Re: poly: The singleton hypothesis

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Tue May 05 1998 - 16:23:27 PDT

 Robin Hanson writes:

> Nick B. writes:
> >> What if a war with aliens were like a game of Go, where subtle strategy
> >> choices could make a big difference? Does analysis of a game like Go also
> >> reach limits, where more analysis won't give more ability?
> >
> >I think the most computationally demanding battle decisions would be
> >ones one a small scale. Then, even if it is not feasible to come up
> >with an optimal strategy, what would determine the outcome at a
> >particular battle scene might not be the general level of
> >technological development (as long as it's above a certain very high
> >level) but rather how much computing power the combatants have
> >available at the scene.
> The level of technological development might matter if winning a battle
> was aided not just by lots of computer hardware available locally, but
> also by a long history of trying to win similar battles. If practice and
> experience allowed one to gain useful knowledge about how to win such
> games, the the level of such experience could constitute a technological
> level. Will this sort of technology might asymptote as well?

Hmm... Difficult to tell. One would expect there to be diminishing
returns in research into "opening libraries" and "position evaluation
algorithms" etc. just as in almost every other field. If the
difference in terms of effectiveness of micro-strategy between very
much practice and very, very much practice is slight, will it still
make a difference in the power balance between two powers? --Only if
there will be many tight battles. So the question is: are the
conditions for space fights between advanced nanopower such that
there are likely to be many tight battles?

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics
Received on Tue May 5 22:33:23 1998

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