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michael_vassar3 comments on Recursive Self-Improvement - Less Wrong

14 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 December 2008 08:49PM

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Comment author: michael_vassar3 02 December 2008 06:16:35AM 3 points [-]

Phil: Anthropic pressures should by default be expected to be spread uniformly through our evolutionary history accelerating the evolutionary and pre-evolutionary record of events leading to us rather than merely accelerating the last stretch.

Exponential inputs into computer chip manufacture seem to produce exponential returns with a doubling time significantly less than that for the inputs, implying increasing returns per unit input, at least if one measures in terms of feature number. Obviously returns are exponentially diminishing if one measures in time to finish some particular calculation. Returns will more interestingly be diminishing per unit labor in terms of hardware design effor per unit of depth to which a NP and exponential complexity class problems can be calculated, e.g. the number of moves ahead a chess program can look. OTOH, it bizarrely appears to be the case that over a large range of chess ranks, human players seem to gain effective chess skill measured by chess rank with roughly linear training while chess programs gain it via exponential speed-up.

Society seems to in aggregate get constant zero returns on efforts to cure cancer, though one can't rule out exponential returns starting from zero. OTOH, this seems consistent with the general inefficacy of medicine in aggregate as shown by the Rand study, which doesn't overturn the individual impacts, as shown by FDA testing, of many individual medical procedures. Life expectancy in the US has grown linearly while GDP per capita has grown exponentially, but among nations in the modern world life expectancy clearly has a different relationship to income, not linear, not logarithmic, more plausibly asymptotic moving towards something in the early 80s.

I'm glad that you consider the claim about turning object level knowledge metacognitive to be the most important and controvercial claim. This seems like a much more substantial and precise criticism of Eliezer's position than anything Robin has made so far. It would be very interesting to see you and Eliezer discuss evidence for or against sufficient negative feedback mechanisms, Eliezer's "just the right law of diminishing retunrs" existing.