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cousin_it comments on That Alien Message - Less Wrong

111 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 May 2008 05:55AM

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Comment author: cousin_it 11 May 2012 09:21:10AM *  1 point [-]

The inferred physics of the 3+2 universe is not fully known, at this point; but it seems sure to allow for computers far more powerful than our quantum ones.

(...)

Then we cracked their equivalent of the protein folding problem over a century or so

Nope. If their physics has more computational power than ours, we can't solve their protein folding. And we can't even make efficient inferences about their universe. Anyone care to come up with a more realistic scenario?

Comment author: amit 11 May 2012 04:24:01PM 2 points [-]

But their proteins aren't necessarily making use of the extra computational power. And we can imagine that the physics of our universe allows for super powerful computers, but we can still obviously make efficient inferences about our universe.

Comment author: cousin_it 11 May 2012 04:36:46PM *  2 points [-]

It's an interesting question. I have a vague intuition that one of the reasons for evolution's awesomeness is that it optimizes using physics on all scales at once, where a human engineer would have focused on a more limited set of mechanisms. Protein folding in our universe is already pretty hard to simulate. In a more computationally capable universe, I'd expect evolution to push the basic machinery even further beyond our ability to simulate. No idea if the intuition is correct, though.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 11 May 2012 06:35:38PM *  2 points [-]

Is protein folding doing some useful computational work? I mean, in a different universe, why couldn't it be replaced by a computationally much cheaper process without affecting the overall course of evolution?

Comment author: cousin_it 12 May 2012 11:03:41AM *  3 points [-]

I'm out of my depth here, but protein folding acts as an interpreter for DNA, and giving your interpreter a lot of resources seems to make evolutionary sense.

ETA: really, please disregard, I'm confused about the whole topic and shouldn't have started talking.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 12 May 2012 06:43:44PM 1 point [-]

It seems to be an idea that's worth investigating further, but you do have a tendency to occasionally "jump the gun" when criticizing others and use words like "Nope" and "Ouch" that seem to indicate more confidence than you ought to have. Not a big deal since you realize your mistakes very quickly, but I wonder if you see this trend yourself.

Comment author: cousin_it 12 May 2012 09:53:35PM *  3 points [-]

Yes, I see that trend and sometimes try to correct for it, but apparently not enough. Thanks.