Re: AI over the Internet (was Re: making microsingularities)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun May 27 2001 - 15:20:01 MDT

James Rogers wrote:
> On 5/27/01 12:26 PM, "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> wrote:
> >
> > If it's even theoretically possible for a human being to write distributed
> > code, then you have to figure that a reasonably mature seed AI that
> > started out on a tight Beowulf network will be able to adapt verself
> > pretty easily for the Internet. Or FPGAs. Or nanocomputers. Or a
> > galactic abacus if that's what's available.
> This misses the point entirely. Who cares if an AI on a Beowulf cluster can
> adapt itself to the Internet if being implemented on the Internet would
> actually lead to a net *loss* of capability? Distributed systems don't
> scale infinitely or even asymptotically with the number of nodes; they
> eventually peak and then start to decrease in performance. Slow networks
> and complex problems just make the distributed system peak earlier, and AI
> on the Internet would peak very early indeed.
> In fact, one could argue that a seed AI is not likely spread rapidly over
> the Internet because a seed AI would know enough about distributed systems
> to be able to calculate if there was any net gain in doing so. But it
> doesn't take a seed AI to actually do those calculations.

For a bandwidth-slow system, you split off a lot of independent packages
and rendezvous with them a second, minute, or hour later. You don't get
to increase the size of your largest high-speed thought, but you can have
large but very slow thoughts, or a huge number of small and fast
thoughts. Distributing a human brain over the Internet would slow it
down. A seed AI distributing verself over the Internet would need to
change the character of vis cognition, but after that could take full
advantage of computing power.

I'm sure you can do a mathematical proof that the Internet is
dumbfoundingly slow if you want to maintain S=1, as in the human brain,
where the characteristic communication delay time from an element to any
other element is on the order of the a single tick of a computing
element's clock speed. But all that analysis proves is that cognition
distributed over the Internet has very high S and that local packets of
mind are isolated for millions, billions, or even trillions of ticks.
However, you can say nothing at all about how much of an inefficiency this
represents at the *cognitive* level.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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