[ExI] Narrow ecological niches Re: Portia Spider hunting Spiders on 600K neurons - Was: Bees are clever!

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 23:58:13 UTC 2015

On Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 8:10 PM, John Grigg <possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com>

> Perhaps along with dolphins, chimps, gorillas, cats, dogs, ravens, big
> parrots, ferrets, iguanas, eagles, octopi, whales, and racoons, we should
> one day genetically uplift Portia?  Well, not to human level intelligence
> or size, but enough that they have a great deal more to work with....

### There is a general observation in ecology that the presence of two
non-interbreeding populations in the same ecological niche is an unstable
situation, always leading to the extinction of one of the populations.

I have the impression that general intelligence in a fitness-maximizing
self-replicator creates its own niche and all such replicators inhabit it.
That is to say, any group of interbreeding fitness-maximizing replicators
with general intelligence is a direct competitor of all other such groups
that are reproductively separate from it.

This would imply that you cannot have multiple intelligent
fitness-maximizing species stably cohabiting a planet, except in unusual
circumstances (e.g. singleton AI in overall control). While four thousand
species of spiders may live side by side, each specialized to its own niche
and therefore more or less stably reproducing without one wiping out all
others, the case with general intelligence may be radically different. A
dumb spider cannot substitute for another dumb spider, since each one has a
narrow set of non-overlapping adaptations, say, one excels at eating green
flies, the other shines in killing blue flies. A spider with general
intelligence can invent devices (including cognitive augmentations) that
let it eat all comers - blue flies, green flies, humans...

I would not uplift anything. I would exterminate with prejudice any
fitness-maximizing creature that comes close to human intelligence. All
replicators of sufficiently dangerous intelligence would have to be
constructed so as to remove fitness-maximizing behavior from their goal
system. It's not an accident that the mind of the Greg Egan's polis
generated citizens uninterested in their fitness.

And definitely, no superintelligent spiders, please.

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