Re: [agi] Two draft papers: AI and existential risk; heuristics and biases

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2006 - 01:12:26 MDT

I think that you are giving experiment too much credit here. In practice
much revolutionary science (think X-Rays) happens due to new experimental
observation, but the very most revolutionary science often doesn't.
Darwin's theory was grounded in pure logic and inspired by a huge general
body of pre-existing observational and experimental data. The same is true
of Newton. Gallileo's belief about equal free-fall velocities and his
ballistics theories are basically simply assertions of an unappreciated null
hypothesis, as is the more recent work of Judith Rich Harris. Even
Einstein's general theory of relativity is arguably of this type.
Practically all revolutionary computer science, quantum computing, and
Dirac's prediction of antimatter provide a few more examples.

>Now in practice, I admit that there have been cases where the experimental
>observations told us which hypotheses we needed to test; nearly all
>revolutionary science, as opposed to routine science, happens this way.

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