Thank you Alex! Just sent you a PM :)
Oh cool, I’m happy you think it makes sense!I mean, could the question even be as simple as “What is an optimiser?”, or “what is an optimising agent?”?With maybe the answer being maybe something roughly to do with 1. being able to give a particular cartesian frame over possible world histories, such that there exists an agent ‘strategy’ (‘way that the agent can be’) a∈A such that for some ‘large’ subset of possible environments B⊆E, and some target set of possible worlds S⊆W we have a⋅b∈S for all b∈B
and 2. that the agent ‘strategy’/‘way of being’ a is in fact ‘chosen’ by the agent?(1) is just a weaker version of the ‘ensurable’ concept in Cartesian frames, where the property only has to hold for a subset of E rather than all of it. I think B would correspond to both ‘the basin of attraction’ and ‘pertubations’, as a set of ways the environment can ‘be’ (Thinking of A and E as sets of possible sort of ‘strategies’ for agent and environment respectively across time). (Though I guess B is a bit different to Basin of attraction+perturbations because the Ground of Optimization notion of ‘basin of attraction’ includes the whole system, not just the ‘environment’ part, and likewise perturbations can be to the agent as well… I feel like I’m a bit confused here.) S would correspond to the target configuration set (or actually, the set of world histories in which the world ‘evolves’ towards a configuration in the target configuration set).Something along those lines maybe? I’m sure you could incorporate the time aspect better by using some of the ideas from the ‘Time in Cartesian Frames’ post, which I haven’t done here.
Side question: After I read some of the Cartesian Frames sequence, I wondered if something cool could come out of combining its ideas with your ideas from your Ground of Optimisation post. Because: Ground of Optimisation 1. formalises optimisation but 2. doesn’t split the system into agent and environment, whereas Cartesian Frames 1. gives a way of ‘imposing’ an agent-environment frame on a system (without pretending that frame is a ‘top level’ ‘fundamental’ property of the system) , but 2. doesn’t really deal with optimisation. So I’ve wondered if there might be something fruitful in trying to combine them in some way, but am not sure if this would actually make sense/be useful (I’m not a researcher!), what do you think?
I assume you’ve read the Cartesian Frame sequence? What do you think about that as an alternative to the traditional agent model?