Re: The Relevance of Complex Systems

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Sep 08 2005 - 19:14:01 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> And, one particular aspect of this problem is the problem of "inference
> control" -- i.e., of the many different paths an inference system may take
> from any given knowledge base, given its set of inference rules, it must
> choose a small subset of these paths to actually pursue, given its resource
> limitations.
> Inference control and other attention allocation problems are easily
> formulated as probabilistic inference problems -- and they are not easy
> ones. To solve these probabilistic inference problems effectively in
> nontrivial situations requires a robust hypothesis formation approach.
> My conjecture is that any useful mechanism of hypothesis search inserted
> specifically into the inference mechanism involved in attention allocation /
> inference control, is going to introduce complex dynamics that render the
> system extremely difficult to predict.

That depends on *what* you're trying to predict. Let's say you're
searching the inference space of axiomatic derivations in ZF set theory.
  No matter what kind of bizarre probabilistic searches you use to
control your inferences, if the space is of legitimate derivations, you
can remain confident that the result is a legitimate proof. This is the
prediction that matters, even if you can't predict how exactly the proof
will work.

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

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