Re: Keeping AI at bay (was: How to help create a singularity)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 04:59:31 MDT

On Tue, May 01, 2001 at 02:38:22PM +0200, wrote:
> There are reasons to suspect that AI is easier to do than an upload,
> and that it will emerge relatively explosively, maybe even in a
> catastrophic fashion -- the manmade Blight scenario.
> The reasoning goes as follows: the capabilities of hardware progress
> much faster than capabilities of orthodox (human) software design.
> This causes a growing underutilization of hardware, particularly
> exacerbated the impending restructuring of computer architectures
> towards fine-grain reconfigurable computers, and the impending advent of
> molecular electronics, and world-wide deployment of such hardware,
> well interconnected by photonically switched networking, while
> running buggy, bloated pieces of man-made code. A brain the size
> of a planet, potentially.
> The moment somebody creates a darwin-in machine method to utilize
> above infrastructure much, much better, and uses it to breed
> an AI core, and -- either deliberately, or accidentally releases
> the thing into the network, we've got a large problem on our
> hands.

You make a hidden assumption here: that the jump in software
quality/capability/whatever is very sudden and not gradual. Is there any
reason to believe that is true?

I agree with your sketch of the hardware/software gap, but it is not
clear to me that improvements in software must always be less than
improvements in hardware until the fateful quantum leap. Right now it is
cheaper to throw more hardware on slow algorithms and operating systems
than to improve them, but that might not always hold. For example, if we
assume nanotech is delayed a bit we will run into a period where Moore's
law temporarily slacks off, and a big economic incentive to utilize the
hardware better appears. Similarly, once we have full nanotech it is
hard to do any better other than go for more parallelization, which
anyway requires quite a bit of paradigm shifting in programming.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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