Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Apparent Problem With Self Indication Assumption Arguments

At the always interesting Meteuphoric, Katja Grace says:

What the Self Sampling Assumption (SSA), an alternative principle to SIA, says depends on the reference class. If the reference class includes AIs, then we should strongly not anticipate such an AI explosion. If it does not, then we strongly should (by the doomsday argument). These are both basically due to the Doomsday Argument.

The Self Indication Assumption (SIA) is a compelling topic because it's a tool we can use to think about questions like the Fermi Paradox, not to mention our own future.

As a general rule (read: admittedly sloppy heuristic) - when an outcome of a chain of reasoning depends strongly on how we categorize the involved entities, that reasoning is suspect. This would seem to be a general problem for all SIA/SSA reasoning, although since Katja just finished her degree on exactly this topic, I would refer you to her if you want counterarguments to this suspicion.


Katja Grace said...

Your heuristic sounds about right to me. I agree SSA is unlikely to be a correct form of reasoning, for roughly this reason (among others).

However SIA doesn't depend on categorization of entities, or rather there is only one legitimate categorization for them. Either the information you have is true of them or it is not.

Michael Caton said...

Thanks for commenting! I think I must not fully understand the distinctions between SSA and SIA so I'll keep reading your posts.