[extropy-chat] an(other) Aussie visits Texas
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
sentience at pobox.com
Mon Jan 29 17:48:02 UTC 2007
> "... after careful analysis I have developed a sophisticated theory to
> explain the existence of ... bizarre workplace behaviour. People are
> idiots. Including me. Everyone is an idiot, not just the people with low
> SAT scores. The only differences among us is that we're idiots about
> different things at different times. No matter how smart you are, you
> spend much of your day being an idiot. That's the central premise of
> this scholarly work."
> Scott Adams, "The Dilbert Principle"
"'Outside the laboratory, scientists are no wiser than anyone else.'
...It seems much too pessimistic to say that scientists are literally no
wiser than average, that there is literally zero correlation. But the
proverb does appear true to some degree, and I propose that we should be
very disturbed by this fact. We should not sigh, and shake our heads
sadly. Rather we should sit bolt upright in alarm. Why? Well, suppose
that an apprentice shepherd is laboriously trained to count sheep, as
they pass in and out of a fold. Thus the shepherd knows when all the
sheep have left, and when all the sheep have returned. Then you give
the shepherd a few apples, and say: "How many apples?" But the
shepherd stares at you blankly, because they weren't trained to count
apples - just sheep. You would probably suspect that the shepherd
didn't understand counting very well."
- Eliezer Yudkowsky, "Outside the Laboratory"
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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