Re: Uploads and AIs (was: Deliver us from...)

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sat Apr 07 2001 - 11:55:02 MDT

James Higgins wrote:
> At 07:45 PM 4/6/2001 -0400, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> >For me, the superiority of AI over uploading lies chiefly in two facts:
> >First, uploading is a technology years ahead of AI *or* military
> >nanotechnology. If you're postulating that uploading was naturally
> >developed before both of the "alternatives", I want to know how. If
> >you're trusting a transhuman AI, a sort of limited Transition Guide, to
> >upload the first humans and leave it to them from there, I want to know
> >why this path doesn't subsume almost all the risk of straightforward seed
> >AI development.
> It is still possible that some form of uploading may be possible before
> AI. They are already working on exactly simulating very small portions of

Well he wanted to know how it would be possible before BOTH nanotech and AI.
We don't see a way for that scenario to occur.

> This leads to some critical questions that I have not seen information
> about (not that it isn't written somewhere). In what environment do you
> launch the seed AI? If the SAI was on a single, non-networked computer it
> should be unable to effect the physical world, no matter how smart it
> became. Or is the plan to give the seed AI complete access to the
> Internet? or ?

We are thinking it will be on a private (non connected) network at first,
with access to some kind of large archive of content to learn from.

> Also, it is obviously expected that this seed AI, after upgrading many
> fold, will invent and gain access to nanotechnology. How does this
> occur? Even if it invents nanotech, the first assembler has to get
> physically built. How is this expected to occur?

One way to envision it is a funny scene from Star Trek IV: the enterprise
crew is trapped in the past, and they need some expensive materials to
accomplish their mission. So they go down to a factory and exchange the
formula for "transparent aluminum" (or somesuch) in exchange for what they
need. So our AI gets smart, comes up with a design for a real assembler,
we trade that to Zyvex in exchange for getting a copy of the first one they
make. The point is that a very intelligent AI can produce some very
valuable intellectual property.

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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