Re: Augmenting humans is a better way

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sun Jul 29 2001 - 16:09:13 MDT

James Higgins wrote:
> At 01:50 AM 7/29/2001 -0400, Brian Atkins wrote:
> >Ben Houston wrote:
> > > It probably is possible to come up with something that is similar to a
> > > one-size-fits-all model? What is your specific argument against such a
> > > thing?
> >
> >I'll take the Higgins approach and say "show me the money" here. The
> >ball is in your court to explain to us how a generic implant could be
> >developed that would be able to automagically adapt itself to each
> >individual's brain wiring. From what I see going on currently it takes
> >a lot of effort to locate even a few interesting neurons in a patient.
> >As for automatically wiring up many many more neurons in just the right
> >way, how will that work?
> Ok, Brian. We've been going back and forth and you have yet to even touch
> on a response when I ask you the same type of question. So what is the
> design for general AI? Please provide us with all the nifty details so
> that we can actually compare the neural path with the general AI path and
> make some informed projections.

Well both Eliezer and Ben and Peter have such designs. No one on the
planet right now has a design for a RNI. So we can't compare. It does
show again that RNIs are not at the same level of development.

> > > Who said that neural implants would have a low probably of working with
> > > individual patients? What is your specific argument against such a thing?
> >
> >In order to develop a powerful implant that will work for a wide range
> >of individuals, there would have to be a huge amount of work and testing
> >done over a long period of time. And then even if it gets to the point
> >of being sold commercially, what's to prevent the users who develop
> >some kind of symptoms or actual disease from suing them ala the breast
> >implant women? They all had some symptoms which it turns out were not
> >really related to the implants. Yet they successfully sued the crap out
> >of Dupont. Can you imagine the kinds of lawsuits people might come up
> >with for brain implants? The kind of subjective diseases and symptoms
> >they could convince a jury of? It all looks way too risky from what I
> >see, and I reiterate that I find it hard to believe a large company
> >would really try to develop it.
> Would they be worse than the lawsuits for spilling hot coffee? I've also

Yes because with a coffee spill at least you can take pictures of it
or have a doctor examine the "wound" and prove whether it really
happened or not. With a subjective internal "mind pain" there is no
such proof. Just like there was no proof that the implant women got
their diseases from their implant. Yet the jury sided with them...

> noted that you can still buy breast implants, so their must be profit in it
> despite the suits.

Actually I think nowadays they come with some very complicated legal

> > > > The vast majority of potential users will probably be
> > > >pretty satisfied with external wearable apparatus, and I think this is
> > > >where the real action will be. Many of the things you want can be done
> > > >with wearables- you only need to get access to the internals if you want
> > > >to really try and increase the raw intelligence or speed of thought or
> > > >direct memory capacity.
> > >
> > > Access to last three things is the Holy Grail.
> >
> >For us yes, but is there a real market out there today for it?
> YES! Oh, come on now, your going to tell us that you wouldn't want such an
> implant yourself? Honestly.

I said "for us". But I doubt most people would buy them if they come
with no warranty, no promises, and you have to go out of the country to
get one installed.

> > > >Actually there are some people around here that think they know that. They
> > > >simply haven't proven it yet. This is quite different again than the state
> > > >of progress in RNIs where no one really has any idea yet how to do much at
> > > >all besides linking a few neurons to a computer.
> > >
> > > I would posit that you actually have no clue as to what the state of
> > the art
> > > is.
> >
> >Then educate me.
> >Can you show me some research involving more than a few neurons? Can you
> >show me some research explaining how it will be possible to wire a RNI
> >to my brain such that it increases my raw intelligence, memory, or speed
> >of thought?
> Please do likewise Brian. Can you tell us how it will be possible to
> create a General AI? What the design for a seed AI that can reach general
> AI will be? How an AI will be able to improve itself to the point of
> reaching the Singularity? How friendliness will be implemented in these
> and what the ultimate result of it will be post Singularity? Even how we
> can test a pre Singularity general AI to ensure that it is friendly?

This has all been documented on our web site, or at least an attempt has
been made. Again, much more than you can show for RNIs.

> > > Who said the bulk on the processing power must be done on person... maybe
> > > one has an uplink to off person processors? I don't see any hard limits to
> > > the processing power available to a human with a neural interface.
> >
> >Could be, especially if you are willing to stay wired up instead of free
> >roaming. How much bandwidth do you think it would take to maintain "oneness"
> >between your bio-brain and the computer-chunk of your mind, and would it
> >be possible to disconnect from the computer even when 99% of the processing
> >is being done there? Or would parts of your mind migrate over to the
> >computing hardware, leaving you unable to function without it in place...
> So, how much bandwidth will broadband wireless connections have in 2020?

With fiberless optics you can have fiber-like speeds, so possibly quite
high. I still wonder what happens when 99% of your mind is on the other
side of the link and then you walk out of the line of sight...

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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