Karl_Smith

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Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

You are at the state flagship. 82% at College Park is roughly equal to Urbana-Champaign's 80%. The point is that top schools pick students who can get through and/or do a better job of getting students through.

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

Tim,

Thanks, input like this helps me try to think about the economic issues involved.

Can you talk a little about the depth of recursion already possible. How much assistance are these refactoring programs providing? Can the results the be used to speed up other programs or does can it only improve its own development, etc?

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

I'd appreciate some feedback on a brain dump I did on economics and technology. Nothing revolutionary here. Just want people with more experience on the tech side to check my thinking.

Thanks in advance

http://modeledbehavior.com/2010/03/11/the-economics-of-really-big-ideas/

Open Thread: March 2010

I have a 2000+ word brain dump on economics and technology that I'd appreciate feedback on. What would be the protocol. Should I link to it? Copy it into a comment? Start a top level article about it?

I am not promising any deep insights here, just my own synthesis of some big ideas that are out there.

Priors and Surprise

Perhaps I am missing something but it seems to me that a world in which Godzilla was common knowledge would have a completely different history of biology. For one thing it's hard to imagine that explaing Godzillia would not be a major goal of philosophers and scientists since the earliest days.

I imagine one of the basic questions would be whether Godzillia was a beast or a god and answering this would be a high priority. What does Godzillia want? Where did he come from? Has he always existed? Are there more? Do they mate?

These seem like really big deal questions when confronted by a sea monster which occasionally destroys towns.

For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books

So the easy answers might be:

Ben Bernanke

Mark Gertler

Micheal Wooford

Greg Mankiw

Its not clear to me why macro-economists are rightly subject to such criticism. To me its like asking a mathematician, "If you're so good at logical reasoning why didn't you create the next killer app"

Understanding how the economy works and applying that knowledge to a particular task are completely different.

For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books

So clearly adapting the new idea is useful.

However, it may also be the case that there is an old idea which if re-examined will be seen to be useful in and of itself.

The problem with the Austrians is that their ideas are being considered and they are being rejected. See Byran Caplan's Why I am Not an Austrian Economist. (link seems not to be working)

For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books

I think this post overstates the case a bit. My general impression is that the scientific method "wins" even in economics and that later works are better than earlier works.

Now it might be true that the average macro-economist of today understands less than Keynes did but I'd be hard pressed to say that the best don't understand more. Moreover, there are really great distillers. In macro for example, Hicks distilled Keynes into something that I would consider more useful that the original.

Nonetheless, I think it is correct that someone should be reading the originals. If not there is the propensity for a particular distiller to miss an important insight and then for everyone else to go one missing it.

What this says to me is that there should be rewards to re-discovery. Suppose that I read Adam Smith and rediscover something great. I should be rewarded for that just as much as if I had come up with the idea myself. Afterall, it has the same effect on the current state of knowledge. However, that will not happen.

Rediscovering is not as prestigious as discovering, because it is not as difficult and does not signal intellectual greatness.

For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books

I remember reading that one of the most g loaded tests was recognition time. I think the experiment involved flashing letters and timing how fast it took to press the letter on a keyboard. The key correlate was "time until finger left the home keys" which the authors interpreted as the moment you realized what the letter was.

I also heard a case that sensory memory lasts for a short a relatively constant time among humans and that difference in cognitive ability were strongly related to how speed on pushing information into sensory memory. The greater the speed the larger a concept could be pushed in before key elements started to leak out.

Open Thread: March 2010

I had conceived of something like the Turing test but for intelligence period, not just general intelligence.

I wonder if general intelligence is about the domains under which a control system can perform.

I also wonder whether "minds" is a too limiting criteria for the goals of FAI.

Perhaps the goal could be stated as a IUCS. However, we dont know how to build ICUS. So perhaps we can build a control system whose reference point is IUCS. But we don't know that so we build a control system whose reference point is a control system whose reference point . . . until we get to some that we can build. Then we press start.

Maybe this is a more general formulation?

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