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Quote: An inductive AI asking what probability assignment to make on the next round is asking "Does induction work?", and this is the question that it may answer by inductive reasoning. If you ask "Why does induction work?" then answering "Because induction works" is circular logic, and answering "Because I believe induction works" is magical thinking.

My view (IMBW) is that the inductive AI is asking the different question "Is induction a good choice of strategy for this class of problem ?" Your follow-up question is "Why did you choose induction for that class of problem ?" and the answer is "Because induction has proved a good choice of strategy in other, similar classes of problem, or for a significant subset of problems attempted in this class".

Generalising, I suggest that self-optimising systems start on particulars and gradually become more general, rather than starting at generalities.

Jan: Occam's razor is not so much a rule of science but an operating guideline for doing science. It could be reduced to "test simple theories first". In the past this has been very useful in keeping scientific effort productive, the 'belief' is that it will continue to be useful in this way.

mtc has it right in that the difference between private organisations and state (and state-funded) ones is that private organisations have an in-built feedback mechanism, they exist to make a profit, the profit they make is calculable by the owners, who will either keep their organisation profitable ie true to its purpose, or sell out or go bust. State organisations by contrast may not have a clear purpose, often find that purpose diverted or confused by politicians, have no feedback mechanism, and almost never go out of existence for any reason including gross failure.