Re: Singularity?

mjg223 (
Wed, 1 Sep 1999 15:30:56 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 1 Sep 1999, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> Bryan Moss wrote:
> >
> > No potential. The difference between where we are now in software and where
> > we need to be to make AI happen is equivalent to the difference between
> > having classical and quantum computers on our desktops.
> The gaps are the same size, yes. Quantum computers 2015 CRNS, on the
> desktop 2020 CRNS, first transhuman AIs 2020 CRNS. But there's a very
> key difference, which is that to *accelerate* AI all you need is a
> desktop computer, a compiler, and an excellent mind. To accelerate
> quantum computing you need a big expensive laboratory and a slightly
> less excellent mind. (No offense, it's just that building a mind is
> tougher than *anything*.)

I don't agree with this. We understand, in principle, how quantum processes could be harnessed to do computational work. Actually building one is an engineering problem. (Not to minimize the size of that problem - the difficulty of the engineering problem is why Leonardo DaVinci didn't go into business selling helicopters.)

In contrast, we don't know how to make AI happen. Radically increased computer speed is a necessary but insufficient condition. (Unless you want to posit computers fast enough to evolve simulated intelligences or model the brain a cell at a time.) The brain is not just a big general purpose processor, there's a lot of software and specialized hardware that we don't understand. Where does your 2020 figure come from? (I'm afraid I don't know how to expand the 'CRNS' qualifier.)