On Mon, Oct 01, 2007 at 10:40:53AM -0400, Edward W. Porter wrote:
> [...]
> RSI (Recursive Self Improvement)
> [...]
> I didn't know exactly what the term covers.
> So could you, or someone, please define exactly what its meaning is?
> Is it any system capable of learning how to improve its current behavior
> by changing to a new state with a modified behavior, and then from that
> new state (arguably "recursively") improving behavior to yet another new
> state, and so on and so forth?  If so, why wouldn't any system doing
> ongoing automatic learning that changed its behavior be an RSI system.

No; learning is just learning. 

For example, humans are known to have 5 to 9 short-term memory "slots"
(this has been measured by a wide variety of psychology experiments,
e.g. ability to recall random data, etc.)

When reading a book, watching a movie, replying to an email, or solving 
a problem, humans presumably use many or all of these slots (watching 
a movie: to remember the characters, plot twists, recent scenes, etc.
Replying to this email: to remember the point that I'm trying to make,
while simultaneously composing a gramatical, pleasant-to-read sentence.)

Now, suppose I could learn enough neuropsychology to grow some extra
neurons in a petri dish, then implant them in my brain, and up my
short-term memory slots to, say, 50-100.  The new me would be like
the old me, except that I'd probably find movies and books to be trite 
and boring, as they are threaded together from only a half-dozen 
salient characteristics and plot twists (how many characters
and situations are there in Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice? 
Might it not seem like a children's book, since I'll be able 
to "hold in mind" its entire plot, and have a whole lotta 
short-term memory slots left-over for other tasks?). 

Music may suddenly seem lame, being at most a single melody line 
that expounds on a chord progression consisting of a half-dozen chords, 
each chord consisting of 4-6 notes.  The new me might come to like 
multiple melody lines exploring a chord progression of some 50 chords, 
each chord being made of 14 or so notes...

The new me would probably be a better scientist: being able to 
remember and operate on 50-100 items in short term memory will
likely allow me to decipher a whole lotta biochemistry that leaves
current scientists puzzled.  And after doing that, I might decide
that some other parts of my brain could use expansion too.

*That* is RSI.


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