Singularity worship

John K Clark (
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 22:11:53 -0800 (PST)


On Mon, 16 Dec 1996 James Rogers <> Wrote:

>I have taken many courses in computer architecture. I am
>familiar with evolution of very low level as well as higher
>level constructs. I have even designed and fabricated simple
>integrated circuits from scratch. I could design a basic
>ALU from the ground up if I had to. I even understand how
>and why different types of transistors and transistor
>materials do what they do on a chemical level.

I am sure that all of the above is true.

>What part don't I understand?

If you understand how a computer does arithmetic you must understand what
the machine will do, what its output will be, when it takes 5203 to the 127
power. So tell me, what is 5203 ^127? My point is that somebody could be
very familiar with every one on the 26 letters in the English Language but
still not understand the subtly in Shakespeare.

>I *do* understand turbulence (as well as anyone does).

I will concede that you do understand turbulence, as well as anyone does.

>our difficulty in adequately describing turbulence has to do
>with the complexity of the system

I agree.

>a level of complexity not found in the study of elementary
>arithmetic logic structures.

It's true that the sort of complexity seen in turbulence is not found in the
structure of a CPU, but it is found in the operation of a CPU.

>It sounds like you are saying that it is impossible for
>humans to truly understand anything.

No, I admit that you know a lot, I know one or two things myself, I'm saying
it is impossible for humans to truly understand everything.

>You can duplicate the binary computational sequence by
>arranging and moving pebbles.

Certainly true, and then nobody would understand pebbles.

John K Clark

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