Re: Fwd: We Can Understand Anything, But are Just a Bit Slow

From: sam kayley (
Date: Mon Apr 24 2006 - 12:19:59 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
  Philip Goetz wrote:

    My intuition, based on experience with how much computational power it
    takes to solve a problem of a particular size, and on Rescher's law of
    logarithmic returns, is that exponentially-increasing computational
    power is required to provide linear increase in "smartness", or some
    measure of the problems we can handle. For instance, finding primes
    of 2N bits takes much more than twice the computational power of
    finding primes of N bits.

    I also expect that the computational complexity of cognition is an
    exponential function of the size of working memory, so that if we
    currently have a working memory that can store 5 chunks, the amount of
    computation available in the universe limits us to some double-digit
    number of chunks.

  As we all know, humans required thousands of much times as much brain
tissue as chimpanzees to produce only a small increment in performance; if
you look around on the street, you can easily see that each additional 10 IQ
points requires a

The most obvious jump between chimps and humans is language, and the most
obvious function of language is communication. Is an individual human with
only the barest minimum of cultural tools (eg from a group of children cared
for sufficiently to survive but leaft to develop their own language) much
smarter than a chimpanzee? The abilities of a human tribe of a few thousand
people depend on a total brain size a few thousand times that of an
individual, and the abilities of civilization as a whole depend on a total
brainpower of billions of times that of an individual. A person thinking in
isolation still depends on techniques learnt by their culture as a whole.

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