Thursday, April 9, 2009

In favor of self-modelling

Occasionally people critique a field for becoming too aware of itself, but I'm currently fairly optimistic about the prospects for self-modelling, especially in realms of personal application, for reasons I'll explain shortly.

I've been observing a lot of self-reference recently, for example:

1. The less wrong community, with various posts pro and con about whether the stated goal of pursuing "extreme" rationality is going to actually help people achieve their goals.

2. Douglas Hofstadter's speculative linking of strange loops with consciousness. While we're on the subject, I currently think strange loops are likely relevant to consciousness in the sense of how neural networks come to be able to model themselves free of paradox, but I don't think this necessarily says much about the qualia issues. These are two separate problems, both of which we call consciousness.

3. The issues of model theory, which I've began to try to compress here.

Here's why I think self-modelling will help to achieve one's goals:

1. Easier ability to implement wuffie-like concepts. The ability to look upon oneself from the outside, should make it clearer and easier to apply optimization techniques to one's life and goals....attempting personal modification seems to have much more potential the more one has a sense for what one is.

2. Keeping track of multiple levels of abstraction is intrinsically difficult. This acts as a signalling mechanism for status enhancement. We can't deny the relevance of status in the world we currently live in.

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