Re: Geniebusters

Lyle Burkhead (
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 19:52:32 -0700

(continued from my previous post)

I wrote,

> How complex would this simulation be?
> What would it be comparable to?

The point being that whatever the answer is, the system itself will be at least as complex as the simulation.

Billy Brown wrote,

> With these points in mind, the size of the system
> needed to make "anything" collapses from a large nation
> to a rather small one, or perhaps a large city.

I don't necessarily disagree with this. In fact I would go further: if "anything" is construed to mean "anything in a pre-defined set of products of moderate size," then it wouldn't even require a city. It could be a completely automated system, like a programmable machine tool. When I say the box is a society, I am referring to the box that can make literally anything.

Instead of trying to discuss everything at once, we need to do this step by step. The first part of Geniebusters (through section 7) is concerned with the question: is there or is there not going to be an Assembler Breakthrough? The second part (through section 14) introduces some new topics, but it too is ultimately concerned with the same question (see the last paragraph at the end of #14). Let's settle that question first, before getting into other questions. Let's take "anything" in the sense required for the Assembler Breakthrough.

So far, no one has attempted to defend the Assembler Breakthrough as described in Engines. Even my most hostile critics say that the Breakthrough with a capital B isn't going to happen (and they are hostile, apparently, because they have just glanced at the site, and they think I am attacking nanotechnology in general, or technology in general, or AI in general).