Too much talk not enough action

From: P K (
Date: Sat Mar 04 2006 - 11:44:54 MST

Armchair AGI wonít get you anywhere. Theory must be followed by practical
work in order for a project to be successful. This is because the time you
waste on a mistake grows exponentially the longer you work with it without
correcting it. For instance, you may waste weeks or months on a mistake you
could have corrected with just a week of practical testing. This effect is
less apparent in straightforward projects where you know it will work and
itís just a mater of time. AGI coding is definitely *NOT* straightforward.

Let me illustrate this with an analogy. Imagine you are walking on a road.
It splits in two, and every side splits in two again. This goes on and on
like a branching tree. If you move forward you can see your end goal better
since you're closer. However, if you rush too much you might take wrong
turns. There are also many paths that will kill you. And the longer you wait
around without getting to your goal the more likely you are to die.

What is the best way to get where you're going?
You can try to figure out the way by looking forward (mostly theorize) but
the farther you try to look the more difficult it will be to see. And so, no
mater how hard you try, there will inevitably be mistakes. If you moved one
step forward you will have a slightly better view and could have corrected
the mistake instead of wasting all that time thinking about the wrong part
of the maze.

On the other hand, if try to move too much without looking, you will
inevitably take wrong turns and waste your time backtracking or worse, take
a tern that kills you. (Although, I don't consider it very likely for those
who just dabble without any theory to get anywhere. UFAI is many orders of
magnitude smaller than the program simply not working. And FAI is many
orders of magnitude smaller than FAI is.)

The optimal approach is some combination of looking (theory) and moving
(practice). You should try to look far ahead to get a general idea of the
land, then take a step forward. Then look again, and so on. Because of the
potentially precarious nature of the trip, you should examine the step in
front of you very carefully, especially when you're close to the goal since
thatís where the death turns are clustered.

The fear of death paths should *NOT* paralyze you into just looking and
never moving because the longer you wait, the more likely you are to succumb
to an existential risk.

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