Re: Slow-fast singularity

From: Krekoski Ross (
Date: Thu May 08 2008 - 12:43:20 MDT

On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 8:59 AM, Stuart Armstrong <> wrote:
> What makes you claim that? We have little understanding of
> intelligence; we don't know how easy or hard increases in intelligence
> will turn out to be; we're not even certain how high the advantages of
> increased intelligence will turn out to be.
> It could be a series of increasing returns, and the advantages could
> be huge - but we really don't know that. "Most likely scenario" is
> much to strong a thing to say.


I personally dont have a strong opinion on the probability of either
scenario just because there are so many unknowns, and we have an effective
sample size of 1 (ourselves) with which to base all of our understanding of
intelligence. But I think we should realize one thing--- is it only by
incredible coincidence that our intelligence is at a level such that we can
understand the formal properties of our brain, but are just below some
'magical' threshold that would allow us to mentally simulate what
differences in subjective experience and intelligence a slight change in our
architecture would entail, but just above the threshold where it would be
possible to do so for 'lower' entities?

I've mentioned this before in various forms but in general I think its a
fairly under-addressed topic: Can an intelligent system of complexity A,
perfectly emulate (perform a test run of) an intelligent system of
complexity A? (for fairly obvious reasons it cannot emulate one of higher
complexity). It seems possible that an intelligent system of complexity A
can emulate one of complexity A-K where K is the output of some function
that describes some proportion of A (we dont know specifically how
complexity in an intelligent system affects intelligence, except that in a
perfectly designed machine, an increase in complexity will entail an
increase in intelligence). I think that because of natural systemic
overhead, it is impossible for any perfectly designed intelligent system to
properly model another system of equal complexity. (and indeed no effective
way to evaluate the model if it could)

This has implications on the rate at which any AI can self-improve-- if K is
a reasonably significant proportion of A, even a godlike AI would have
difficulty improving its own intelligence in an efficient and rapid way.

This is also why evolution by random mutation is a slow, but actually quite
efficient way of increasing intelligence--- we dont want a progressively
larger, but structurally homogenous system (which actually is not an
efficient increase in complexity, only size). We want structural diversity
in an intelligent system, and its not clear how a system can 'invent' novel
structures that is completely foreign to it. Many of our own advances in
science, by analogy, arise from mimicry of for example non-human biological


> Stuart

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