Re: Genius dogs

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Sun, 05 Oct 1997 23:45:09 -0500

Nicholas Bostrom wrote:
> If we take a human brain and simply speed it up enough, will it be a
> superintelligence? Would a dog brain be?

That depends on how you define "intelligence". If you define it the way I
defined "smartness" in _Staring Into The Singularity_, then the answer is no.
If you define it in terms of exaflops, the answer is yes.

Check out

It has the answers to all, yes, *all* of your questions.

> Any human of normal intelligence could function as a universal
> Turing machine, if augmented with enough scrap paper, time and
> patience. According to Church's thesis, Turing computability equals
> mechanical computability, so what the brain does is Turing
> computable. (I assume that Penrose's argument to the contrary is
> wrong, and we disregard possible exceptions that have to do with the
> feasibility of supertasks or the unavailability of enough matter in
> the universe.) What a (finite) superintelligence does would also be
> Turing computable, so a human scrap paper, time & patience), if
> speeded up, could be a superintelligence, provided she run an
> appropriate program. We don't know that this program could be made
> short enough to be stored in human long-term memory, (else it would
> have to be provided as an input on the scrap paper), but I believe it
> could. My guess is that a universal intelligence algorithm could be
> made so simple that it would be an easy task for a human to memorize
> it. Perhaps it would suffice to specify some simple architectural
> properties of a neural network, together with some fairly simple
> learning rule -- something like combination of Backprop, Infomax and
> Hebb's rule perhaps. But whether or not it could be made so concise,
> by using some scrap paper input, I think that even dogs could be made
> to perform on a genius level. Here's how:

You are entirely incorrect, for much the same reason as Searle. It isn't the
human that's superintelligent, it's the program. It doesn't make a difference
whether a human, dog, robot, or computer does the Turing operations, because
it's the program that's intelligent or not. All of this, by the way, is on
the same semantic level as that old conumdrum: "If a tree falls, and nobody
hears it, does it make a sound?"

> Recipe for Cani da Vinci, genius dogs
[Entirely pointless method of turning dogs into Turing machines deleted.]

Have you ever heard of the "Chinese Restaurant Problem"?

> -- I anticipate that Anders will suggest that superintelligences will
> make entertainment out of shaping human organizations into
> entities that perform intelligent tasks, just as we have fun by
> watching circus animals behave. :-)

Um, I doubt it, but he'd be wrong if he did.
Few things would be more pointless or less ethical.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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