 01, 2002 at 10:20:44PM -0700, Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > "And let's do this on a part-time volunteer basis with F2F contact once a
> > month," instead of "If the programmers were all MARRIED it might still not
> > be enough; the least we can do is all work out of the same office."
> I think this is a rather silly statement.

I shouldn't get involved I think ;), but I can't resist...

I play chess an aweful lot, and have analysed (as usual)
the way of thinking that a human uses (as opposed to brute
force). The essention of "strategy" is this: taking those
actions that MAXIMIZE the CHANCE that you will be able to
achieve a (sub) goal (make progress thus) in the future,
WITHOUT seeing immedeate or concrete advantages.

For the more mathematical impaired: consider chess and assume
you and your opponent can only think precisely 5 moves ahead.
Then after every move a large ammount of positions "emmerge
from the fog" that makes up the exponentional growing tree
of possibilities after the fifth move. All we can talk about
is the CHANCE to suddenly SEE how to gain profit (or just make
progress); strategy is purely a statistically matter: your
chance to win is proportional to the ratio of the number of
positions you can 'choose' from divided by the number of positions
your opponent can 'choose' from. EVERY strategic advantage in
chess (and all other strategy games for that matter) is based
on this [mobility of the pieces (more choices to pick from results
in more positions that come out of the fog to choose from),
getting more space (ie controlling the center): more space means
more mobility but also more correlation between the pieces
(and correlation is important) etc etc. I am should not give
in to the urge to give chess lessons here heheh. ]

One thing that your discussion makes me think of most is
a king attack (a very clear, short-term goal): if you start a
king attack it is often 'all or nothing', mostly meaning that
you don't yet see how it will end: you just want to maximize
the chances to get there. In order to achieve that you have
to use as many pieces as possible (well, more than your opponent,
in chess everything is relative; for example, I often start a
king attack at the moment my opponent did eat a pawn with his
queen on the other side of the board - his queen is then temporarily
"out of the game" making me relatively MUCH stronger on the king-side).
The reason that you need as many pieces as possible is on one hand
to eliminate your oppents possibility to choose the path of exchange:
you need to end up with at least two pieces to give mate (in most cases)
so you need two more pieces (locally) then your opponent; by cutting
of the paths of exchange you are once again limiting the choices of
your oppent and thus decreasing his chances. But at least as important
is the fact that two pieces with each 4 choices are stronger then one
piece with 8 choices: you can only pick one of the 8 choices and
destroy all other 7 at the moment you pick one. While with two pieces
you only destroy 4 and keep half of the original choices. Of course
there will be new choices after moving a piece, but after 5 moves (as
far as you can 'look') that averages out and two pieces will be twice
as valuable as one piece.

Ok, sorry for the long introduction, but I needed it to make
my statement.

It seems to me that you are both right. But, Eliezer says:
I am not going to start a king attack without first maximizing
my chances - an excellent strategic approach. While Ben says:
if you don't start a king attack until you increased your
chances till the level you aim for, you will never start it.
Now Ben is right too because we are talking about *chances*,
and with Bens approach (starting with volunteers) there is
also a chance that he will succeed, although smaller than
with the approach that Eliezer aims for.

I think that the best thing to do is to do both: At least Ben
starts, and if he fails then we still have Eliezer who might
get funding in the future and then can make an attempt with
more chance for success. It would not make sense to both start
looking for funding or both start to look for volunteers and
try it like that.

Carlo Wood <>

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