Re: Paths to Uploading

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 07 Jan 1999 18:02:57 -0500

Billy Brown wrote:

> 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..
> <snip>
> 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.

Actually we have a lot more brains. When you're comparing humans to other animals, you need to consider several things. First, what is the amount needed just to run the body, etc. If you do a brain mass to body mass curve comparing humans to other animals, you'd find a good sized difference in the ratios that we have versus other animals, even other apes. Its the extra brain mass that has no other purpose than to think that gives us a basis to develop genius. Now, one of the reasons why there are no other apes near our intelligence is because we killed all of them off a long time ago. TIme was in our early history that the late homo erectus was one of the prime predators on the early homo sapiens. Erectus was a pretty good predator, with some good tool use and strength like that of a chimp, and was about halfway between us and chimps in brain size.

> 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.

Another way to increase intelligence is to only allow smart people to breed. The disheartening thing is that it seems like only the morons are breeding these days...

> 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.

Because any excess brain capacity developed now is only needed for thinking, not for sensory or body management tasking, it goes exclusively toward creative tasking...