Re: Darwinian Extropy

Eugene Leitl (
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 15:22:08 +0200 (MET DST)

On Tue, 24 Sep 1996, Robin Hanson wrote:

> On Mon, 23 Sep 1996, Robin Hanson wrote:
> [...]
> Dan claims that any agent faced with the choice between sending out
> probes to colonize the universe and staying home and using the probe
> mass to compute stuff, would rather stay home. The idea is that there
> is no information that could be returned from the colonized universe
> that couldn't be more quickly computed by that probe mass staying
> home. This seems a remarkable claim to me.

It is. A von-Neumann probe has a negligeable size, loss of its mass would
not be felt on system scale. Idea space is infinite, as the amount of
states a system has is also a function of the number of atoms is contains.

Unless computation can be detached from the material carrier, both mass
and energy are scarce resources. A need for expansion seems logical.
Since such expansion is not observable, we must assume a sequence of
filters, or the transcendence scenario. Personally, I like the
transcension scenario a lot better.

> >> an explosive improvement. Good changes are hard to find, and each one
> >
> >Robin, positive intelligence autofeedback loops are unprecendented. It
> >does no good looking for comparisons. Because there are none.
> Of course it is precedented. That is exactly what research feeding back
> into education is. As humanity learns more, we get better at learning
> more, and our understanding expands. It just doesn't explode as fast
> as you think possible.

You are right, of course. But the intelligence of the atomic agents has
remained a virtual constant. Only the degree of cooperation has
increased. But we're talking about autofeedback loop upon both the number
of agents _and_ grain size of their intelligence. With a very short time
constant, on a week-to-month scale.

This is certainly unprecendented.

> >Human IQ is (assymetrically) bell-shaped distributed. It spans the
> >entire spectrum, from moron to Einstein. Assuming, everybody is an
> >Einstein equivalent? Surely, this must have some impact upon the world?
> Of course it will. And human IQ *does* seem to be have increasing for
> the last century. Hal posted on this a few months (or was it a year) ago.

This is interesting. A year ago, that would be the old extropian list?
Hal, can you possibly repost the text? It sounds highly intriguing.


> Robin D. Hanson