Re: Metarationality (was: JOIN: Alden Streeter)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 10:41:01 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
>>Your persistence would be an aspect of your rationality if:
>>1) You consciously chose persistence because you had a correct
>>expectation for correct reasons that this persistence would pay
>>off, i.e.,
>>you noticed that persistence had tended to pay off in the past, and
>>hypothesized that it would pay off in the future. (This is a kind of
>>hypothesis that humans tend to make because, evolutionarily, tending to
>>make this class of hypotheses pays off often enough for it to be an
>>evolutionary advantage. Or you might consciously reason about the
>>similarity of {the past cases of persistence paying off} to the
>>problem at
> Why would my persistence be an aspect of my rationality only if I
> *consciously* chose persistence?

Um, did you read:

>> 2) Evolution tended to select for persistence - because of an
>> exploitable regularity in reality, governing both the past cases of
>> persistence being adaptive, and the present case of persistence being
>> useful to create AI.

Maybe it wasn't clear that this was an "or", rather than an "and", but
either (1) or (2) would be rational. Nor is this an exhaustive list. I
did not say it would be rational only if you consciously chose it. I said
it would be rational if you consciously chose it... *or* if it evolved...
or, for that matter, if you unconsciously chose it out of intuitions that
evolved or were trained to exploit that particular regularity in reality.
  In all cases, the success is nonaccidental; and is nonaccidental because
it exploits a rationally understandable, rationally usable regularity in

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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