Re: Genetic transition to posthumanism

Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 09:07:12 MDT

In a message dated 5/1/01 2:52:03 AM, writes:
>> Until somebody demonstrates machine-phase is even *possible*

>Have you missed the jack-in-the-box electrostatic
>linear actuators, which are made from concentric buckys and
>use van der Waals forces as springs to pull back what you
>protracted with a potential?

No, I hadn't heard of buckysprings. I think it indicates how far we are
that a spring is cutting-edge.

>The question is, is the
>repertoire of mechanosynthetic reactions sufficiently rich for a
>structure to be able to deposit a copy of the structure itself?
>Given how much we found poking around so little, the answer seems
>to be a tentative yes.

I think that's very premature, given that we can do *neither* universal,
nor even broad, mechanosynthesis *and* that all mechanosynthesis
requires decidedly macro machinery.

>But do we need machine-phase self-rep capable nanotechnology? Sure,
>it would be nifty. But computronium built with self-assembling
>molecular electronics is accessible with classical chemical and
>biological means already.

We do need mpsrn for the nanoSanta which will solve all our problems.
Nifty new computers would be nifty new computers but they won't
build houses for everybody on earth.

>[discussion of various computer techniques snipped]
>None of this will suffice to create naturally intelligent machines,
>who're smart enough to be able to compete with us.

We have created computers which can do some very limited parts
of human thoughts, such as voice recognition. For this reason,
given Moore's law, I think it's *possible* that human-equivalent
AI could be created in 20 years or so. I wouldn't bet the bank on
it though. I wouldn't bet the bank *against* it either.
This differs from proximate nanotech or significantly mentally
enhanced people, which I would bet the bank against.

>>It [an AI singularity] will be like the whole world
>> is a successful startup company for a few years to a few decades;
>> then it will be over.

>Ha! MorePolice, arrest this man. He's acting defaetist in public,
>his extropian license needs to be revoked.

I know you're joking, but there's nothing defeatist in saying progress
will go on for some time to come, that we personally won't be
obsolete in the next few years, or that nanaSanta's not on our
doorstep. That's my concept of practical optimism; there are a
lot of great things under development; things can improve over the
next 20 years and more after that. It's counterproductive, however,
to *expect* very improbable miracles; it'll throw off your discount
rate. You'll end up doing suboptimal stuff.
If we had machine-phase nanosynthesis or computers that could
write good papers I'd be singing a different tune. Someday we
probably will. But today we don't.

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