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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Worse Than Random - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 November 2008 07:01PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 November 2008 11:15:07PM 9 points [-]

Silas: @Caledonian: That's an interesting point. But are you sure the effect you describe (at science museums) isn't merely due to the brain now seeing a new color gradient in the image, rather than randomness as such? Don't you get the same effect from adding an orderly grid of dots? What about from aligning the dots along the lines of the image?

Yep. Adding a set of coherent modulations will do better than noise to improve your sensor, because you're guaranteed to get at least some modulations of a sufficiently high level, and you can subtract out the modulations afterward to arrive at a superior picture of the environment.

Remember, Eliezer_Yudkowsky's point was not that randomness can never be an improvement, but that it's always possible improve beyond what randomness would yield.

Lotta commenters seem to have entirely missed this.

Comment author: Thomas 24 January 2010 02:41:04AM 1 point [-]

it's always possible improve beyond what randomness would yield

How can you improve guessing which uranium atom will blow up next?

Comment author: Unnamed 29 January 2010 05:06:37PM 7 points [-]

Eliezer stated his point more precisely in the original post:

As a general principle, on any problem for which you know that a particular unrandomized algorithm is unusually stupid - so that a randomized algorithm seems wiser - you should be able to use the same knowledge to produce a superior derandomized algorithm.

I'd recommend engaging with that formulation of his point, rather than with Silas's summary (which is what you've quoted).