RE: Paths to Uploading

Billy Brown (
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 09:29:29 -0600

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Billy Brown wrote:
> > If non-sentient seed AIs are relatively easy to make, Eliezer's program
> > one like it) becomes an SI between 2010 and 2030. In this case we'd
> > make sure it grows up sane, because its going to decide all of our
> Why "it"? Wouldn't it be "they" - I hardly expect the first SI to
> emerge in a single basement lab in Xiang or so, rather there will be
> AIs turning into SIs around the world at research institutions,
> corporate and government projects, distributed efforts on the net
> ("fear the cow and penguin"? :-) and in other places. The idea of a
> singular godlike SI among ants is unlikely unless the advancement
> curve becomes extremely steep beyond a certain point (which also
> implies that a second, third and so on SI aren't that hard to
> make...); more likely we will be seeing a normal distribution whose
> upper tail grows without a bound.

I say 'it', because I expect human-equivalent hardware to arrive several years before human-equivalent AI. That means the first self-enhancing AI that doesn't bottleneck will have the hardware to go from transhuman to SI in a matter of days, at most. At that point humans are far to slow to interfere with it - it can invent general-purpose assemblers, use someone's automated lab equipment to build one, and migrate itself to rapid infrastructure in a matter of hours. A few hours after that we've got a full-grown Power on our hands.

> Wearables and information services will be starting this process
> within a decade, I'm fairly sure. Add agile manufacturing, and you can
> get nanotech-like surprises in production even before nanotech
> (imagine if the effects of microfactories spreading and cutting out
> the middleman between sales and raw materials, as well as
> transportation: micro outlet stores in every mall).

Don't forget the biotech revolution. Exponential advance gives us a revolution in pharmacology in the coming decade, and cyberpunk-style body modification in the decade after that. The economic effect is not as pronounced, but the social effects would be huge.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I