Is an SI possible with todays hardware?

Jeff Davis (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 23:18:19 -0800

Friends, Extropians, Fellow seekers,

Would it be possible to construct a self-enhancing AI with today's hardware?

I'm not asking if the software is available. Nor the electrical power. Nor the money. Nor whether you could cool it to prevent overheating. Rather I'm thinking more about whether memory densities and processor densities and speeds could be assembled in sufficient quantities in a small enough space so that inter-element communication speed wouldn't bottleneck the whole affair.

To narrow the question down some, consider the following:

A disk-shaped assembly, with coolant flow through the faces of the disk. Hardware density 50 percent, ie. half hardware half coolant passages. Hardware in quantities to support a seed AI plus additional to support an SI according to the following human-equivalent definition: a thousand-fold increase in synaptic quantities, a thousand-fold increase in synaptic firing rates, with memeory appropriate to support this capability level.

Could it be built? And if so, would the disk be ten meters thick by a hundred across? A hundred meters by a thousand? Two hundred by five thousand?

	By all means feel free to tweak the specs.  But could it be built?
			Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles