Predictions versus Projections

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Fri Jul 15 2005 - 00:40:08 MDT

--- Kaj Sotala <> wrote:

> And even that's only assuming your theory does hold
> true -
> even if you aren't capable of providing mathematical
> proof,
> some evidence other that "my intuition tells me
> that" would
> be nice. If you have anything real to show us, then
> please
> do - if you can't back up what you say then what you
> say
> has exactly the same relevance as a priest telling
> us that any
> sort of AI is impossible because his intuition tells
> us an AI
> would not have a soul - that is, none.

A false analogy. No one has a full theory of FAI yet.
 So we just don't know what the final theory is going
to look like. Saying that UM *doesn't exist* is
therefore as much of a guess as saying that it *does*

And I do think I have some general idea of what the UM
is. I just don't know the details or have the maths -
I haven't proved it yet. That's all I meant.

Intuition can certainly lead one astray in areas where
one doesn't have a strong 'modality' (inbuilt
conscious awareness). But in subject areas where one
*does* have a good modality, one doesn't need
deductive calculations. For instance for vision, you
don't need to perform calculations of how things move.
 Humans have a good 'Spatial' modality, so we have
direct conscious awareness of where objects are.

I don't need maths or calculations to be absolutely
confident that Eli and Wilson are wrong. I just know
it. I'm 'hooked into' the morality modality. They

But if you want reasons, I'll take a crack at it.
Here goes:

Here's something subtlely wrong with the notion that
intelligence is all about 'prediction'. I prefer the
word 'projection'. It would be more accurate to say
that intelligence is all making correct *projections*
rather than saying that it's all about making correct
*predictions*. What's the difference?

Well the way the word 'prediction' is normally used,
it means predicting outcomes in the *physical
sciences*. The physical sciences deal with inanimate
objects - or objects that are (in the limit) totally
isolated from interference from volitional entities
(like humans). When predicting a solar eclipse for
instance, scientists are assuming that no one is going
to come along to influence the sun in such a way that
stops the ecilpse from happening. For instance if a
trickster alien were to use advanced technology to do
something to the sun, the prediction of an ecilpse
could be invalidated. So the hidden assumption in
'predictions' in the physical sciences in that systems
are totally isolated from *volitional agencies*
(conscious entities that might interfere with the

*Projections* are slightly different from predictions,
because projections are *possible outcomes* that can
include actions by volitional entities. So they can
*mix* agency (volition) with inanimate objects.

Now once you mix inanimate and animate objects in
making projections, there's a link then established
between utilities (goals of sentient beings) and
predictions (movements of inanimate objects). And
it's this link that busts Bayes and allows the
possibility of an objective morality.

Bayesian reasoning (induction) assumes as a limit that
a system is isolated from interference from one's own
volition. Bayes is about making *predictions*. But
as I just explained, real intelligence is about
*projections*, where the movements of inanimate
objects are mixed with the actions of sentient beings.

An unfriendly goal system may place bounds on
intelligence, because unfriendly goals might be the
one's to cause agency (volition) to mix with inanimate
objects in such a way as to interfere with accurate

To all you wannabe Singularitarian Jedis:

You have a lot to learn my young padawans ;)

THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,  
  For, put them side by side,  
The one the other will include  
  With ease, and you beside. 
-Emily Dickinson
'The brain is wider than the sky'
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