On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 4:41 AM, Skeletori <sami.per...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > I don't think anyone would argue that the amount knowledge possessed by
> our
> > civilization is not increasing.  If the physical laws of this universe
> are
> > deterministic then there is some algorithm describing the process for an
> > ever increasing growth in knowledge.  Some of this knowledge may be
> applied
> > toward creating improved versions of memory or processing hardware.  Thus
> > creating a feed-back loop where increased knowledge leads to better
> > processing, and better processing leads to an accelerated application and
> > generation of knowledge.
> There are already formulations of optimal predictive algorithms and
> even optimal intelligent agents but they are completely impractical
> even with nanotech and computers the size of the Sun. From this
> perspective humans are intelligent not because of some general
> component (I'm now thinking of singinst with their AGI program) but
> lots of specialized components that allow us to take shortcuts, kind
> of similarly to how humans play chess vs. how machines play chess. As
> you say, it's a critical question how much beneficial feedback there
> would be.

Exponential increases in computing power for unit of cost has been
increasing at an exponetial rate for roughly 100 years.  It certainly won't
continue forever as we will hit physical limits, but we are still a far way
from even catching up to biology.  The fastest super computer built today,
at about 3 petaflops and composed of about a millions of CPUs is still a
fraction of the processing ability of the human brain, which gets by on the
equivalent of 10 watts.  There is little doubt that technology could greatly
exceed the speed and efficiency of the brain, given that a large part of the
brain's size and energy consumption are related to keeping the cells alive.
At the current exponential pace, we are about 20-30 years from a $1000
computer which could simulate a brain.

If we get to the point, where human-level intelligences can be embedded in a
machine, I think it is clear how things would take off from there.
Borrowing from your more recent e-mail, imagine Intel cloning the minds of
its 1,000 brightest engineers, and duplicating each of them 100 times.
(Therefore possessing an equivalent work force of 100,000 brilliant minds).
Unlike humans, knowledge between machines can be instantly duplicated and
shared, no need to spend many years for college and work experience.  The
only cost involved would be for the electricity to run these minds, each
might work out to 5-10 cents of electricity per hour (far cheaper than their
human counterparts).  The company's innovation rate would at that point,
certainly explode.

(This story is a good illustration:
http://lesswrong.com/lw/qk/that_alien_message/ )

There are less extreme examples of this augmentation even today.  The more
people using the internet, creating content, updating wikipedia, writing
posts or product reviews, the more valuable and useful a resource the
Internet becomes.  Not only is the amount, quality, and speed of access to
information increasing, but with mobile devices more people spend more time
in their Internet-augmented state, being able to respond to e-mails, or look
up any information they desire at any time.  I have a device which fits in
my hand that contains the full English version of Wikipedia, it is as if
some people walk around carrying the entire Library of Congress in their
pocket.  The Internet and its massive store of information is slowly making
its way into each of us.  It is not far off that we will have glasses or
small ear buds containing a computer which could be controlled by mere
thought.  Communication would be instantaneous to anyone in the world, and
one great idea could almost immediately improve the lives of billions,
especially with the advent of 3-d printers, which can assemble physical
objects from their downloadable blueprints.  I think these innovations will
become real in the next 5-10 years, well before mind uploading, but it shows
why the pace of technology will continue to accelerate from now up to that
point.  Simply put, we're augmenting our ability to make intelligent
decisions and make them at a faster pace.

> > Lets take a different example, a genetic algorithm which optimizes
> computer
> > chip design, forever searching for more efficient and faster hardware
> > designs.  After running for some number of generations, the most fit
> design
> > is taken, assembled, and the the software is copied to run on that new
> > hardware.  Would the rate of evolution on this new, faster chip not
> exceed
> > the previous rate?
> Yes. Then it would get stuck and the next 1% speedup would take 10^10
> years :).
I think for the hardware design to be so great it took a 10 billion years to
find the next speedup, the design would have to be close to the best
possible hardware that could be built given the physical laws.  After-all,
evolution went from Lemurs to humans in millions of years, which was only a
couple million generations, and that was without specifically trying to
optimize for the computing power of the brain.  Russell Standish has argued
that human creativity is itself nothing more than a genetic algorithm at its
core.  Do you think there is something else to it, what capabilities would
need to be added to this program to make it more effective in its search?
(Presume it is programmed with all the information it needs to effectively
simulate and rate any design it comes up with)

> > To active participants in the process, it would never seem that
> intelligence
> > ran away, however to outsiders who shun technology, or refuse to augment
> > themselves, I think it would appear to run away.  Consider at some point,
> > the technology becomes available to upload one's mind into a computer,
> half
> > the population accepts this and does so, while the other half reject it.
>  On
> > this new substrate, human minds could run at one million times the rate
> of
> > biological brains, and in one year's time, the uploaded humans would have
> > experienced a million years worth of experience, invention, progress,
> etc.
> > It would be hard to imagine what the uploaded humans would even have in
> > common or be able to talk about after even a single day's time (2,700
> years
> > to those who uploaded).  In this sense, intelligence has run away, from
> the
> > perspective of the biological humans.
> To me this seems to be the only practical scenario where an actual TS
> would take place (but it's frighteningly plausible). Once computers
> exceed human computational capacity they'll still be as stupid as
> ever, whereas digitized humans would be intelligent. The virtual and
> real worlds would evolve in lockstep and with time more and more of
> the economy would be converted to employ digital humans. I guess at
> some point meatspace humans would become economically unviable, as
> they wouldn't be able to compete in wages.

My hope and wish is that by this time, wealth and the economy as we know it
will be obsolete.  In a virtual world, where anyone can do or experience
anything, and everyone is immortal and perfectly healthy, the only commodity
would be the creativity to generate new ideas and experiences.  (I highly
recommend reading page this to see what such an existence could be:
http://frombob.to/you/aconvers.html this one is also interesting
http://www.marshallbrain.com/discard1.htm ).  If anyone can in the comfort
of their own virtual house experience drinking a soda, what need would there
be for Pepsi or Coke to exist as companies?  There would be no need for
procuring resources, manfuacturing, distributing, retailing it, the only
"work" left to do would be for people to try and invent new unique tasting
sodas, and once found, they could be instantly shared with all of human
civilization, at no cost or expense to the originator other than the time
invested in discovering it.  Individuals would only do this form of
exploration on their own accord, because there would be no need to work for
food or shelter.  What if the originator chose to sell this invention?  What
would he sell it for?  Some might try an economy based on unique ideas,
which might work for a while, but it would ultimately fail because something
only works as a currency if when transferred, one person gains it and
another loses it.  In the world of information, once something is given
once, it can then be shared with anyone.  Real world content creators are
struggling with this reality today.  In the uploaded world, the greatest
wealth for all people would be had by the free sharing of all information.
Attempting to restrict the sharing or spread of ideas would amount to
self-imposed poverty.

> But the preceding doesn't really take into account all the complex
> issues of control and politics that will determine how the
> technologies develop. If TS becomes probable in a near future then it
> would become a matter of supreme strategic importance and there would
> probably be attempts to restrict the spread of technologies enabling
> TS, for example by keeping them military secrets. It will be even
> worse if the powers that be believe in an intelligence explosion as
> then, for example, the US couldn't accurately deduce from the amount
> of resources spent in North Korea's TS program how much they have
> advanced in "intelligence", and if they couldn't obtain that
> information by spying they would have good strategic reasons to invade
> rather now than later to prevent a North Korean super AI from taking
> control of the world.

Militaries and nation states would similarly be obsolete after an
intelligence explosion and migration of humans to virtual reality.  There
would be nothing for a military to protect against, and no need to tax the
populace to provide services.  Everyone would become infinitely wealthy in a
virtual reality.  However some limits would have to be established, perhaps
limits on computational resources any person is allowed, the ability to
interfere with another persons privacy, etc.  Presuming the operating system
is provably secure and there are protection on memory access, and so forth,
there is nothing any uploaded person could do that would harm another
uploaded person.


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