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michael_vassar3 comments on Engelbart: Insufficiently Recursive - Less Wrong

11 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 November 2008 08:31AM

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Comment author: michael_vassar3 27 November 2008 05:13:43AM 1 point [-]

Phil: It seems clear to me that Newton and Einstein were not universally brilliant relative to ordinary smart people like you in the same sense that ordinary smart people like you are universally brilliant relative to genuinely average people, but it seems equally clear that it was not a coincidence that the same person invented Calculus, Optics AND universal gravitation or general relativity, special relativity, the photoelectric effect, brownian motion etc. Newton and Einstein were obviously great scientists in a sense that very few other people have been. It likewise isn't chance that Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or Kasparov dominated game after game or that Picasso and Beethoven created many artistic styles.

That said, ELiezer doesn't have any accomplishments that strongly suggest that his abilities at your tasks 1-3 are comparible to the domain specific abilities of the people mentioned above, and in the absense of actual accomplishments of a world-historical magnitude the odds against any one person accomplishing goals of that magnitude seems to be hundreds to one (though uncertainty regarding the difficulty of the goals and the argument itself justify a slightly higher estimate of the probabilities in question). In addition, we don't have strong arguments that tasks 1-3 are related enough to expect solutions to be highly correlated, furthering the argument that building a community is a better idea than trying to be a lone genius.