At the end of the day there can’t exist an idea that nobody has thought of.
When multiple people seem to come up with an idea together the process looks like passing a bundle of nodes back and forth and adding incremental pieces. But the fundamental action of addition or subtraction happens in one person’s mind. Connections create new knowledge.
A heuretic isn’t ‘viable’ until it can exist separate from the mind it came from. Brains are wombs for heuretics.
The fact that new combinations need to come out of a single brain at the end of the day is why Naming things is Powerful - names allow you to hold more things in your brain at once.
Does it count as an idea that nobody has thought of if a computer helped? At the end of the day the assertion of the idea needs to come from the computer or the person. So in this case a combination of Using computers to simulate possible experiment targets is still primitive and Using robotics to carry out automated experiments does not challenge this assertion. It’s just the computer acting more and more like another mind.
Computers can act as minds without ‘general AI.’
I have a hunch that there is a set of parameters that solves the problem. I do an optimization problem and the computer finds the parameters. I could have asked a person who knew how to find those parameters to do the same thing. In this case, did the idea come from both of us? I don’t think so. The final idea came from the person who did the calculation. The idea of the idea came from me.
Another example is that Algorithmic knowledge generation has already found new drug targets from an existing database.
*This note was originally titled ‘New ideas need to come out of a single brain’ but there is no reason why a new idea couldn’t come out of a computer.