Re: [sl4] Rolf's gambit revisited

From: Charles Hixson (
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 14:45:26 MST

Matt Mahoney wrote:
> --- On Mon, 1/12/09, Stuart Armstrong <> wrote:
>>>> The difference between pascal's wager and rolf's gambit is that gods do not
>>>> exist, and AIs do. In fact, for rolf's gambit to work, you have to already
>>>> HAVE one.
>>> How do you know that gods don't exist? If the
>>> godlike AI that simulates the universe that you now observe
>>> programs you to believe that it doesn't exist, then that
>>> is what you will believe.
>> Yes, but with that type of reasoning, nothing is knowable and nothing
>> is true.
> That's right.
>> Unless you have a short cut directly into the mind of this
>> hypothetical AI, we have to make do with evidence and facts of the
>> world, as we perceive it. And the evidence for the non-existence of
>> gods, as they are conventionally imagined, is overwhelming.
> If you mean the writings in various religious texts, keep in mind the difficulty of explaining superhuman intelligence to the masses in the terminology that was available over 1000 years ago. Even today, our minds are not capable of comprehending the possibility of all strings X for which K(X|Y) = K(X) and Y describes our universe.
> -- Matt Mahoney,
It's one thing to say that such a description could plausibly be made in
some "larger" universe, and that such a description could be implemented
and if it were it would, in execution, act as does our universe. It's
another thing to assert that this is a minimal description, and a
minimal assumption.

There are lots of things that *could* be true, consistent with what we
know now. Most of these are probably incorrect, and only some of them
will turn out to be equivalent.

OTOH, I will assert that no accurate description of our universe to any
degree of detail can be contained within this self-same universe.
That's why we use general laws of nature, even though math theory
implies that we would need an infinite number of such laws to achieve
total accuracy. We can cover common situations with only an extremely
small subset of such laws. (N.B.: The math theory doesn't prove this,
as the math in question assumed, e.g., that there were an infinite
number of numbers, where I would assert that in a finite universe the
number of numbers is limited to less than the powerset of the number of
energy states existable within that universe. An extremely large
number, but definitely a finite one.)

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