Open Thread

This is our monthly place to discuss relevant topics that have not appeared in recent posts.

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  • Michael Wiebe

    Robin, are you going to write a post on Haidt’s new book?

  • Doug

    I’d like for more discussion about an EM future vs a computerized artificial intelligence future (AGI). Specifically I don’t think the case is that tight for EMs, nor have I seen Robin or many other advocates write that much about it vs AGI.

    Specifically I have a counterpoint that I think is quite persuasive. Even if EMs are the first form of AI in the future, the EM era will be quite short-lived before being replaced by AGIs. Or at least EM-mods that act and feel quite different than standard human minds.

    Consider the following three assumptions. 1) When the EM transition occurs  growth rates will shift to 100%+ annual rates, 2) one of the scarcest resources post-EM will be computational resources and 3) having a specialized problem solved by a generalized simulated human brain is orders of magnitude less efficient than using a specialized algorithm.

    I contend that post-EM that one of the most active areas of economic investment will be replacing EMs with AGI. And even if AGI is really really hard today in an era of quadrillions of replicas of the most intelligent minds and 100%+ growth rates that the problem should soon be solved.

    Furthermore having simulated brains should make it very easy to modify or tweak or experiment with those brains in vivo. This should make the task of understanding the foundations of intelligence mostly a matter of reverse engineering. 

    Even if AGI does take long to build in the EM era, the ability to reverse engineer brains will probably leave the vast majority of EMs highly specialized and not anything like the general human minds around us today. Consider an example of EMs that run the garbage collection robots. 

    I’m going to continuously virtually “lobotomize” the EM brains to save computational resources. I can keep slicing out sub-sections of the brain or other parts of the EM in an experimental fashion. Keeping the parts that are necessary for garbage collection, but discarding the unnecessary modules of the brain for this specific task. In the end the intelligence that ends up doing the garbage collection will have no where near the functionality of a standard human brain.

    Anyway for the reasons above I contend that even if EM beats AGI initially, that the EM era is likely to only exist for a brief moment in time before the transition to the AGI era or the lobotomized-EM era. That in the end most of the intelligences around us will not be familiar vanilla human minds but specialized alien intelligences optimized to conserve computational resources.

  • IVV

    What is the ideal birth rate for the Earth, and what is the best way to manage the population to get there? Or are we better off not interfering?

    • Robert Koslover

       We are better off not interfering, in my opinion.

      • Aurini

        Our interference is currently dysgenic.  In my opinion we should ‘interfere’ through intelligent structuring.  Instead of the welfare-state encouraging the rapid breeding of the underclass, and free birth control being provided to the upper class, we should be doing everything possible to reduce the breeding rates of the underclass.

        Planned parenthood is a good start, we should also pay drug addicted women to get their tubes tied or the needle.  Possibly extending this policy to any woman making less than a certain ammount.

        If we keep up at this rate, we’ll go the way of ancient Greece and Rome – decapitating the best and brightest, and leaving behind populations who lack the requiste number of geniuses to form a great civilization (average iqs in those countries are currently around 90, and the violent crime rates reflect this).

    • http://www.andreasmoser.wordpress.com/ Andreas Moser

      Earth itself was doing very well when we weren’t even here.
      So the search for an ideal birth rate may bring some surprising results.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristianPeel Christian Peel

    Robin, By ‘our’ I guess you mean that readers of your blog can discuss it among themselves, but  I have to go clear back to Oct 2010 to see YOU comment on any of the ‘Open Threads’.  It would certainly increase the incentive to post if you’d actually respond!   🙂

  • http://twitter.com/ekrubnivek Kevin Burke

    Most of the ads I see on Facebook or similar sites are along these lines: 

    – Find out the secret doctors/insurers/bankers don’t want you to know
    – One crazy trick for getting rid of wrinkles

    It makes me believe that people are fairly susceptible to this type of argument. I dismiss those ads as scams or similar but I am curious where I’ve fallen for similar arguments that were delivered in a higher-status vehicle.

    Off the top of my head, one that I could think of is the argument that it’s very difficult to outperform the market, so you should just buy index funds. This is something that “the finance industry doesn’t want you to know about,” however it seems that some people are able to beat the market over time. 

    • gwern0

       > it seems that some people are able to beat the market over time.

      Some very capable or well-informed people beating the market is predicted & required by efficient markets.

      Even were that not true, you would expect to see some people beating the market… just like you’d expect to see people managing to lose to the market. Bad luck, good luck – just two sides of the same coin. “When two thieves meet, they need no introduction / they recognize each other without question.”

    • http://www.andreasmoser.wordpress.com/ Andreas Moser

      This shows that Facebook ads don’t work. Which in turn is one reason why I advised against buying Facebook shares: 
      http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/dont-buy-facebook-shares/ – If only everyone had listened.

  • jan

    I’d like to see you comment on Kylicka’s new book, Zoopolis. (A pretty ingenious defense of Animal Rights in terms of civil rights)
     

  • mjgeddes

    This archived message is addressed to any future readers with historical and/or contemporary interest in transhumanist issues.  This could, for example, include any future Super Intelligences (SAIs).

    Two Schelling points are proposed at the following geographic coordinates:

    Point 1:
      50.66706 N, 4.75936 W

    Point 2:
      55 56′ 38 N, 3 09′ 43 W

    In the event of black swans, all friends of transhumanism should consider proceeding to these locations, and looking for obvious Schelling points in the vicinity.

    Thank you for your attention,

    Marc Geddes.
    Auckland, New Zealand,
    7th June, 2012

  • Michael Wengler

    I’d love to see Robin’s take on SmartVote 
    http://garthzietsman.blogspot.com/2011/10/smart-vote-concept.html  .  It seems similar in some ways to prediction markets, except it explicitly looks at high IQ choices vs low IQ choices.  

  • Oliver Beatson