Re: [Fwd: QOTD: Moderately Gifted.]

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Apr 10 2001 - 15:01:30 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Well, given my impression from reading biographies of various scientists
> I would say the Mozarts are in general bad at the filling in part. Much
> of science is unglamorous stamp collection, sorting and number crunching
> - important to build a solid system, but frankly not very exciting. If
> you are a Mozart, you quickly tire of this and rush on to find your next
> beach (OK, the metaphors are getting stacked here), while the Salieris
> remain to do the rest. Without them, the resulting structure would be
> rickety and uncertain, a mesh of brilliant observations and guesses but
> with no stringency and likely plenty of mistakes remaining as flaws
> that would later dog further investigations.

Yes, I'm sure. But nonetheless, the modern cultural era is almost as
skewed towards approving of the mediocre as earlier eras were skewed
towards the hero theory of history. Einstein may not have made as large a
contribution to physics as all the unsung Salieris who followed afterward
and filled in the blanks, but he sure made a larger contribution than any
individual Salieri. We would all have been the poorer for it if Einstein
had decided to spend out his life filling in the blanks rather than
achieving his full potential as a Mozart.

In earlier eras it may have made emotional sense for people to try and be
happy with their native ability levels, but not this close to a
Singularity. Time to de-repress.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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