Re: Seed AI (was: How hard a Singularity?)

From: James Higgins (
Date: Tue Jun 25 2002 - 09:15:11 MDT

At 07:49 AM 6/25/2002 +0200, Eugen Leigl wrote:
>On 24 Jun 2002, James Rogers wrote:
> > I don't usually consider something that is an example of "just right"
> > engineering to be "complex", except perhaps in a pedestrian sense. For
> > me, "elegant" and "complex" are at the opposite ends of the descriptive
> > spectrum when talking about software.
>The world is complex, at least if one wants to survive in it. Presence of
>life tends to make it even more complex, especially if it's intelligent
>life. A useful AI needs to be performance competitive with instances of
>life. Directed self-improvement requires at least human intelligence
>level. (Stochastically driven improvement has much lower requirements).
>Somewhere you need to encode that complexity. The distinction between
>hardware and software is rather meaningless (we can safely assume a quite
>simple transformation on a pattern will do), but the pattern must contain
>a lot of assumptions about how the world is structured in order to be able
>to start extracting knowledge from it.
>I'm a bit at loss why most people here think you can just sit down, think
>briefly, introspect a little, and write down that very large vector. This
>is a lot like taking a core dump on the world. Without a lot of trial and
>error, what is the source of that knowledge?

Eugen, are you an engineer? I believe Mr. Rogers was trying to say that
generally referring to systems as "complex" has little meaning. At least
unless you are using a rigid measure of complexity to quantify the
implementation difficulty and time required. Just saying that something is
complex does not meet this criteria, of course. Saying that life is
complex and thus an AI must be complex to compete thus has no meaning in an
engineering sense.

As he puts it an AI could easily be considered complex "in a pedestrian
sense", which is true. But in an engineering sense no one yet knows
exactly how complex a good AI implementation will be. The complexity of
the world, however, is completely irrelevant to the problem (since we're
not trying to create an Artificial World, just a single Artificial
Intelligence that would exist in it).

James Higgins

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