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Mark3 comments on That Alien Message - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Mark3 22 May 2008 05:35:52PM 1 point [-]

Just how *fast* can they make such deductions? I don't doubt their mad intellectual skillz, but to learn about the world you need to do experiments. Yes, they can glean far more information than we would from the experiments we've already done, but would it really suffice? Might there not be all sorts of significant effects that we simply have not constructed experiments subtle enough to see? You can come up with many theories about proton decay (or whatever) that are consistent with a given set of results at the granularity the "outsiders" can see, but the only way to learn more is to conduct better experiments, perhaps with better tools, and perhaps that take time to run. They might even need time to build the equipment first. OK, good nanotech can make that happen fast. Do the decay rates really match our predictions? It's a rash AI that doesn't at least test its hypotheses.

Comment author: pnrjulius 09 April 2012 04:47:06AM 0 points [-]

In particular, you need counterfactuals. You need to DROP a rock, and compare it to an undropped rock. You need to BEND a blade of grass, and compare it to unbent grass.

If you just see one image, you can't possibly infer how it will behave when its parameters are changed.