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Houshalter comments on What I Think, If Not Why - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 December 2008 05:41PM

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Comment author: Houshalter 30 September 2013 04:23:49AM *  1 point [-]

In order to learn how to optimize FOR loops it would have to be pretty intelligent and have general learning ability. So it wouldn't just stop after learning that, it would go on to learn more things at increased speed. Learning the first optimization would let it learn more optimizations even faster than it otherwise would have. The second optimization it makes helps it learn the third even faster and so on.

It's not clear to me how fast this process would be. Just because it learns the next optimization even faster than it otherwise would have taken, doesn't mean it wouldn't have taken a long time to begin with. It could take years for it to improve to super-human abilities, or it could take days. It depends on stuff like how long it takes the average optimization it learns to pay back the time it took to research it. As well as the distribution of optimizations; maybe after learning the first few they get progressively more difficult to discover and give less and less value in return.

It seems to my intuition that this process would be very fast and get very far before hitting limits, though I can't prove that. But I would point to other exponential processes to compare it to like compound interest.