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Subsumed comments on The Critical Rationalist View on Artificial Intelligence - Less Wrong Discussion

0 Post author: Fallibilist 06 December 2017 05:26PM

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Comment author: Subsumed 06 December 2017 10:25:40PM 0 points [-]

How is knowledge defined in CR?

Comment author: Fallibilist 06 December 2017 11:41:49PM *  0 points [-]

In CR, knowledge is information which solves a problem. CR criticizes the justified-true-belief idea of knowledge. Knowledge cannot be justified, or shown to be certain, but this doesn't matter for if it solves a problem, it is useful. Justification is problematic because it is ultimately authoritarian. It requires that you have some base, which itself cannot be justified except by an appeal to authority, such as the authority of the senses or the authority of self-evidence, or such like. We cannot be certain of knowledge because we cannot say if an error will be exposed in the future. This view is contrary to most people's intuition and for this reason they can easily misunderstand the CR view, which commonly happens.

CR accepts something as knowledge which solves a problem if it has no known criticisms. Such knowledge is currently unproblematic but may become so in the future if an error is found.

Critical rationalists are fallibilists: they don't look for justification, they try to find error and they accept anything they cannot find an error in. Fallibilists, then, expose their knowledge to tough criticism. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not wish-washy, hedging, or uncertain. They often have strong opinions.

Comment author: Subsumed 07 December 2017 09:03:19AM 0 points [-]

Has a dog that learns to open a box to get access to a food item not created knowledge according to this definition? What about a human child that has learned the same?

Comment author: Fallibilist 07 December 2017 06:47:58PM 0 points [-]

As I explained in the post, dog genes contain behavioural algorithms pre-programmed by evolution. The algorithms have some flexibility -- akin to parameter tuning -- and the knowledge contained in the algorithms is general purpose enough so it can be tuned for dogs to do things like open boxes. So it might look like the book is learning something but the knowledge was created by biological evolution, not the individual dog. The knowledge in the dog's genes is an example of what Popper calls knowledge without a knowing subject. Note that all dogs have approximately the same behavioural repertoire. They are kind of like characters in a video game. Some boxes a dog will never open, though a human will learn to do it.

A child is a UKC so when a child learns to open a box, the child creates new knowledge afresh in their own mind. It was not put there by biological evolution. A child's knowledge of box-opening will grow, unlike a dog's, and they will learn to open boxes in ways a dog never can. And different children can be very different in terms of what they know how to do.

Comment author: HungryHobo 08 December 2017 03:15:54PM 0 points [-]

This argument seems chosen to make it utterly unfalsifiable.

If someone provides examples of animal X solving novel problems in creative ways you can just say "that's just the 'some flexibility' bit"

Comment author: Lumifer 08 December 2017 05:32:12PM *  0 points [-]

It's also rank nonsense -- this bit in particular:

dog genes contain behavioural algorithms pre-programmed by evolution

Some orcas hunt seal pups by temporarily stranding themselves on the beaches in order to reach their prey. Is that behaviour programmed in their genes? The genes of all orcas?

Comment author: curi 08 December 2017 09:56:36PM 0 points [-]

yes that'd be my first guess – that it's caused by something in the gene pool of orcas. why not? and what else would it be?

Comment author: Lumifer 10 December 2017 12:39:49AM 1 point [-]

The problem is that very very few orcas do that -- only two pods in the world, as far as we know. Orcas which live elsewhere (e.g. the Pacific Northwest orcas which are very well-observed) do not do anything like this. Moreover, there is evidence that the technique is taught by adults to juvenile orcas. See e.g .here or here.

Comment author: curi 10 December 2017 03:06:36AM *  0 points [-]

genetic algorithms often write and later read data, just like e.g. video game enemies. your examples are irrelevant b/c you aren't addressing the key intellectual issues. this example also adds nothing new over examples that have already been addressed.

you are claiming it's a certain kind of writing and reading data (learning) as opposed to other kinds (non-learning), but aren't writing or referencing anything which discusses this matter. you present some evidence as if no analysis of it was required, and you don't even try to discuss the key issues. i take it that, as with prior discussion, you're simply ignorant of what the issues are (like you simply take an unspecified common sense epistemology for granted, rather than being able to discuss the field). and that you won't want to learn or seriously discuss, and you will be hostile to the idea that you need a framework in which to interpret the evidence (and thus go on using your unquestioned framework that is one of the cultural defaults + some random and non-random quirks).

Comment author: Lumifer 10 December 2017 07:23:48AM *  1 point [-]

genetic algorithms often write and later read data, just like e.g. video game enemies

Huh? First, the expression "genetic algorithms" doesn't mean what you think it means. Second, I don't understand the writing and reading data part. Write which data to what substrate?

your examples are irrelevant b/c you aren't addressing the key intellectual issues

I like dealing with reality. You like dealing with abstractions in your head. We talked about this -- we disagree. You know that.

But if you are uninterested in empirical evidence, why bother discussing it at all?

you won't want to learn or seriously discuss

Yes, I'm not going to do what you want me to do. You know that as well.

you will be hostile to the idea that you need a framework in which to interpret the evidence

I will be hostile to the idea that I need your framework to interpret the evidence, yes. You know that, too.

Comment author: Fallibilist 10 December 2017 06:46:27AM 0 points [-]

People are overly impressed by things that animals can do such as dogs opening doors and think the only explanation is that they must be learning. Conversely, people think children being good at something means they have an in-born natural talent. The child is doing something way more remarkable than the dog but does not get to take credit. The dog does.