Re: Kurzweil's new Singularity/AI page

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 23:48:13 MST

J. R. posted a copy of:

I've had on my list the task of writing an extended critique
of this but haven't gotten to it yet.

I'll simply start with this:

> So for now, we can say that ultra high levels of intelligence will expand
> outward at the speed of light, but recognize that this may not be the
> actual limit of the speed of expansion, or even if the limit is the speed
> of light that this limit may not restrict reaching other locations
> quickly.

Absolutely wrong. I've done the calculation on this and I've
been forced to admit that Robert Freitas seems correct in his
opinion that you send probes. Why? Because "ultra high levels of
intelligence" requires *ultra-large* amounts of information.
In the solar system alone, you get 10^40+ bits. There is
no way you can "transmit" 10^40 bits using even gamma ray lasers
in the age of the universe. The further away you go from your
information source, the greater it costs you to retain access
to your "memory" (because you lose the photons as they spread
in space due to the inverse square law). As you move further
and further away your energy limits means you become "less"

The only way you send information is by encoding it in matter
and send the matter. You can't send matter at the "speed-of-light"
because its infinitely expensive to send it at that velocity.
You also can't send matter at a speed even close to the speed
of light because as Spike has pointed out hitting the
interstellar hydrogen ablates your data "package" so by the time
it gets to the destination there isn't any information left.

The rest of the discussion just gets worse...

This points out that Kurzweil hasn't been reading our archives
or doing proper net searches (otherwise he certainly would have
run accross the discussions about the Matrioshka Brains). The
part that doesn't make any sense is that he was at the start
of my discussion at the Spring '99 Foresight SA meeting where
I discussed the fundamental limits on intelligence. So he
*should* be aware of the concepts and not be going off into
flights of fantasy regarding worm-hole travel (No MAGIC PHYSICS!).

As I believe I've pointed out several times in various forums,
advanced civilizations don't want to expand their size scales
they want to shrink them. Moravec's muon-onium or Ander's
Neutronium are the way to go (if they can be done without
magic physics).


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