Today's post, Whence Your Abstractions? was originally published on 20 November 2008. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


Figuring out how to place concepts in categories is an important part of the problem. Before we classify AI into the same group as human intelligence, farming, and industry, we need to think about why we want to put them into that same category.

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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:29 AM

Doug Engelbart's mouse is like an AI that can modify one line of its source code per week, and can't mathematically prove that that change represents an improvement but just has to try it and see if it's useful. (Also some areas of code are execute-only and not readable or writeable).

Farming is like an AI that has improved the efficiency of one of its key algorithms.

This should also come with a get-out clause: these are just analogies, and should be considered as playing with ideas rather than an attempt to accurately summarize Yudkowsky's viewpoint.

The meta-point is making analogies seems relatively straightforward when you do it in this direction (but a lot harder in the direction of "Self improving AI is like farming your own brain"). Not sure where Yudowsky's strong reaction against the analogies comes from.

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