Re: How hard a Singularity?

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Mon Jul 01 2002 - 19:52:34 MDT

This is the first of a few replies. I've finally caught up on my SL4
reading after being behind for about a week.

On Saturday, June 22, 2002, at 06:00 PM, Ben Goertzel wrote:

> Uncertainty can be used as a psychologically "easy way out", but so can
> overconfidence in one's intuitions and opinions.

There are two things I want to mention.

First, Ben, this is just a diction issue, but intuition, unless used in
some technical sense, is a misleading word. The only reason a thought
is an `intuition' is because your brain thought it up and only told you
the answer, not the process involved in reaching the answer. Since we
know that the only black box aspect of `intuitions' is that you don't
have accesses to the specifics of how you reached an answer (though your
interpreter will be happy to rationalize a reason for you), it's more
accurate to say that this is simply what you think. Intuition
constantly sounds to me like you're claiming you were divinely inspired
in your thoughts (which may be possible if science isn't right, but
AFAIK such a possibility is not readily within your world view).

Second, the social behavior of overconfidence tends to be a side effect
of rational thinking. The more rationally you think, the more sure you
are of your ideas that are in final enough form to tell to other
people. In social games, though, overconfidence is shunned by everyone
else vying to become chief because it gives the person who is
overconfident a better chance of becoming chief ("ug oh, he sure of
idea; he right"). This has become the racial proverb that
overconfidence is always to be shunned. This is correct when it comes
to your average, irrational human. As I stated, though, this is not
true of a rational thinker. If the person really is rational, then they
shouldn't be able to be overconfident because that's irrational
behavior. In other words, Eliezer is only overconfident if he is not
yet rational enough to be outside that kind of thinking.

I have no idea whether he really is that rational or not, but my own
opinion from my interactions with him is that he is.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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