Re: ESSAY: Program length, Omega and Friendliness

From: William Pearson (
Date: Thu Feb 23 2006 - 05:42:08 MST

On 23/02/06, Mikko Särelä <> wrote:
> On Wed, 22 Feb 2006, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> > Still a far cry from exhausting the RAM of a modern PC.
> Certainly, though we should probably not consider a gene to be one bit,
> but more like a software component. Still we get an upper limit on the
> complexity by considerint that the human genome has 3 billion DNA base
> pairs. Since there are four different possible base pairs that means 2
> bits of information giving us a maximum of 6 Gigabits ~ 700-800 Megabytes.
> And that is very much overestimated by assuming that each base pair
> actually codes useful information about brain structure. Overestimated for
> the reason that no one should be able to claim that the complexity is
> _higher_ than that. It is most certainly lower than that, probably on the
> order of at least two decades (which would place it at 7-8MB) [reason
> being at least 90% seems to be junk, not all genes code for brain
> structure,

It would be hard to decide which genes were coding for brain
structure. There are differences in the brains function of people who
have been born blind, notably reuse of the visual cortex for other

So damage to genes that encode for the eye lens could have an effect
on brain function and also structure, because function is determined
by structure. Well at least microstucture is.

It makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. If the brain didn't
accept information about how it should be from the body around it
there would have to be two genetic changes for senses and motor
control to improve. One change coding for the increased number of
sensor inputs (e.g. number of rods and cones) and another change for
the brain structure to increase the amount of processing available for
processing inputs.

The way that evolution has managed to change visual acuity and body
shape fairly fluidly between species suggests that this is not the

With regards to the limits ongoing argument about limits of formal
self-modfication leading to algorithmic information growth, these have
no bearing on the informational growth of natural intelligence as it
is not a formal system.

So whatever information is in the genetic code, a portion of it might
simply be instructions for how to extract information to algorithms
about how to act/process information in a non-provably optimal but
genetically useful fashion from the environment.

 Will Pearson


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