Re: Intelligence increase

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Thu Oct 05 2000 - 07:15:15 MDT

Eugene Leitl wrote:
> >> All of these things aren't coming from chimps, or rocks, or fish -
> >> they arecoming from humans. Thus the group of humans, taken as
> >> a whole, *is* autocatalytic! ...
>Of course it's a autocatalytic and a positive autofeedback loop, but
>the growth function would clearly saturate without a substrate
>change. However long and hard I study, I won't be able to instantly
>factor 2 kBit integers in my head, or even leap tall buildings in a
>single bound.
>Sure we will change substrate (or create successors in the new
>substrate and grow extinct) and the growth will continue, but it
>would require extremely clever timing to keep the growth function
>continuously smooth. ...
>Sure Moravec claims the linear log plot is being linear despite
>repeatedly changed substrate, but I think his metric is rigged. ...

Moravec doesn't need to rig his metric because this is a very common
phenomena in technological evolution! See Grubler's "Technology and
Global Change" or Sahal's "Patterns of Technological Innovation".
Similar things have happened in accelerators, train engines, and many
other areas. Overall price per performance tends to follow a
long term exponential trend, often when the particular technologies
used vary radically. On a finer time scale you can see S-curves
describing each technology, but the envelope of all technologies
tends to be exponential. This isn't a clever coincidence - it is a
natural result of the economic forces involved.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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