Edward W. Porter writes:> As I say, what is, and is not, RSI would appear to be 
a matter of> definition.> But so far the several people who have gotten back to 
me, including> yourself, seem to take the position that that is not the type of 
recursive> self improvement they consider to be "RSI." Some people have drawn 
the> line at coding. RSI they say includes modifying ones own code, but code> 
of course is a relative concept, since code can come in higher and higher> 
level languages and it is not clear where the distinction between code and> 
non-code lies.
As I had included comments along these lines in a previous conversation, I 
would like to clarify.  That conversation was not specifically about a 
definition of RSI, it had to do with putting restrictions on the type of RSI we 
might consider prudent, in terms of cutting the risk of creating intelligent 
entities whose abilities grow faster than we can handle.
One way to think about that problem is to consider that building an AGI 
involves taking a theory of mind and embodying it in a particular computational 
substrate, using one or more layers of abstraction built on the primitive 
operations of the substrate.  That implementation is not the same thing as the 
mind model, it is one expression of the mind model.
If we do not give arbitrary access to the mind model itself or its 
implementation, it seems safer than if we do -- this limits the extent that RSI 
is possible: the efficiency of the model implementation and the capabilities of 
the model do not change.  Those capabilities might of course still be larger 
than was expected, so it is not a safety guarantee; further analysis using the 
particulars of the model and implementation, should be considered also.
RSI in the sense of "learning to learn better" or "learning to think better" 
within a particular theory of mind seems necessary for any practical AGI effort 
so we don't have to code the details of every cognitive capability from scratch.

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