A sliver of reality

AEON – A sliver of reality

[ 8/September/22 Science and mathematics may never fully capture the physical universe. Are there hard limits to human intelligence?]

David H Wolpert writes:
“What can I ever know about that which lies beyond the limits of what I can even imagine?”
Good question?
Are there any such limits???

“brains are extraordinarily expensive metabolically”

“Evolutionarily speaking, it is stupid to be smart”
It is smart to be smart only in contexts (Niches) where the benefits of being smart outweigh the considerable costs.
We do seem to exist in such a universe.

“We do not have a good understanding of exactly how our neural hardware grants us abstract intelligence. We do not understand how ‘brain makes mind’.”
Speak for yourself, not me.
Having been fascinated in that subject for 50 years, I think I have a reasonably good handle on it, but it would take me years to explain it to someone else.

“the entire biosphere has never lost the ability to engage in certain kinds of cognitive capability.”
Not true.
There have been multiple massive extinction events, and it seems very probable that substantial cognitive capability was lost in each of them, but it re-emerge over time.

“Up until around 50,000 years ago, the collective intelligence on Earth was increasing gradually and smoothly.”
It was clearly on an exponential.
All exponential curves look flat looking back, and like walls looking ahead.

“that our kinds of intelligence far exceed those of our hominin ancestors.”
Not at all sure that is true.
We have certainly developed language and mechanisms of passing on complex learnings, and that has been on an exponential curve also, with books, printing presses, modern digital communications, etc.
The more concepts we have, the more tools we can make, leading to more concepts ……

Simulation hypotheses lead to infinite recursion – invoke Ockham’s Razor. Until you have hard evidence of simulation, ignore it.

“It also seems likely that these cognitively superior ‘children’ of ours will be here within the next century. Presumably we will go extinct soon after their arrival (like all good parents making way for their children).”

Archea did not go extinct as cyanobateria created our oxygen atmosphere, but the niches within which they flourish are more restricted.
Similarly with most of the stages of organisms that have led to us.
There is no reason to posit our extinction from the next emergent set of entities in the evolutionary process we are participating in.
I do not plan on dying, haven’t since realising in 1974 that indefinite life extension was more than science fiction, that it was possible, if difficult.

Far too many unexamined and dangerous assumptions in that piece.
Some good stuff, but far too many errors.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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