RE: Singularity?

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 06:33:43 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 1 Sep 1999, Eugene Leitl wrote:

> I think intelligence enhancement (i.e. beyond the trivial: as in
> augmented reality/wearable) will be very very hard.

You may want to rethink this. I think yesterday's news (though don't ask me whether it was this list or something else since I'm in "overload mode"), discussed a critical gene in transgenic mice that *did* enhance their intelligence.

Also, while I'll grant the difficulty of enhancing the current "internal hardware", I'm optimistic about the development of interfaces to "external hardware". The brain implant chips clearly demonstrate this is feasible. What is required is a significant bandwidth increase.

> Contrary to what Eliezer profusely professes, human-coded AI will
> never become relevant.

I would agree that a completely top-down approach looks questionable. However, a co-evolving human brain linked to an external "sub-program" generation system might be interesting. "No, not the 'libertarianism elimination algorithm' you silly computer, we need a 'dogmatic libertarianism elimination algorithm'".

Since the "Intelligence" part of this may be context specific, I suspect that we will not get recognizable intelligence unless humans are involved in the feedback loop. For example, I can imagine a context (say "crystalline environments") in which the ability to form random patterns would be viewed as "higher intelligence". We, however, would not recognize it as such. "Intelligence" if it relates to "ability to survive" is going to be highly context dependent.

> Uh, don't think so. The threshold for enhancing humans is terribly
> high: essentially you'll need to be able to do uploads. Anything else
> is comparatively insignificant.

I have to disagree. While "exponential" enhancement may require uploads, I think you can get quite a bit of human enhancement with nanobots and high bandwidth links. The question is this -- Which is harder, interfaces between the thought patterns of unique uploads and the external reality or the development of useful message passing protocols between your existing brain and external subroutines?

I'll invoke the catch-22 principle -- uploads don't exist, so people are unlikely to work on reality interfaces; reality interfaces don't exist so people won't upload. On the other hand "brains" do exist, "nanotechnology" will exist (for uploading or Intelligence Augmentation), so the path of "external" brain enhancement seems to be more probable than uploading followed by exponential enhancement.

> Maybe we need another Kaczynski...

Pointer/Ref please?

> I think one of the best projects for funding is brain vitrification
> which does not require fractal cooling channel plumbing in vivo.
Why? Unless you are remarkably young looking for your age (or you had a body substitute at the Extro4 conference :-)), brain vitrification is unlikely to benefit you as much as work on intelligence augmentation/interfaces. Unless you are taking a highly pessimistic/covering all bets approach.