Intelligence is a trade-off

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Funny, and I also think this is true:

The Argument From Wooly Definitions

The concept of “general intelligence” in AI is famously slippery. Depending on the context, it can mean human-like reasoning ability, or skill at AI design, or the ability to understand and model human behavior, or proficiency with language, or the capacity to make correct predictions about the future.

What I find particularly suspect is the idea that “intelligence” is like CPU speed, in that any sufficiently smart entity can emulate less intelligent beings (like its human creators) no matter how different their mental architecture.

With no way to define intelligence (except just pointing to ourselves), we don’t even know if it’s a quantity that can be maximized. For all we know, human-level intelligence could be a tradeoff. Maybe any entity significantly smarter than a human being would be crippled by existential despair, or spend all its time in Buddha-like contemplation.

Or maybe it would become obsessed with the risk of hyperintelligence, and spend all its time blogging about that.

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