List of inductive biases?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Feb 13 2007 - 21:11:13 MST

This question interests me too. Anyone know of a standard list of
inductive biases?

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [agi] Enumeration of useful "genetic biases" for AGI
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 21:28:53 -0500
From: Ben Goertzel <>


In a recent offlist email dialogue with an AI researcher, he made the
following suggestion regarding the "inductive bias" that DNA supplies
to the human brain to aid it in learning:

What is encoded in the DNA may include a starting ontology (as proposed,
with exasperating vaguess, by developmental psychologists, though much
more complex than anything they have thought of) but the more important
thing is an implicit set of constraints on ontologies that can be
discovered by systematic 'scientific' investigation. So it might not
work in an arbitrary universe, including some simulated universes,e.g.
'tileworld' universes.

One such constraint (as Kant pointed out in 1780) is the
assumption that everything physical happens in 3-D space and
time. Another is the requirement for causal determinism (for most

There may also be constraints on kinds of information-processing
entities that can be learnt about in the environment, e.g. other humans,
other animals, dead-ancestors, gods, spirits, computer games, ....

The major, substantive, ontology extensions have to happen in (partially
ordered) stages, each stage building on previous stages, and brain
development is staggered accordingly.

My response to him was that these "genetic biases" are indeed encoded
in the Novamente design, but in a somewhat unsystematic and scattered way.

For instance, in the Novamente system,

-- the restriction to 3D space is implicit in the set of elementary
predicates and procedures supplied
to the system for preprocessing perceptual data on its way to abstract

-- the bias toward causal determinism is implicit in an inference
control mechanism that specifically
tries to build "PredictiveAttractionLink" relationships that embody
likely causal relationships


I have actually never gone through the design with an eye towards
identifying exactly how each
important "genetic bias" of cognition is encoded in the system.
However, this would be an interesting
and worthwhile thing to do.

Toward that end, it would be interesting to have a systematic list
somewhere of the genetic biases
that are thought to be most important for structuring human cognition.

Does anyone know of a well-thought-out list of this sort. Of course I
could make one by surveying
the cognitive psych literature, but why reinvent the wheel?

-- Ben G

This list is sponsored by AGIRI:
To unsubscribe or change your options, please go to:

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:57 MDT