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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Evolutions Are Stupid (But Work Anyway) - Less Wrong

34 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 November 2007 03:45PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 09 November 2007 04:57:40PM 1 point [-]

In your opinion, are they right about to what degree human intelligence is dominated by domain-specific modules, and that that's a consequence of combinatorial explosion and the frame problem?

They're certainly righter than the Standard Social Sciences Model they criticize, but swung the pendulum slightly too far in the new direction. Human beings are capable of learning a tremendously wider range of nonancestral tasks than chimpanzees, and precisely due to the combinatorial explosion, this cannot be itself explained by postulating any amount of domain-specific modularity. The brain is modular, and some of these modules are certainly domain-specific, but the key modularity is the orthagonalization of intelligence into architectural components like memory and category formation, not domain-specific procedures. The heart is not a specialized organ for running down prey, it's a specialized organ for pumping blood.

In a sense, my paper "Levels of Organization in General Intelligence" can be seen as a reply to Tooby and Cosmides on this issue; though not, in retrospect, a complete one.