From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 08:06:53 MDT

>If the thinking module can decide how to organize its thoughts, then it can
>decide how to organize the universe.

I think that the sentiment behind this statement should probably be taken
farther for emphasis because de-anthropomorphising is hard. For a Very
Powerful Optimizing Process, there is no natural distinction between its
thoughts and the universe. "thinking", just like all other actions, is just
re-arranging molecules for the purpose of predicting and maximizing utility.
  Sometimes, one will think with a digital process, this is closer to what
we call "formal thought", but is also what we call "running a simulation".
Sometimes analog processes are used, this encompasses what we call
"experimentation", but also "intuition". Keeping this lack of self in mind
is important, because it encompasses many situations where the programmer
would like to ask the GAI to "figure out X but don't DO anything". Figuring
out X is a type of doing no different from any other, and like any other
type of doing, involves taking in inputs and producing outputs. We just
don't generally think of it that way when we do the sort of cognition that
seems most like"figuring things out" to us.

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