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Scott_Aaronson comments on The Virtue of Narrowness - Less Wrong

56 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 August 2007 05:57PM

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Comment author: Scott_Aaronson 08 August 2007 05:14:09PM 5 points [-]

Eliezer: Excellent post, but I wonder if what you're saying is related to impressionist painting or the French Revolution? :-)

Seriously, I constantly meet people who ask me questions like: "could quantum algorithms have implications for biomechanical systems?" Or "could neural nets provide insight to the P versus NP problem?" And I struggle to get across to them what you've articulated so clearly here: that part of being a successful researcher is figuring out what isn't related to what else.

Comment author: ChristianKl 22 November 2012 05:12:49PM 0 points [-]

The answer to both "could-questions" is yes.

People who work on the theory of neural nets have created a lot of mathematical theorems. It's plausible that some of those theorems are helpful when you want to solve P versus NP.

Econophysics is a fairly established field. I think everyone involved understands that money is something different than atoms who interact with other atoms. That doesn't invalidate the field of Econophysics.

You can make a pretty decent living as scientifist by using insight generated in field A to solve the problems of field B.

Research into quantum algorithms is likely to produce knowledge that's useful for people who work in other fields such as biomechanical systems.