Re: Goldilocks world

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 15:33:59 +0100

Le 25-nov.-05, ŕ 07:16, Kim Jones a écrit :

> You cannot affect your intelligence. You are stuck with it. It is the
> measure of the speed at which neurons in your brain fire and receive
> impulses.

 From your post I see we agree on many things and I don't need to add
comments, except on this quoted sentence and similar below. I don't
think we are stuck with our intelligence (in the general sense which we
are opposing to competence). Actually I would say that the speed of
processing is more on the side of competence than intelligence
(although I.J. Good makes an interesting analysis of "free-will" in
term of processing speed). Remember I am used to get conversation in
Platonia with Platonic machine which in general are very slow (because
there is no need to optimize them given that in Platonia we have "all
the time"). I think intelligence, again in that large sense of just an
ability of doubting, is very close to courage, and is perhaps just a
matter of attitude. I do think people can get it in one second, but
also to loose it in one second. Generally this happens after some
shock, like when a people you care about dies or when yourself have
some accident or anything which can quickly make fragile some of your
oldest prejudice.

> Competence is dynamic / intelligence is a frozen quantity of something

Same remark. I do think that "intelligence" is the normal state of any
(naive) self-introspective machine. Pain, disease, problematic parents,
problematic social neighborhoods, lack of education etc. all those
rather banal life circumstances can destroy it for a time. And the same
things can also re-awake it (if that is still english).

>> My favorite definition of ...
>> ... is that thing that once you give it/he/she/e a name or a
>> description, then you can say "hello" to the catastrophes ....
> Ain't it "the truth"!
> This is also surely because "the truth" is a con job. Truth or
> *identity* - which is what you are talking about here - is often the
> place at which all movement in thinking ceases. Once you name
> something you have slapped a label on it and labels tend to be sticky
> things in the warm, spongey human brain.

Yes. And the story of humanity is full of examples. Now it is hard, at
least for me, not to point toward the basic theorems of mathematical
logic in this setting. Tarski theorem: sound löbian machines cannot
name their truth predicate. Gödel's incompleteness theorem: sound
lobian machine cannot prove their own consistency. Now, the lobian
machines, which are just the self-referentially correct machine having
enough introspective power, can prove their Godel's theorem, and so
they can know that if they are consistent they can be inconsistent, and
that is a logical reason for doubting, and that's why I think to be
intelligent is the natural state of a machine, and thus loosing that
intelligence is (alas) also natural. It is like to be alive: to be
alive *is* to be able to die.

Dt -> DBf, to sum up. And that formula characterizes the multiverse
where all transient observer-moment can reach dead-ends. Will come back
to this.

> Scientists should stay well clear of truth. Mathematicians own it.

A scientist has the right to search for the truth, and even to say so.
But he can never be sure it owns it. I'm not sure mathematicians own
it, except perhaps for a tiny part of math, but then everyone owns that
part (except highly disabled person).

Received on Fri Nov 25 2005 - 12:27:55 PST

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