intelligence increase

Lyle Burkhead (
Sat, 10 Aug 1996 01:07:06 -0500 (EST)

The following is a letter I wrote to Omni Magazine. It was printed in
the magazine (in garbled form) in 1979.


In the January interview, I. J. Good proposes that we create a computer
more intelligent than a man, which would then be programmed to
design a still more intelligent computer, and so on.

A computer's intelligence is determined primarily by its software.
Producing a more intelligent computer means devising new languages
and programs. The nature of the hardware is not critical, although
a computer with human intelligence would presumably need
a memory capacity comparable to the human brain.

The hardware would not even have to be electronic. The human brain
itself could be used instead of a computer.

If we can produce software that would make a computer more
intelligent than a man, we might as well produce better software
for ourselves and thus create a _man_ more intelligent than any man is
at present. These first ultra-intelligent men (and women) could then
carry on the work, just as the ultra-intelligent computer is supposed
to do in Dr. Good's scenario.

Anyone who would like to participate in such a project is invited to
write to The Bootstrap Society, [address long since defunct].


The editor changed "a memory capacity comparable to the human brain"
to "a memory capacity incomparable with that of the human brain."
Why?? This nonsensical expression probably scared off the very people
I hoped to reach.

The replies I received were not interesting. I didn't pursue the project
at that time.

This will be my last post of the summer. Vacation starts tomorrow.
Please don't send me e-mail about this (or anything) right now.
I don't know how long Delphi saves unread mail. I will be back online
in the fall.