Re: Another reminder of irrationality

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu Mar 02 2006 - 18:14:27 MST

At 06:55 PM 2/28/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>I know it's tedious, but you aren't SL4 until you appreciate the depth of
>human irrationality.

"One should not expect the cognitive architectures of evolved organisms to
be "rational" when rationality is defined as adherence to a normative
theory drawn from mathematics or logic. One should expect their cognitive
architectures to be *ecologically rational*: well-designed for solving the
adaptive problems their ancestors faced during their evolutionary history
(Cosmides & Tooby, 1996b; [Tooby & Cosmides.. 19991)."

Rode, C., Cosmides, L., Hell, W., & Tooby, J. (1999). When and why do
people avoid unknown probabilities in decisions under uncertainty? Testing
some predictions from optimal foraging theory. Cognition, 72, 269-304.

>Yes rationality is there, but at a level that just barely shows up when
>measured with precise instruments.

Viewed from the gene's perspective, humans do the right thing most of the time.

>This is important with respect to non-human intelligences, because
>super-rationality, almost as much as superintelligence, is potentially
>overwhelming and because intelligence bootstraping moves a system towards
>rationality. Appreciate how far humans are from rational and you
>appreciate how utterly transformed, and essentially recreated, they would
>be by haphazard bootstrapping.
>Appreciate how formidable rationality is and you see why a highly rational
>infrahuman GAI would still be a massive existential threat.

It's a point I have made perhaps too often.

Keith henson

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:56 MDT