RE: SI Comparative Advantages [was Re: Free Will] (fwd)

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Fri, 20 Aug 1999 15:22:52 +1000

> "Robert J. Bradbury" <> writes:
> > The question comes down to *survival* in your ecological niche.
> > If SIs know all the laws of physics, how the universe works,
> > are able to watch & simulate any potential dangers, know that
> > the "magical fantasy worlds" are nothing but senseless diversions
> > for the uploads, etc. then *why not sleep*?
> >
> > You, as a human, may have "curiosity", but the real question you
> > have to answer is -- is there an endless supply of unanswered
> > questions to feed that curiosity?
Anders wrote:
> This is an interesting question. Obviously, there are an infinite
> number of mathematical questions to ponder (and an infinite number of
> different kinds of questions to ponder, and so on), which implies an
> infinite amount of purely mental entertainment. If we assume that SIs
> are hardcore realists (they all are decendants from Carter-Zimmerman
> polis) and avoid such fantasies, then the question is whether there
> are an endless supply of questions about the physical universe to
> explore. This seems to relate to how complex it can be. It seems that
> the most complex systems around in this scenario are the SIs
> themselves, and their activities and artefacts. I can't see any reason
> why not they could get involved in endless coevolutionary races
> towards increasing complexity, that are both relevant for their
> survival and interesting ("I wonder how the Magellan Superposition
> Alliance will react if I cause clenchirations in the armiphlange?").
(decoding, decoding, decoding,....) Anders, do you mean to say "Yes, there would be endless questions to feed curiosity" ?

Also, these "magical fantasy worlds" - mmm, we might be talking about pure mathematics here. Senseless diversions? Or is pure mathematics of the type only SIs can manage going to be critical to SIs stepping up qualitative levels of intelligence? Would anyone propose that there are finite limits to what can be added to the field of mathematics?

I think that many SIs would come to the conclusion that they have hit the bounds of this observable universe (I think that I mean observable in human terms) , and start trying to find a way out. Probably involves a bit of maths too.

I still think (with my poor inferior gaussian neural blob) that it must be more useful to spend vast amounts of time using one of those great big brains rather than lying idle. In fact, maybe you are better off being awake in the dull moments, to do some uninterrupted super-cognition, and going into "sleep mode" (or at least low energy, lower level intelligence mode) during the interesting moments (you may not need SI intelligence to cope in such a situation, and it might be too distracting to get any *real* thinking done). Perhaps an SI gets to the point where qualitative improvements to intelligence make no statistically significant difference to survival chances in any situation possible in the physical universe (with the exception of SI combat perhaps), so that all enhancements past that point are energy waste except when used during the boring moments, to do a bit of really deep thinking.

By the way, I'm not sure why it is supposed that an SI would be carrying uploads around in the nooks and crannies of its god-like brain? What's the thinking on this?

Emlyn (can't think, typing)