Singularity: Semantic Goo and Fuzziness.

Paul Hughes (
Thu, 10 Dec 1998 01:23:39 -0800

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> I have to agree that Wilson's hierarchy is total gibberish,
> speaking. Any attempt to characterize one mental state as
"higher" than
> another usually is.

This a perfect case of the "pot calling the kettle black", as I quote from your 'Coding a Transhuman AI':

"The modules sum together to form abilities; the abilities sum together to form intelligence."

If that is not another way of saying -- "lower" modules sum together to create "higher" abilities, those "higher" abilities sum together to create an even "higher" intelligence -- I don't know what is. It is saying *EXACTLY* the same thing. Get past the petty semantic difference and see what is actually being described. The last time I checked, the menu was not the meal. Please read Alfred Korzybski!!!

I'm aghast that you and Damien (both whom I respect highly by the way) can't see past the 1977 hippie prose to see the obvious fact that manipulating genes (circuit 7) which created the neural structures to begin with, is more flexible than simply playing with those neurons themselves (circuit 6). Or that manipulating genes is inherently less flexible compared to nanotechnology's (circuit 8) ability to manipulate the atoms that compose those genes. Minsky's 'Society of Mind' provides a useful metaphor of "higher" vs. "lower" functioning, when he describes large numbers of "lower" or dumber minds on the hierarchy composing "higher" more intelligent minds in the hierarchy. Which seems to me the same metaphor your 'Coding a Transhuman Mind' is depending on. Here is a facsimile of a chart from his book, illustrating the hierarchy of higher (smarter) vs lower (dumber) minds:

           |            |
      Medium           Medium
        |                 |
   ----------       -------------
  |         |      |            |
dumb      dumb     dumb       dumb

> Where does genius come from? From computation. What kind of
> computation? See
> "Coding a Transhuman AI".

I've read it, and have failed to find anywhere where you're fundamentally saying anything different than poor Tim Leary or RAW was struggling to back in 1977, with a hell of a lot less computer and technologically terminology from which to choose from. Not to mention the fact that they were/are psychologist after all, not computer scientists. One of Tim Leary's greatest wishes before he died was to see his 8-circuit model re-written
by someone like you, with a more articulate and precise command of scientific and technological language. As I suggested earlier, this thread is a perfect example of why such a revision is increasingly necessary for a more cyber-savvy generation.

Paul Hughes