Re: NANO: Amazing, isn't it?

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 17:44:51 -0600

[I said:]
> > We need *one* QC Cray to calculate protein foldings or evolutionary
> > computation, and then we're home free. Ubiquitous QC seems unlikely,
> > not on grounds of expense, but on the grounds that a single KQb
> > (kiloqubit) will probably be enough to revolutionize the world beyond
> > where "ubiquitous" has any meaning.
[Saith Anders Sandburg:]
> LOL! I'm going to remember that you said this, Eliezer! This sounds
> exactly like the classic "The world market for computers will be around
> eight of them".

Well, I didn't mean it that way: I meant one KQb could be substantially
beyond the Singularity threshold, after which all conscious entities
might merge and "tools" no longer perceived as discrete objects, in
which case "ubiquitous" might not make any sense.

[Anders continues:]
> And besides, in a posthuman world QC might be the
> matrix of choice, every little godling runs on them.

Could be... even post-Singularity, the logic seems as strong as ever:
Why waste the uncounted counterfactual branches of reality when they
could be performing useful work? Assuming we can't (or don't want to)
rewrite the laws of physics, continued QC does seem very probable.

> I seriously doubt just one KQb will revolutionize the world; once you
> start doing useful things with them (folding proteins, cracking PGP,
> finding messages in Pi etc.)

Finding messages in Pi? Why would QC help? Last time I checked the
most efficient way of finding pi was a continuing approximation; an
equation which, each time you ran the current approximation through,
added another 14 digits of precision. (It was revolutionary because
previously, you needed to add up a lot of fractions and decide the
precision in advance.) It seems like an entirely linear computation.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.