Re: Super intelligences

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 06 Aug 1998 09:59:58 -0700

Hal F. writes:
>>... (1) Through gradual augmentation of their biological
>>brains, ... (2) Through mind uploading.
>There is no natural place to draw a line between these two, however.
>A biological body augmented with nanotech may use materials we don't
>normally associate with biology. There is a continuum between ordinary
>biological bodies and things like cyborgs and robots. ... Trying to
>categorize their means as biological vs technological is not going to
>be useful in the long run.

It seems to me that there is at least one striking difference worth naming, between systems which have been designed and understood from the ground up, and evolved systems which we have tweaked and adapted to our purposes. Cars vs. Cows.

While larger systems may contain subsystems of both types, I expect limitations on the granularity of integration, exactly because our limited understanding of evolved systems limits our flexibility in interfacing them with other systems. Maybe all we really want out of cows are certain chemical processes in their stomaches, but cow systems are hard to disentangle, so we'll leave them as units for some time to come.

I recall Drexler having written about this issue regarding nanotech.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627