Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

dxu comments on For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books - Less Wrong

35 Post author: MichaelVassar 02 March 2010 08:11AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (102)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: dxu 02 April 2015 03:31:16PM *  1 point [-]

"High IQ" probably doesn't mean more than something like high processing speed and copious amounts of RAM. The algorithms (at least in their essence) can still be run, less efficiently, on inferior hardware.

This seems (to me) to be pretty unlikely to be the case. "High processing speed and copious amounts of RAM" would allow more efficient execution of a particular algorithm... but where does that algorithm come from in the first place? One notes that no one taught Newton the "algorithm for inventing calculus". The true algorithm he used, as you pointed out, is likely to have been implemented at a lower level of thought than that of conscious deliberation; if he were still alive today and you asked him how he did it, he might shrug and answer, "I don't know", "It just seemed obvious", or something along those lines. So where did the algorithm come from? I very much doubt that processing speed and RAM alone are enough to come up with a working algorithm good enough to invent calculus from scratch within a single human lifespan, no matter what substrate said algorithm is being run on. (If they were, so-called "AI-complete" problems such as natural language processing would plausibly be much easier to solve.) There is likely some additional aspect to intelligence (pattern-recognition, possibly?) that makes it possible for humans to engage in creative thinking of the sort Newton must have employed to invent calculus; to use Douglas Hofstadter's terminology, "I-mode", not "M-mode". "High IQ", then, would refer to not only increased processing speed and working memory, but also increased pattern-recognition skills. (Raven's Progressive Matrices, anyone?)