Re: What is Intelligence?

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 9 Oct 96 12:20:01 PDT

Hal Finney writes:
>I had missed the first part, so I'm not sure whether the computers
>help by allowing uploading and/or AI's, with possibly million-fold
>speedups of thought compared to human brains? Or perhaps the change
>is less dramatic, things like hyperlinks and search engines to
>quickly find and disseminate research results, improved modelling
>engines to decrease research costs, better CAD/CAM facilities to
>speed up design cycles, etc.

I'm not sure about which claim is being made either.

>could general economic growth rates move up to the rate of growth of
>computer performance, in case the economy somehow became tied much
>more closely to computers? ... this would in itself be utterly
>revolutionary in its impact. It's difficult to even conceive what
>life would be like in a world in which we would all be twice as rich,
>in real terms, every couple of years. Even a decade of this kind of
>growth would completely transform the world, like centuries of
>progress today. So it would be interesting to hear opinions on this

Unfortunately, when there are several kinds of costs, growth rates
tend to be determined by the slowest growth rate among the different
costs. The amazing thing about historical growth rates is that we
have been able reduce pretty much *all* kinds of costs at a similar
rate. So for computer growth rates to determine economic growth
rates, computers would have to be the main costs behind pretty much
everything. Possible in theory, but unlikely before uploads or AIs,

Robin D. Hanson