Re: the ways of child prodigies

From: Michael Wilson (
Date: Tue Nov 08 2005 - 20:10:25 MST

Michael Vassar wrote:
>> SIAI needs persons with expertise in computers and cognitive studies
>> (roughly). Persons with expertise in pure maths or physics could be
>> useful, but not particularly.
> SIAI needs geniuses in pure logic and applied rationality. The computer
> and cog-sci stuff are only needed at the ordinary "expert" level,
> though more is better.

I would say that the SIAI needs both, ideally in the same person, but as
that's not terribly realistic a mix of expertise in these areas would be

Prodigies in maths tend to be vulnerable to an acute form of an affliction
that many great mathematicians suffer from, which is to consider every
other piece of science and engineering merely applied maths and thus
necessarily trivial compared to what they're doing. This manifests as a
belief that since they are good at manipulating some piece of maths,
they must also be experts in any field that relies on that kind of maths
(in practice or in their own minds). Extreme focused expertise in
abstracting away implementation detail can be counterproductive when it
comes to interacting with the real world.

 * Michael Wilson

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