Subject: Re: All instances From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 13:59:52 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Huaiyuan <email@example.com> > You see: "figuring out the least resource-intensive way of doing thing" > can be seen as a (meta) problem that arises from one's attempt to solve > the original problem. But solving this meta problem can give rise to > meta meta problem, and so on (hence the danger of infinite regression). > So, how much computation resources should you spend in solving the meta > problem instead of the problem itself, to minimize the overall resources > spent? Now this is a much more intereting meaning to your article that I assumed. Excuse me for being tired of intellectually lazy people, and thanks for the intelligent response. If I have but one character flaw, it is that I tend to ignore the problem and go for the meta-problem. However, the meta-problem does not become the problem for another round of that tendency, but I understand well the problem you raise. In my view, what we do here and now is interesting only insofar as it supports what we can do in the future, and what we did in the past is interesting mostly in what it allows us to do now and in the future. Since we are individually going to live for much longer than any of us can reasonably plan and collectively much longer than any of us can reasonably grasp, survival is meaningless without a long-term future view with an eye to continuity and planability from the past. ("Live in the moment" is an insult to human intelligence and human survival.") With that as background, it should be obvious that I do not consider there to be an upper limit on the amount of resources that should be consumed on meta-problems as long as day-to-day survival is achieved and that is largely an effect of the momentum of past planning and use of resources. The only danger I see, then, is that solving a problem necessarily breaks with the continuity of the past in ways that reduce our planability in the present and the short-term future. (Long-term planning takes such problem-solving into account.) I see absolutely no other danger in any spending on meta-problems. Now, since we have essentially infinite time and infinite resources available to the human race (or whatever succeeds us), the problem is not whether to solve a problem or meta-problem, but in what order. This must of necessity be a global optimization, not a local one, so the problem is how to organize society to that the two coincide and mesh well with the requirement for individual and personal fulfillment, risk-taking, and achievement. In other words, I consider the problem of spending resources on the problem at hand or at the meta-problem a question of intelligence and wisdom of leadership and resource management, both monetary and human. If you do not plan ahead, spent everything on the problem. If you intend to be able to plan ahead after your current plans are toppled by changes in your environment, spend all you can spare on the meta-problem. My cynical, misanthropic, even pessimistic view of most things "human" derive from the sorry fact that those who are most motivated to search for positions of leadership are usually so astonishingly unintelligent when it comes to serving any other need than their mental illness: the hunger for power over people. Any display of power-hunger should be an immediate cause for incarceration and treatment in a truly humane society, but this, sadly, does not reflect how the human race reached its current position. Slave labor, brute force, physical threats, etc, were proper and necessary in times when society had very little or nothing to offer the individual member thereof. Yet amazingly, some people still live as if society were a negative force in their lives, as if the infrastructure and general agreement on a number of massively important aspects of human life were good for nothing, such as the morons in Gothenburg recently, who flew there on jets, drove in safe cars on good roads, crossed borders and jurisdictions peacefully and reaped the benefits of global economies only to destroy a few million dollars' worth of somebody else's property in order to protest against their future ability to similarly travel and express their views in the global media. Clearly, these are people who have zero understanding of the _effects_ of organizing societies well, and thus have no possible constructivity to their activity at all, other than accidentally increasing the gross national product. > (And how much time should you spend to consider the above question? :) Infinite, as metareasoning is a process, not a problem with a solution. > (See, e.g., http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/cs?q=metareasoning). Thanks for the pointer. #:Erik -- Travel is a meat thing.