RE: Extro5 talk - feedback requested

From: Ben Houston (
Date: Tue Jun 12 2001 - 20:44:41 MDT

"Working with biological cell/ axon/ receptor structures essentially
requires advanced biological nanotech."

I disagree with the above. Nanotech is not really needed for some of
the more interesting cognitive augmentations. As you probably know a
lot of the processing is done in the neocortex. Luckily the neocortex
is the surface of the brain and thus it is easily accessible through
conventional means. Although tightly interfacing with the thalamus is a
much harder problem at the moment.

-ben houston

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of Ben Goertzel
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 6:41 PM
Subject: RE: Extro5 talk - feedback requested

Hi Peter,

It's all quite sensible, and of course to me rather elementary

I do take issue with one peripheral point. You say

"Working with biological cell/ axon/ receptor structures essentially
requires advanced biological nanotech" but I'm not sure. I think that
extreme human intelligence enhancement may be possible via genetic
engineering. If we can unravel the metabolic pathways by which the
yields the proteome, which yields brain cells, neural networks, etc.,
we may well be able to engineer smarter brains. It's the same principle
gene therapies for curing cancer (which admittedly are only in an early
stage now).

One possible course of development is then:

1) AI's analyze genetic & cellular data, thus helping figure out how to
humans smarter
2) the genetically enhanced humans, working together with the AI's that
helped create them, help create yet smarter AI's, humans, and AI-human
bio-silicon-computing hybrids

I personally tend to think that AI's are going to get pretty smart
genetic engineering hugely improves human intelligence, so I largely
with you. But I do consider it likely that when our seed AI gets really
clever, it decides the best way to further enhance itself involves
*biocomputing* as well as silicon computing. DNA, proteins, brain cells
the like are pretty powerful devices, which may be deployed and modified
creatively by an AI system that is smarter than humans, but not yet
enough to automagically restructure all the molecules in the solar

This I consider part of my "moderately paced Singularity" scenario, as
opposed to the hyperspeed scenario that is apparently favored by Eli, in
which the path from human-level intelligence to
occurs during a single episode of the Jetsons...


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On
> Of Peter Voss
> Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 5:22 PM
> To:
> Subject: Extro5 talk - feedback requested
> I'd appreciate comments/ suggestions on these notes for the panel
> discussion
> at Extro5 "Convergent or Divergent Super-Intelligence: Can we keep up
> AIs by integrating with technology?"
> Advanced Intelligence: SI, IA, and the Global Brain
> Why Machines will become Hyper-Intelligent before Humans do
> Thanks
> Peter Voss
> - Any and all feedback welcome:

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