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HungryHobo 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: HungryHobo 07 December 2017 02:28:26PM *  1 point [-]

I started this post off trying to be charitable but gradually became less so.

"This means we can create any knowledge which it is possible to create."

Is there any proof that this is true? anything rigorous? The human mind could have some notable blind spots. For all we know there could be concepts that happen to cause normal human minds to suffer lethal epileptic fits similar to how certain patterns of flashing light can to some people. Or simple concepts that could be incredibly inefficient to encode in a normal human mind that could be easily encoded in a mind of a similar scale with a different architecture.

"There is no such thing as a partially universal knowledge creator."

What is this based upon? some animals can create novel tools to solve problems. Some humans can solve very simple problems but are quickly utterly stumped beyond a certain point. Dolphins can be demonstrated to be able to form hypothesis and test them but stop at simple hypothesis.

Is a human a couple of standard deviations bellow average who refuses to entertain hypotheticals a "universal knowledge creator"? Can the author point to any individuals on the border or below it either due to brain damage or developmental problems?

Just because a turning machine can in theory run all computable computations that doesn't mean that a given mind can solve all problems that that Turing machine could just because it can understand the basics of how a turing machine works. The programmer is not just a super-set of their programs.

"These ideas imply that AI is an all-or-none proposition."

You've not really established that very well at all. You've simply claimed it with basically no support.

your arguments seem to be poorly grounded and poorly supported, simply stating things as if they were fact does not make them so.

"Humans do not use the computational resources of their brains to the maximum."

Interesting claim. So these ruthlessly evolved brains aren't being used even when our lives and the lives of our progeny are in jeopardy? Odd to evolve all that expensive excess capacity then not use it.

"Critical Rationalism, then, says AI cannot recursively self-improve so that it acquires knowledge creation potential beyond what human beings already have. It will be able to become smarter through learning but only in the same way that humans are able to become smarter"

Ok, here's a challenge. We both set up a chess AI but I get to use the hardware that was recently used to run AlphaZero while you only get to use a 486. We both get to use the same source code. Standard tournament chess rules with time limits.

You seem to be mentally modeling all potential AI as basically just a baby based on literally... nothing whatsoever.

Your TCS link seems to be fluff and buzzwords irrelevant to AI.

"Some reading this will object because CR and TCS are not formal enough — there is not enough maths"

That's an overly charitable way of putting it. Backing up none of your claims then building a gigantic edifice of argument on thin air is not great for formal support of something.

"Not yet being able to formalize this knowledge does not reflect on its truth or rigor."

"We have no problem with ideas about the probabilities of events but it is a mistake to assign probabilities to ideas. The reason is that you have no way to know how or if an idea will be refuted in the future. Assigning a probability is to falsely claim some knowledge about that. Furthermore, an idea that is in fact false can have no objective prior probability of being true. The extent to which Bayesian systems work at all is dependent on the extent to which they deal with the objective probability of events (e.g., AlphaGo). In CR, the status of ideas is either "currently not problematic" or "currently problematic", there are no probabilities of ideas. CR is a digital epistemology. "

The space of potentially true things that are actually completely false is infinite. If you just pick ideas out of the air and don't bother with testing them and showing them to be correct you provide about as much useful insight to those around you as the average screaming madman on the street corner preaching that the Robot Lizardmen are working with the CIA to put radio transmiters in his teeth to hide the truth about 9/11.

Proving your claims to actually be true or to have some meaningful chance of being true matters.

Comment author: curi 07 December 2017 07:23:49PM *  0 points [-]

"This means we can create any knowledge which it is possible to create."

Is there any proof that this is true?

are you asking for infallible proof, or merely argument?

anything rigorous?

see this book http://beginningofinfinity.com (it also addresses most of your subsequent questions)

Comment author: HungryHobo 08 December 2017 02:44:12PM *  2 points [-]

...ok so I don't get to find the arguments out unless I buy a copy of the book?

right... looking at a pirated copy of the book, the phrase "universal knowledge creator" appears nowhere in it nor "knowledge creator"

But lets have a read of the chapter "Artificial Creativity"

big long spiel about ELIZA being crap. Same generic qualia arguments as ever.

One minor gem in there for which the author deserves to be commended:

"I have settled on a simple test for judging claims, including Dennett’s, to have explained the nature of consciousness (or any other computational task): if you can’t program it, you haven’t understood it"

...

Claim that genetic algorithms and similar learning systems aren't really inventing or discovering anything because they reach local maxima and thus the design is really just coming from the programmer. (presumably then the developers of alpha-go must be the worlds best grandmaster go players)

I see the phrase "universal constructors" where the author claims that human bodies are able to turn anything into anything. This argument appears to rest squarely on the idea that while there may be some things we actually can't do or ideas we actually can't handle we should, one day, be able to either alter ourselves or build machines (AI's?) that can handle it. Thus we are universal constructors and can do anything.

On a related note I an in fact an office block because while I may not actually be 12 stories tall and covered in glass I could in theory build machines which build machine which could be used to build an office block and thus by this books logic, that makes me an office block and from this point forward in the comments we can make arguments based on the assumption that I can contain at least 75 office workers along with their desks and equipment

The fact that we haven't actually managed to create machines that can turn anything into anything yet strangely doesn't get a look in on the argument about why we're currently universal constructors but dolphins are not.

The author brings up the idea of things we may genuinely simply not be able to understand and just dismisses it with literally nothing except the objection that it's claiming things could be inexplicable and hence should be dismissed. (on a related note the president of the tautology club is the president of the tautology club)

Summary: I'd give it a C- but upgrade it to C for being better than the geocities website selling it.

Also, the book doesn't actually address my objections.

Comment author: Fallibilist 08 December 2017 08:53:52PM *  0 points [-]

The author brings up the idea of things we may genuinely simply not be able to understand and just dismisses it with literally nothing except the objection that it's claiming things could be inexplicable and hence should be dismissed. (on a related note the president of the tautology club is the president of the tautology club)

Deutsch gives arguments that people are universal explainers/constructors (this requires that they be computationally universal as well). What is your argument that there are some things that a universal explainer could never be able to understand? Alternatively, what is your argument that people are not universal explainers? Deutsch talks about the “reach” of knowledge. Knowledge created to solve a problem in one domain can solve problems in other domains too. What is your argument that the knowledge we create could never reach into this inexplicable realm you posit?

Comment author: HungryHobo 08 December 2017 09:48:15PM *  0 points [-]

First: If I propose that humans can sing any possible song or that humans are universal jumpers and can jump any height the weight is not upon everyone else to prove that humans cannot because I'm the one making the absurd proposition.

he proposes that humans are universal constructors, able to build anything. Observation: there are some things humans as they currently are cannot construct, as we currently are we cannot actually arbitrarily order atoms any way we like to perform any task we like. The worlds smartest human can no more build a von neuman probe right now than the worlds smartest border collie.

he merely makes the guess that we'll be able to do so in future or that we'll be able to build something that will be able to build something in future that will be able to but that border collies never will. (that is based on little more than faith.)

From this he concludes we're "universal constructors" despite us quite trivially falling short of the definition of 'universal constructor' he proposes.

When you start talking about "reach" you utterly utterly cancel out all the claims made about AI in the OP. If a superhuman AI with a brain the size of a planet made of pure computation can just barely manage to comprehend some horribly complex problem and there's a slim chance that humans might one day be able to build AI's which might be able to build AI's which might be able to build AI's that might be able to build that AI that doesn't mean that humans have fully comprehended that thing or could fully comprehend that thing any more than slime mould could be said to comprehend the building of a nuclear power station because they could potentially produce offspring which produce offspring which produce offspring.....[repeat many times] who could potentially design and build a nuclear power station.

His arguments are full of gaping holes. How does this not jump out at other readers?

Comment author: Fallibilist 09 December 2017 03:52:22AM 0 points [-]

he proposes that humans are universal constructors, able to build anything. Observation: there are some things humans as they currently are cannot construct, as we currently are we cannot actually arbitrarily order atoms any way we like to perform any task we like. The worlds smartest human can no more build a von neuman probe right now than the worlds smartest border collie.

Our human ancestors on the African savannah could not construct a nuclear reactor, nor the skyline of Manhattan, nor an 18 core microprocessor. They had no idea how. But they had in them the potential and that potential has been realized today. To do that, we created deep knowledge about how our universe works. Why you think that is not going to continue? Why should we not be able to construct a von Neumann probe at some point in the future? Note that most of the advances I am talking about occurred in the last few hundred years. Humans had a big problem with static memes preventing progress for millennia (see BoI). If not for those memes, we may well be at the stars by now. While humans made all this progress, dolphins and border collies did what?

Comment author: HungryHobo 11 December 2017 11:58:08AM *  1 point [-]

Yes, our ancestors could not build a nuclear reactor, the australian natives spent 40 thousand years without constructing a bow and arrow. Neither the Australian natives nor anyone else has built a cold fusion reactor. Running half way doesn't mean you've won the race.

Putting ourselves in the category of "entities who can build anything" is like putting yourself in the category "people who've been on the moon" when you've never actually been to the moon but really really want to be an astronaut one day. You might even one day become an astronaut but aspirations don't put you in the category with Armstrong until you actually do the thing.

Your pet collie might dream vaguely of building cars, perhaps in 5,000,000 years it's descendants might have self selected for intelligence and we'll have collie engineers, that doesn't make it an engineer today.

Currently by the definition in that book humans are not universal constructors, at best we might one day be universal constructors if we don't all get wiped out by something first. It would be nice if we became such one day. But right now we're merely closer to being universal constructors than unusually bright ravens and collies.

Feelings are not fact. Hopes are not reality.

Assuming that nothing will stop us based on a thin sliver of history is shaky extrapolation:

https://xkcd.com/605/