And The Principle Of Reinvestment Of Methods
If a system can be quantified, then we would be able to measure
it. Intelligence is a system.
Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we all employ thinking
strategies. Some are more powerful than others. Some will show a
quantifiable improvement in less time than others. And some will
actually induce atrophy (addiction to Aaron Spelling TV shows comes
Whatever strategy we use, the law of diminishing returns will eventually
take effect. For example, if we use a creativity technique and it
doubles our output for every week we practice it, eventually the
improvements will decrease and stop. Any one strategy alone cannot
continue to increase output ad infinitum.
Once the diminishing begins, the only way to continue increasing
output is to employ a new strategy. The strategy can be one that
moves toward sensory perception (thus having high transferability),
it can be one that is similar is scope to the previous strategy,
or it can be one that is more focused in application (having lower
transferability but more tangible implications).
The Law of Singularity states that if the system that we are working
on improving actually contributes to further improvements of itself,
then the advancements will not only sustain its own improvements,
but it will accelerate-eventually reaching a point where the system
improves itself on its own.
Ugh, what did I just say? Let's try a common example.
We double computing speed every two years of work. Work does not
necessarily mean human work. As computing power increases, computers
contribute more and more to their own advancement.
Two years after computers reach human equivalence, it takes only
one year of real time to do two subjective years of work. One year
later, it takes six months to double the amount of computing power.
And so on.
Six months - three months - 1.5 months ... Singularity. Portable
supercomputers on sale-two for a dollar with coupon!
This is only theory, of course. And it certainly is not without
its flaws. Scientists love simple systems and linearly extrapolating
numbers. But let's consider the implications.
Let's take intelligence. If I employ a method of improving intelligence
(image steaming, for example) and my measurement doubles in 10 years,
then I will be twice as smart (of course, this is contingent on
how accurate my measurements are). If I employ the method again,
will I double my intelligence in another 10 years?
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are two answers to that question - no and no.
First of all, the law of diminishing returns will tell you that
image streaming alone (however powerful and transferable a method)
will run out of gas. Thus, it may take 15, 20, even 40 years to
double your intelligence again.
On the other hand, the Law of Singularity states that since intelligence
itself contributes to its own improvement (a self-reinforcing system),
then it should take LESS than 10 years to double your intelligence
So where the hell am I going with this?
In order for your gains to accelerate and keep doing so, you must
practice the principle of reinvestment of methods. In other words,
you must consciously use your gains to improve how you seek further
gains. Thus, image streaming must evolve into borrowed genius, alternate
earth, advanced photoreading, etc.
There's another problem with intelligence. Intelligence is an internal
system. You cannot cheat - you can't stand on someone else's shoulders
like you can in an external systems like science and technology.
You cannot spend four years in school and enter the game decades
ahead of your predecessors like you can in most sciences.
Yes, perhaps as time rolls on the starting methods will improve,
but only incrementally. Even other people's advanced methods will
work up to a certain point. But wherever you start, the real gains
occur from self-reinvestment.
Why? Eventually you will notice that other people's advanced methods
aren't much use to you because the system itself can't be leveraged
past a certain point. Internal systems are built upon different
foundations. Even if we use the same methods and techniques, we
won't use them in exactly the same way. The differences will become
pronounced as we progress through the system. We will need to learn
how to reinvest our gains on our own.
In an earlier chapter, I pointed out that while leverage is necessary
to gain knowledge and perspective, nothing can replace direct experience.
The sharing of knowledge and methods is fundamentally flawed because
there are always little things that aren't picked up through higher
order perceptions like knowledge. I could write a book thicker than
the bible trying to articulate every nuance of image streaming,
but the law of diminishing returns will rear its ugly head there
too. Eventually, only direct experience will teach you more. Then
perhaps a direct dialog with other image streamers would prove considerably
valuable and the articulation would again reap rewards, but only
AFTER AND DURING actual direct experience.
In other words, if I told you that I have a technique to memorize
symphonies after one listen, it won't do you any good. You won't
be able to just skip the years of image streaming, musical studies
and everything else. And even if you could, there's no telling that
my method will gel with your thought processes.
Lastly, let me mention another glaring flaw in the Law of Singularity.
In order for it to work, the approach must be global AND the approach
to reinvesting methods must be global.
What do I mean? We can't just tackle one skill like adding large
numbers and take it to its end. Eventually, you must improve complementary
and even seemingly unassociated skill sets in order to make further
improvement in the first one.
This flaw also has tremendous implications for computing power and
other anticipated singularities, but this isn't the time or the
And if that doesn't confuse you enough, there will also be a time
where the approach to the principle of reinvestment itself must
That's it, pass the Tylenol
©1997 Matthew Turco