Mar 2017

Super IntelligentBeyond our understanding?

These thoughts have been inspired by The AI Revolution Part 1 and Part 2 and the video that Dave (boyinaband) made about this.

So, how do you explain a super intelligence (an SI)?

The Baby Rattler Explanation

Take a random baby rattler.

To a 6 month old child it is an amazing toy. It makes noise, it goes clunk when you hit it against stuff. It has color, it has a blegh taste. It doesn't really smell of much. An explosion of experiences. But the child will not think of how it's made or how it works.

Now look at it yourself. You could probably infer quite a lot about it by sight alone:

  • It's made of plastic - Probably non-toxic.
  • It's made of several parts. - The seams are a vulnerable point.
  • The rattling is probably hollow bits of plastic, by the sound of it.
  • You can estimate dimensions, center of gravity, how it would feel in your hands, etc.

And with a bit of help from the internet, you could probably even figure out most of it's production process, do a reasonable guess on the exact type of plastic and more.

By sight alone.

Now imagine that everything that humanity has ever built is even easier to understand to an SI. Taking less time than it would take Sherlock Holmes to analyse a rattler.

And what if it made something?

Anything that an SI would make, would no longer be comprehensible to us. Like a baby having no idea how a rattler is "built" or even that it is. Anything it shows us would appear like complete sci-fi or magic.

And it's fascinatingly impossible to try and imagine this. To literally imagine something that your brain is incapable of understanding.

Because you can't. - Not even on an abstract level.