Friday, December 12, 2014

comment to kurzweilai article, offloading memory load makes you smarter.

Skydog, I did not address the article. I was responding in detail about the relation between compression and knowledge, and then pontificated on the Hutter definition of generalized intelligence. But to mention the topic at hand I'll say this: a friend and I have noticed that those with bad memories (data simply not recorded) seem to have a better understanding of fundamental ideas and the big picture apparently because it forces them to think more about the more significant data and predict and model new data better than others with a great memory and equal intelligence.  So even in people with excellent natural intelligence and great memory, they may not understand the bigger picture as well as someone with equal intelligence and less memory.  In A.I. too much of a memory can the result of overtraining the network. It works best on old data it has seen before, but performs worst on new data. Conversely, already having the intelligence and trying to think about and understand deep issues without memorization can help people categorize new data without being distracted as much by it.So it is possible to remember a lot and think clearly about similar but novel situations.

I've notice those who read too much and think too little are a nightmare to deal with.  They can point out plenty of factual errors and inexactness and thereby mistakenly think they know something, while remaining utterly clueless about the topic being discussed and never having an original idea.

Another ironic tradeoff I've noticed:: Brilliance in reasoning can lead to  strange ideas because people can reason themselves around truths in search of feeling good. They are so smart that the penalties in being dumb or wasteful are not severe.  So integrity is key to scientific thinking.

Another tradeoff: mathematical perfectionists unable to see approximate analogies, preventing them from seeing the bigger picture.

Joncole42, I don't think we can imagine even a thinking machine powerful enough to understand the deepest characteristics of nature. I think our physics describes our brain's interaction with reality as much as it describes reality. For example all animals and insects have 6 layers of neurons to model 3D space, 3 layers for translation (velocity) of objects (mass) and 3 layers for rotation. If we had 10 layers we would see 4D space, where I think all velocities we currently see would be the 4th space dimension, and all current accelerations would be converted to velocities. So undergraduate theoretical physics believes in 3D space, but it's arbitrary. 2D space (holographic compression being needed to make up for the lost dimension) is favored by some, but any integers in a physics equation indicate it's not a truly fundamental physics equation because it implies 1) a God decided which integer it should be for 2) a finite universe, which are 2 requirements I deny.

But getting back to 3D space, yes, I think mass is an illusion in the sense that the physics is right but our subjective assignment of an extra sense of "realness" to mass is a subjective perception created by our 6 layers. 10 layers (4D space) would give a different kind of energy and mass to focus on.  c is dimensionless as meters and seconds are the same thing. If you apply this to planck or natural units (despite wikipedia making the normal mistake of thinking c is a dimensional constant and that seconds are a dimension different from meters) you'll derive a lot of interesting things like E= -1*m*c^2  (a known fact, at least in Hawking's book) and it seems like energy and mass have natural units of 1/length^2.

You can convert bits to energy:: minimal Energy per bit = k*T*ln(2) which comes from the physical entropy of a bit: minimal real entropy = k*ln(2). See Landauer.

I view our physics equations as a compression scheme for describing reality, but deeply reflecting the compression methods our brains are using and our desires.  Possibly so much so that we should take them as they are, and never try to use them in a search of ultimate truths, but as guidelines for how we should view the non-agent world.

Since we can't view the world without survival, it might be inherently a deep error to place truth above survival.

Getting back to my original point: we have no hope of understanding an ultimate reality, so I dare not try.  However, I reserve the right to believe no thing is real because every thing is real without further understanding, and that somehow everything will balance out in the end, if it is not already balancing out at every locality, leaving happiness and sadness in localities a mystery even as it is a requirement of my 1st axiom.

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