[extropy-chat] Maths ability

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Sun Mar 5 01:54:25 UTC 2006

On 3/4/06, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <sentience at pobox.com> wrote:

> ... It is theoretically possible that, as they will helpfully tell you,
> you've
> just been doing it wrong.  But in all probability, you're right about
> the brain rewiring.  A fast, powerful nonhuman intelligence is going to
> have to do some gradual, subtle neural tinkering before your mind wakes
> up to complex numbers.  (I would not advise that you try doing it to
> yourself.)

Of course, there are some, maybe including Ben, but almost certainly
including myself, who would find it relatively worthless, if not completely
repulsive, for a nonhuman "intelligence" to do such tinkering.

Although you and others may find it unimaginable, having "the world, the
universe and everything" handed to me on a "silver platter" is relatively
worthless.  I have personally experienced the middle road of the silver
platter.  I have a more than the average person's awareness of the benefits
and costs involved in the gold ones.  Having worked fairly hard to get my
hands on a silver one for a while was immensely more satisfying than having
a dozen, or even a million of them handed to me.  Nor will it be of much
interest if we reach the point in the development of humanity when silver
platters will be available for one and all for "free" but getting them is
made artificially hard in an attempt to fool people into believing that they
actually accomplished something in getting their hands on one.

The beauty of chopping wood is that I can look at the pile when I am done
and say "I did that".  The beauty of watching someone chop wood better than
I is in admiring the skill that they demonstrate in doing so.  There is
little satisfaction involved in picking up the phone and requesting that a
cord of finely chopped wood  be dropped off in the driveway in the morning.
Presumably in a world where intelligence can be engineered into matter by
the F(?)AI the wood would have known enough to assemble itself as a finely
chopped cord in the driveway before I even picked up the phone.

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