The Technocracy

Who will win the Battle for your Desktop?

Twelve Virtues of Rationality



© Stefan Heinemann on

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, a research fellow for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, wrote poetically about the Twelve Virtues of Rationality:
  • Curiosity: A burning itch to know is higher than a solemn vow to pursue truth.
  • Relinquishment: P. C. Hodgell said: “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.”
  • Lightness: Let the winds of evidence blow you about as though you are a leaf, with no direction of your own.
  • Evenness: Do not seek to argue for one side or another, for if you knew your destination, you would already be there.
  • Argument: Avoiding argument is allowing yourself to fail.
  • Empiricism: The roots of knowledge are in observation and its fruit is prediction.
  • Simplicity: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” 
  • Humility: To be humble is to take specific actions in anticipation of your own errors.
  • Perfectionism: The more errors you correct in yourself, the more you notice.
  • Precision: The narrowest statements slice deepest, the cutting edge of the blade.
  • Scholarship: Study many sciences and absorb their power as your own.
The twelfth (or first, as he says) goes unnamed: “Every step of your reasoning must cut through to the correct answer in the same movement.”



April 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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