RE: Paths to Uploading

Billy Brown (
Thu, 7 Jan 1999 14:54:44 -0600

Hal Finney wrote:
> I'd suggest that the E^2 case is plausible. You can think of
> the problem
> faced by an organism as a search tree. The branches of the
> tree are the
> possible actions, and the nodes are the corresponding states.
> You want
> to search down the tree and find nodes which lead to
> favorable states..

This all makes perfect sense, except for one nagging question - why do we seem so much smarter than apes? We have larger brains, but not by enough to make much difference if this argument holds up.

I would suggest that there are two ways to improve one's intelligence. The easy way is to use faster hardware and/or improved heuristics to getter a deeper search tree, which suffers the problems you suggest. I will point out, however, that increasing your search depth by 1 or 2 increments is not a small change - it seems to be a decisive advantage in chess, for instance.

The hard way is to reformulate the problem in simpler terms, thus replacing a combinatorial explosion with a solvable problem. Evolution may have managed something like this with humans - we have a higher-order representation of the world that an ape, so we can solve much harder problems with only a modest increase in processing power.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I