i used to think life was a tragedy—now i know that its a comedy

this is one way to think about intelligence

think about how accurate your model of the outside world is (inside your head)

on one extreme you have a model that has zero or one (facts) about the outside world inside your head

on the other extreme you have a model that has almost every fact about the outside world inside your head

on the first extreme you have a very small animal with a very small brain (containing maybe one fact about the world)

on the second extreme you have a larger animal with a very large brain (that represents the outside world with high fidelity)

we consider the second extreme smart—the first extreme dumb

this is a kind of smart that is good for playing trivia games—the winner of trivia will have the biggest (most accurate) model of the outside world within them

trivia poses random questions about the outside world—the player with the best model of the outside world—wins

so what happens when creatures brains get really high-fi in the way they represent the world ??

imagine a creature so big that its brain was almost half the size of the universe—such that its representation of the (rest of the) world was as accurate as it could be ??

it would know (within) so much about what was out there that it would begin to contain whats out there

it would begin to model itself—to understand itself and predict what itself would do

is there a theoretical limit to how big a brain can be ??

what would a very big brain do ?? (try to predict itself ??)

do not advanced societies have fewer and fewer individuals—as individuals in these societies contain (mostly) copied logic and personality from everyone else ??

is not that a feature of communication ?? the more we communicate (and the more we communicate in high-fi) the more we know about each others minds—and the more what is in my mind isnt what i developed or experienced myself but what i experienced through you ??

so what happens as brains have more and more complete models of the universe and everyone else inside it ??

doesnt each of our knowledge get spread around more and more—such that when an (individual) dies—only their body dies—their knowledge is (more or less) contained within other beings

such that (▵dirt) is no longer the name for a squishy being but becomes the name for a set of ideas (everything ive written and shared)

at the small end there are creatures who know a little—communicate little—and are solidly called individuals

but as you approach the large end—you have creatures who externalize their knowledge more—who internalize others knowledge—and who therefore are less individual than their smaller friends

at the large end we all share the punchline to every joke—and more than one of us knows physics (so no individual who knows physics is needed for the societal organization to know physics)

at this large end there are fewer individuals—and the thoughts of a few are more deliberately copied around into almost everyone else

this is not to say that at the large end of brains there is no individuality—of course not—at the large end there are more individuals (and more individuality) than we have now—its just that at the small end a greater % of the population are bona fide individuals (because they have to be)—whereas at the large end a smaller % of the population are genuinely original creative people (because they can be)

(at the small end) there is no modeling inside the individual—(at the large end) there is extensive modeling inside each individual of the rest of the world

i already showed that beings with more modeling do better at trivia

and ive shown that beings with hi-fi communication and modeling tend to contain hoards—multitudes within an individual body

so an individual at the large end is not like an individual at the small end

an individual at the large end tends to contain lots of knowledge (mostly developed by other individuals at other points in time)

while an individual closer to the small end tends to contain more of (its own) knowledge (knowledge never shared)

a small mind thinks of itself i am an individual—and it thinks the individual is of great import

a large mind knows there is little special about itself and gives more import to society as a whole

a small mind is more getting to the table

a large mind is more enjoying the meal

there is lots (for an individual) to tell as the individual joins the group

there is less (for an individual who has joined the group) to tell the group

what i think this means for intelligence (in this sense of meaning you have a big accurate model of the outside world inside of you)


the more accurate the world (the bigger the brain and the more high-fidelity communication taking place between you and the rest of the world)

(the more intelligent you are)

the less of an individual you are

and the more you are

the individual

the whole of everything

that ever was

the more you are all the memories capturable from every animal who ever lived

maybe youre not exactly that—but youre as close to that as could ever be

an animal who remembered not just its own memories

but some memories from a zillion other creatures

and this animal would be incredibly smart

but would not be like an individual at all

it would be a conglomeration of ideas and culture from a zillion years and a zillion civilizations

in the same way that you and i are a conglomeration of ideas and culture from a thousand years and a hundred civilizations

but (as you looked at more intelligent creatures) you would see us

communicate with each other more thoroughly

model each other more completely

increasingly act compassionately

we would be less and less alone

and less of an individual

than anything with a smaller mind


One response to “intelligence means having the (biggest) most accurate model of the outside world (inside us)”

  1. ▵dirt Avatar

    is this like (red and blue) where one is the everything to the other and the other is the everything to the one ?? that if this (universe experiment) is run—what it would create would be two parts—each composing the everything to the other ?? idk

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