Re: AI: Relative difficulty (Was: SCI:BIO: raw genome length)

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sun, 19 Jan 1997 16:51:25 -0600

> Hmm, I'm not so convinced about this. Remember Piaget's various stages,
> where the child seems to lack certain abilities before certain ages, and
> gradually develop concepts such as object constancy (things exist when I'm
> not looking at them) or conservation (if I move things around but do not
> take anything away, then there is the same amount of stuff). Most likely
> these have to be reinforced by experience, and may be completely due to
> the environment (at least the later). The way to test it is of course to
> bring up a child in a virtual reality with different laws...

What a concept. WHAT a concept. Alert Greg Egan. "Bring up a child in
a virtual reality with different laws!" Do you really think that if one
plus one always equalled three in the virtual environment, the child
would begin thinking in new laws of mathematics that were based on this
basic assumption? Wouldn't he notice that in his own mind, one thought
and one thought equalled two thoughts?

What a concept. I'm reminded of the time that, teaching the Pythagorean
theorem to someone, they asked: "What if c equalled a times b instead
the square root of a squared plus b squared?"

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.