[ExI] Automated black-box-based system design of unsupervised hyperintelligent learning systems

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Tue Sep 20 15:23:46 UTC 2011

On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:17 AM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 7:53 PM, Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Do you have something "intelligent" to say about it now that you've
>> had a chance to reconsider your position? Since more intelligent life
>> has been spontaneously appearing for the last billion years or so on
>> this planet, it seems like a tautology that something more intelligent
>> is around the corner. Since we're past genes, and on to memes and
>> temes, it seems likely to me that we will have something to do with
>> the creation of this "more intelligent" life...
> Nope.  I have nothing "intelligent" to add.

Well, at least that helps me understand your definition of intelligence... ;-)

> In the scope of observing the last billion years (or so), what
> interval is considered 'spontaneously'?  10,000 years?  By what
> mechanism is intelligence appearing?  mutation or engineering?

For me and my house, mutation and natural selection of replicators. At
this stage of our evolution, however, I believe memes and temes are
more important replicators in terms of the evolution of intelligence
than genes. If you don't think memes can mutate into something with
higher information content, then there is no help for you... :-)  It
happens every single day.

> "seems like a tautology" is hardly a rigorous proof.  Pointing at a
> progression of genes/memes/temes is also not an inherently inductive
> process leading directly to the conclusion "... and then the next
> thing."

While blindly extrapolating curves into the future is fraught with
danger, I can see no alternative approach that gives you a real clue.
I prefer Kurzweil to Nostradamus or Isaiah. And while Kurzweil has
been and will continue to be wrong on minor points (even if he is
reluctant to admit it), his track record thus far is pretty admirable.
If he has stiff competition, I am unaware of who that would be. When I
have picked up other books about the future, it feels like the author
is just pulling shit out of their ass, if you'll pardon the
expression. Kurzweil, on the other hand, shares his trick (like Penn
and Teller) and teaches you how "you too can predict the future"...

> I agree we'll be involved in the next phase of intelligence on earth -
> I wasn't trying to suggest otherwise.  I am doubtful that an engineer
> is going to be able to draw literal blueprints for building
> intelligence that exceeds his or her own.

Why? This is the point where your reasoning seems to go off the rails.

> What I am suggesting should
> be a definition of intelligence is not the ability to follow
> directions really quickly and accurately.  For example, mechanical
> automatons are not intelligent.  Nor are music-box dancers,
> variable-settings toasters, thermostats or calculators.  I think
> Intelligence must be something more than imitation and repetition.  Is
> a parrot intelligent because it can mimic the sounds you make?  Is it
> intelligent because it learned how you call the dog by name?

Clearly, your point is well made... but it does not support your thesis.

> Another example:
> http://books.google.com/books?id=OAJW7JA24A8C&q=food-washing#v=onepage
> Maybe potato washing was discovered by accident or perhaps invented
> through some need.  The application of the principle of food washing
> to separate rice from sand is the kind of intelligence I am suggesting
> is not available to a calculator.  I do think computers will be able
> to emulate this process.

Again, I would ask WHY you believe this. I'm not trying to be
difficult here, just follow your reasoning processes. If the brain is
a machine, and we're learning to build machines that are better and
better each year, then some day, it follows we should be able to build
a machine that performs just as well as a brain does. What is the
counter argument to that? That the brain is just a conduit into a
higher spiritual realm where the real thinking takes place? That the
brain works off of quantum effects that we won't be able to understand
for centuries? What?

> I doubt that it will be built.  I expect
> that it will be trained.  Neural Nets can do amazing things - they
> have to be trained.

I'm totally with you here. If we build a machine like a brain, it will
clearly have to be programmed like a brain (at least the first few
times) through a learning experience. Intelligence comes from
experience. You won't create an intelligent machine out of the box...
you will only create a machine that is capable of becoming intelligent
over time with the assimilation of information.

> Genetic Algorithms can scour a multidimensional
> solution space; evolution takes time.  Can we assemble these (and
> other) pieces according to some plan?  Sure, and we Frankenstein's
> monster is a similar collection of parts stuck together.  I expect
> growing up Frankenstein's baby will ultimately be a more
> elegant/scalable solution than starting from monster parts and
> smoothing out the ugly bits.

Can't argue with that... but if what you're saying is that you can't
build pre-configured intelligence, that is quite a different thing
than I thought you were saying. I understood you to say that we will
never achieve intelligent machinery equivalent to the brain's power,
flexibility and intuitive majesty.

> I don't have working code as proof of anything.  Obviously my opinion
> is only that.  As long as the few thousand people in a world of 7
> billion are actively thinking about and discussing these ideas, I
> consider my small contribution (even if it's wrong) to be
> participation.  That may be the best I can do for now.

Do not think of your contribution as being null and void. Your brain,
the most wonderful machine ever produced (to this point) is a
collection of individual cells, each of which is apparently not so
terribly special on its own. You and I are single cells in the
collective of human thought, and as such, we are certainly no less
(nor much more) important to human kind's collective thoughts than
anyone else!!


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