[extropy-chat] Just curious, it's not natural!

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Tue Oct 31 14:23:22 UTC 2006

On 10/31/06, Ben Goertzel <ben at goertzel.org> wrote:

[snipping, perhaps too much -- see the original comment]

perhaps it is possible to
> c) strive for something new that embodies the right sort of
> **generalization** of the judged-most-important parts of the current self
> ... I just wanted to point out that a) and b) are not the only possible
> categories of philosophical attitude regarding future-looking goals...

I agree.  The devil would appear to be in the recursive aspects of this.
Its the "current self" which is judging  "most important parts" and creating
the generalization.  Its the problem of why are leaves green or why does the
production of ATP involve the production of  free radicals?  One would think
that for maximal energy harvesting potential leaves should be *black* and
programs should not produce free radicals which end up *corrupting* the
program.  The problem is that you get into locally optimal states the
departure from which is virtually impossible [1,2].

I would be concerned that the "right sort" is going to need to involve some
external measures (complexity?, variety?, longevity?, greatest "good"???)
that allow one to at least hold up the "self" and say -- "Ok that is the
best we can do in that part of the phase space.  And now for something
completely different..."


1. See "simplex algorithm" and "linear programming" in Wikipedia.
2. For the most part it is only in cyanobacteria that more efficient light
harvesting systems using a greater variety of photopigments, are widespread,
and dealing with the free radical problem in a robust way would require
completely reengineering the mitochondrial respiratory system in *all*
eukaryotic cell based species and perhaps even much of the biochemistry in
*all* bionanosystems.
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