A representation in the mind is useful only when it stands in for the actual object that it represents. So as an example, if a representation depicts a room and the placement of the objects in it, it is useful to reason about navigating the room.
If the representation is a spoken sentence, then it is useful to reason about the correctness of the structure (i.e. grammar) of the sentence.
If it is music or choreography then that representation is useful to understand the internal consistency of the structure. Therefore, representation is only relevant if it has utility for subsequent cognition.
Are the encodings of a representation important? Yes, only if it captures the relevant semantics of what it captures. Arabic numerals are more useful than Roman numerals.
Representations are useful when they are able to effectively represent the various other concepts that it is related to.

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More from @IntuitMachine

11 Jun
Existing models of neurons or even single cells are woefully inadequate to simulate what's going on in the brain. Standard models are based on toy models that are conveniently easy to simulate. Scientific research has a bias toward the tools it has at its disposal.
However, we also should not underestimate the complexity that simple components can generate. Conversely, we can't ignore the consistency of behavior that a collection of complex parts generate.
The truth about general intelligence like the brain lies somewhere in between. Humans are complex beings, yet there exists a consistency of how collections of humans behave. Civilization would not be possible if not for common behavior that leads to emergent behavior.
Read 15 tweets
10 Jun
Partially true, but if you want to develop a framework for understanding the latest new knowledge, you have to go back in time and read the thoughts of great thinkers. We make the false assumption that people in the past don't think as well as people today.
Too many people today are building up their knowledge using very shaky foundations. So it does not matter if you watch the latest youtube videos and blogs, to get a deeper understanding requires an investment in books.
Information overload is what limits one's acquisition of knowledge. We make the false assumption that we are also like computers that can take in an infinite amount of information. Where we value speed of acquisition over the slow process of knowledge osmosis.
Read 18 tweets
9 Jun
The average *daily* wage in El Salvador is $10. The average transaction fee on Bitcoin is $23. I guess only the wealthy Salvadorans need to concern themselves with Bitcoin.
However, the El Salvador government could issue notes and coins that are backed by BTC. This will allow for BTC to be transacted at zero cost at the physical layer (technically also at layer 2!).
BTC could be moved electronically using any of the wrapped BTC approaches employed on other blockchain networks.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
I think I figured out why a country might have its own local currency. It's the idea of having shared prosperity. That is, if a country makes progress, its currency becomes more valuable. But it also is a double-edged sword that includes the possibility of shared misery.
Today's global economy has local fiat currencies floating against each other. A strong economy leads to a strong currency that allows its citizens to pay less for imported goods.
Fiat currencies are intrinsically inflationary. Human needs can never be satisfied and we continue to demand more. Fiat currencies are printed to address ever increasing demand for goods.
Read 12 tweets
9 Jun
HODLing is already encouraged by US tax law. If you cash out on your crypto holdings then you deserve to be taxed.
So what should you do if you need income? Well, you could always stake your coins. Wait... Bitcoin has no staking?!
You can always hand custody of your Bitcoin to a centralized exchange and earn interest. Good luck with taking that risk!
Read 9 tweets
8 Jun
Indeed, one shouldn't expect that people think in the same way. nytimes.com/2021/06/08/sci…
It's analogous to some people being aware of verbalization in their heads and is completely absent in others. It is surprising that people are too often surprised that this is true.
So are verbalization and visualization just unnecessary representations in our minds? I suspect they are useful in some kinds of tasks and not others. These are mechanisms for your mind to validate one's thoughts.
Read 13 tweets

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