Re: What is Intelligence?

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 13 Oct 1996 13:47:57 -0400

Robin Hanson wrote:
> Dan Clemmensen writes:
> >The "SI Dream" scenario is a researcher
[Hacker colaborates with program to augment the progam, then the web,
then takes over the world, MUAHAHAHA...]
> I can't say this is impossible, but it really is very unrealistic.
> We have had half a century of experience with computers, and no
> similar takeoff has occured, or anything close. We have had feedback,
> lots of it, but growth rates have been relatively steady. I think you
> need a good story about why your scenario hasn't yet happened to make
> it at all plausible.
Computer power have been doubling every 18 months or so since
about 1950. Recently, the computing power accessible to my nominal
researcher/hacker has been increasing a lot faster than that as
machines have joined the internet. My assumption is
that at some point a critical mass will be reached. My scenario
has apparently not yet happened (as of last week) because the
critical mass has not yet been reached or because it's been
reached recently and the researcher hasn't gotten around to it
yet. (Sometimes I wonder about Bill Gates.... :-)

Computing power is not necessarily the only critical element.
It's possible that the final missing link will be a particular
piece of software such as an information-visualization package,
or a decision-support package, or a knowledge database. The point
is that the internet may then enter a super-critical condition
in which a single seed may precipitate a phase change.