Re: The Spike, nanotech, and a future scenario

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Mon, 06 Oct 1997 21:25:19 -0500 wrote:
> Moore himself is quite upfront that it's an empirical observation and has
> varied over the time period. In Wired recently he said that the law will
> probably hold for another 10-12 years but doubts that it will hold beyond
> that. Beyond that, we will have to move to a radically different system than
> wiring and transistors photographically etched on silicon. There's no
> particular reason that this other technology (which might not exist then)
> will have the same emergent phenomena as current chip technology.

Very true. Quantum computation, for example, should have doubling qubits
instead of doubling transistors. So after 10-12 years, the size of the RSA
key crackable by a computer will double every two years (or something like
that). Nanotech should make a huge leap, followed by a few more huge leaps,
and finally bottom out at something like a quadrillion times current speed.
Combine the two and you have enough computing power to do, well, pretty much
anything you damn well feel like. You could simulate a centillion humans on a
chip the size of a dust speck, and do a thousand aeons of subjective time
every second.

So at this point, I don't care in the slightest what kind of S curve these
technologies follow or even if they do follow an S curve, because this is
enough computing power to warp the Universe. We are talking *way* beyond
what's necessary for Singularity. Just simulate random object code until you
get a Power.

And quantum nanotech isn't even the fastest chip we can build, using the
modern laws of physics. I can think of two different ways, using current
technology, to build chips that operate at infinite speeds - no infinite
temperatures, no baby Universes. The more speculative method wouldn't even
cost more than a couple of megabucks, since you wouldn't need the space probe
and the particle accelerator.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.