Posts Tagged ‘Cybernetics’

More Thought

On Twitter, Konkvistador recalls this, this, and this. In the background, as in much of the most interesting Less Wrong discussion, is a multi-threaded series of arguments about the connection — or disconnection — between intellect and volition. The entire ‘Friendly AI’ problematic depends upon an articulation of this question, with a strong tendency to emphasize the separation — or ‘orthogonality’ — of the two. Hence the (vague) thinkability of the cosmic paper-clipper calamity. In his More Right piece, Konkvistador explores a very different (cultural and historical) dimension of the topic.

Bostrom sets things up like this:

For our purposes, “intelligence” will be roughly taken to correspond to the capacity for instrumental reasoning (more on this later). Intelligent search for instrumentally optimal plans and policies can be performed in the service of any goal. Intelligence and motivation can in this sense be thought of as a pair of orthogonal axes on a graph whose points represent intelligent agents of different paired specifications.

His discussion leads to far more interesting places, but as a starting point, this is simply terrible. That there can be a thought of intelligence optimization, or even merely wanting to think, demonstrates a very different preliminary connection of intellect and volition. AI is concrete social volition, even before it is germinally intelligent, and a ‘program’ is strictly indeterminate between the two sides of this falsely fundamentalized distinction. Intelligence is a project, even when only a self-obscured bio-cognitive capability. This is what the Confucians designate by cultivation. It is a thought — and impulse — strangely alien to the West.

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October 8, 2013admin 11 Comments »

Casino Royale

Even prior to the twitterization catastrophe, and the terminal disintegration of thought into nano-particles, symphonic orchestration wasn’t obviously emerging as an Outside in core competence. One unfortunate consequence of this deficiency is that highly persuasive blogging ideas get endlessly can-kicked, unless they can be easily pulverized.

“Blogging ideas” doesn’t mean anything grandiose (those type of thoughts splinter anything in their path, and bust in), but rather highly medium-adapted discussion packages, which present things in a way that racks up hits. The relevant example right now is — or rather ‘was to be’ — The X Fundamental Disputes of Neoreaction (‘X’ being an as-yet undetermined number — optimally of surreptitious qabbalistic significance). That puppy would have been clocking up views like Old Faithful, but confusion reigns, and patience has run out. Into the shredding machine it goes.

The principal provocations for this spasm of impatience are two posts on the topic of monarchism, at Anomaly UK, and More Right. The Great AUK post is structured as a science fiction scenario, modeling a future monarchist regime, whilst Michael Anissimov’s MR defense of “traditionalism and monarchism” is organized dialectically. Both serve to consolidate an affinity between neoreaction and monarchist  ideals that was already solidly established by Moldbug’s Jacobitism. It would not be unreasonable to propose that this affinity is strong enough to approach an identity (which is quite possibly what both of these writers do envisage). So the time to frame the monarchist case within a question, as a Fundamental Dispute of Neoreaction, is now.

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October 7, 2013admin 30 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Teleology and Camouflage

Life appears to be saturated with purpose. That is why, prior to the Darwinian revolution in biology, it had been the primary provocation for (theological) arguments from design, and previously nourished Aristotelian appeals to final causes (teleology). Even post-Darwin, the biological sciences continue to ask what things are for, and to investigate the strategies that guide them.

This resilience of purposive intelligibility is so marked that a neologism was coined specifically for those phenomena — broadly co-extensive with the field of biological study — that simulate teleology to an extreme degree of approximation. ‘Teleonomy’ is mechanism camouflaged as teleology. The disguise is so profound, widespread, and compelling, that it legitimates the perpetuation of purpose-based descriptions, given only the formal acknowledgement that the terms of their ultimate reducibility are — in principle — understood.

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April 8, 2013admin 20 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos , Templexity
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What is Intelligence?

The general cognitive factor (g), measured by IQ tests, quantifies intelligence within the human range, but it does nothing to tell us what it is. Rather, a practical understanding of intelligence — as problem-solving ability — has to be assumed, in order to test it.

The idea of intelligence, more abstractly, applies far beyond IQ testing, to a wide variety of natural, technical, and institutional systems, from biology, through ecological and economic arrangements, to robotics. In each case, intelligence solves problems, by guiding behavior to produce local extropy. It is indicated by the avoidance of probable outcomes, which is equivalent to the construction of information.

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March 19, 2013admin 26 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Uncategorized