> 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)

No, I also think that's pretty much all there is to it. Due to the
anthropic principle we can't draw very many conclusions from the way
intelligence has developed on our planet - we can't know what the
probability of intelligent life is.

I admit the chip design example is a poor one. Let's try this instead:
How would you program an AI to achieve higher intelligence? How would
it evaluate intelligence?

> 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.htmlthis one is also 
> interestinghttp://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?

That is also my wish. I'd like to see scenarios where this will
happen. But I believe it's imperative to understand the mindset of the
ruling elites. To them it's all about power and control. The
biological layer will want to maintain control of the digital layer as
long as possible, even at the expense of everything else. A politician
might reply to you, "Whoa, pardner! That looks like socialism. No, we
need free markets to allocate resources efficiently, strong property
rights to prevent theft, and sufficient means to enforce them." And so
on. Once a strategy has been formulated, the creation of an ideology
to advance it is a simple matter.

I suspect that if digitized brains form the initial digital world, not
only will most of the negative qualities of humans - greed,
selfishness, xenophobia and so on, be transferred to the digital
substrate, but also all the negative qualities of human societies with
their antagonisms and the logic of power. There will still be
competition over limited resources. And thus an ideal community won't
be able to bootstrap itself out of our dog-eat-dog world. On the other
hand, if the digital world is populated by benevolent AIs then they
will be directed to research technologies to benefit humans, and any
intelligence explosion will be carefully prevented from happening.

If humanity is able to leave Earth, then I can see things being
different. If faster-than-light travel isn't possible, it will be very
difficult to project power over long distances, communities will
splinter, and an ideal community could emerge. But what are the aims
and the logic of evolution of an ideal community? Is it able to
compete in destructive technologies with less enlightened communities,
or will altruism be extinguished in the battle over resources? At
least we can hope that the increased happiness and productivity of a
good community could give it a big enough advantage over some digital

> 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.

I agree, but this analysis presupposes the existence of a rational

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