Yudkowsky asks Hanson for an economic definition of intelligence.
After I challenged Robin to show how economic concepts can be useful in defining or measuring intelligence, Robin responded by – as I interpret it – challenging me to show why a generalized concept of “intelligence” is any use in economics.
I’m probably missing something here, but intelligence seems to be important for, well, like everything and economics is no exception. E.g. I guess most folks wouldn’t buy computers built by chimpanzees or mobile phones that were designed by kangaroos.
532. Mundane Magic
This is hilarious.
As you may recall from some months earlier, I think that part of the rationalist ethos is binding yourself emotionally to an absolutely lawfulreductionistic universe—a universe containing no ontologically basic mental things such as souls or magic—and pouring all your hope and all your care into that merely real universe and its possibilities, without disappointment.
…So why not make a list of abilities you have that would be amazingly cool if they were magic, or if only a few chosen individuals had them?
For example, suppose that instead of one eye, you possessed a magical second eye embedded in your forehead. And this second eye enabled you to see into the third dimension—so that you could somehow tell how far away things were—where an ordinary eye would see only a two-dimensional shadow of the true world. Only the possessors of this ability can accurately aim the legendary distance-weapons that kill at ranges far beyond a sword, or use to their fullest potential the shells of ultrafast machinery called “cars”.
…The Ultimate Power. The user of this ability contains a smaller, imperfect echo of the entire universe, enabling them to search out paths through probability to any desired future. If this sounds like a ridiculously powerful ability, you’re right—game balance goes right out the window with this one. Extremely rare among life forms, it is the sekai no ougi or “hidden technique of the world”.
Nothing can oppose the Ultimate Power except the Ultimate Power. Any less-than-ultimate Power will simply be “comprehended” by the Ultimate and disrupted in some inconceivable fashion, or even absorbed into the Ultimates’ own power base. For this reason the Ultimate Power is sometimes called the “master technique of techniques” or the “trump card that trumps all other trumps”. The more powerful Ultimates can stretch their “comprehension” across galactic distances and aeons of time, and even perceive the bizarre laws of the hidden “world beneath the world”.
…The Ultimates even insist that anyone who lacks the Ultimate Power cannot begin to truly comprehend the Ultimate Power, and hence, cannot understand why the Ultimate Power is morally important—a suspiciously self-serving argument.
The users of this ability form an absolute aristocracy and treat all other life forms as their pawns.
Maybe I should stop whining about our oh so reductionistic universe and just be grateful about all the awesome gifts I’ve received?
Nah, I demand a universe that truly pampers my ass.