[ExI] sciam blog article

Robin D Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Tue Mar 29 12:02:00 UTC 2016

On Mar 29, 2016, at 3:49 AM, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com<mailto:rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>> wrote:
On Sat, Mar 26, 2016 at 11:32 PM, Robin D Hanson <rhanson at gmu.edu<mailto:rhanson at gmu.edu>> wrote:
On Mar 26, 2016, at 2:06 AM, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com<mailto:rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>> wrote:
### Some parts of the brain, such as the midbrain and structures inferior to it, are non-modular, spaghetti-like and hardwired in details - genetically determined and running on completely different principles from the cortex. The cortex and parts of the basal ganglia are however highly modular and most likely running a relatively uniform underlying algorithm that determines both short-term function and the longer-term processes, such as rewiring of the cortex.

Yes, some parts may be simple, and even occupy a large fraction of the brain. Even so other parts may no be, and even if they occupy a small fraction of the brain, it may take a long time to figure out how to create systems that substitute effectively for them. I discuss this more at: https://www.overcomingbias.com/2016/03/how-good-99-brains.html

### I wholeheartedly agree with the premises you outline in your blog post above but I would disagree with the overall conclusion.

Indeed, here we encounter issues related to distinct levels of the organization of matter and information. The lower parts of the brain encode knowledge learned in the course of evolution, stored genetically, they are not malleable in individuals (i.e. allow only very limited individual learning) and as noted previously, are not very modular. The cortex encodes relatively small amounts of evolutionary knowledge which allows the construction of an individual learning engine that relies on highly modular structure. ...

But, luckily for the AI designer, the genetically complex brain parts are not important for being smart. They are there to integrate information from your gut and tell the gut to move, not to recognize images and perform rocket science. What we call intelligence resides in the cortex and its interaction with some forebrain ganglia, the genetically simple parts.

What is the evidence that one merely needs to model the cortex well to have a machine that can do most jobs as well or better than humans?

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu<mailto:rhanson at gmu.edu>
Future of Humanity Inst., Oxford University
Assoc. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
See my new book: http://ageofem.com

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