Re: [sl4] Robin Lee Powell's results are not profound

From: Gwern Branwen (
Date: Thu Oct 15 2009 - 11:48:53 MDT

On Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 1:31 PM, John K Clark <> wrote:
>> "Robin Lee Powell":
>>  You asserted that such a mind without a "fixed goal system" was impossible
> Me:
>> JESUS CHRIST! I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT!! I asserted that a mind WITH a "fixed goal system" was impossible.
> "Gwern Branwen" <>
>> An obvious typo, as the following paragraph makes clear;
> Robin Lee Powell:
>> > and yet, 90+% of human parents raise their children
>> > without ever getting bored and leaving them to die.  Proof by
>> > existence: many human minds succeed at this, and without getting
>> > into infinite loops.
> TYPO MY ASS! Did you even read it? The paragraph makes crystal clear it
> this was not a typo. Robin Lee Powell is saying humans don't have fixed
> goals and they don't get into infinite loops so that proves I'm wrong
> because I supposed to believe that only fixed goal minds work. I think
> it proves beyond dispute that quite literally Robin Lee Powell doesen't
> know what he's arguing about. I want to emphasize this is not a figure
> of speech, Robin Lee Powell literally doesn't know what he's talking
> about. Literally! There is simply no other explanation for that
> paragraph.

No, Robin is saying - as he said in both followup emails - that humans
do have the fixed goal of raising their children, and that they
succeed in accomplishing this goal without falling into loops. Here,
I'll even quote Robin:

> My point was simply that there exists at least 1 human mind
> 1. Will always help a baby in need, no matter the circumstances.
> 2. Doesn't enter into infinite loops at random and end up cold and
lifeless as a result.
> I assert, in fact, that there are millions of such minds on our
planet, if not billions.

#1 is a fixed goal; #2 is not falling into loops. You assert that
fixed goals (#1) implies falling into loops (negation of #2).

How you think Robin has taken your position about non-fixed goals
being necessary, I don't know. I'll leave it to the reader to decide
who doesn't know what they are talking about, literally...


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