RE: Steve Harris, "Return of the Krell Machine" (Singularity Article)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Jan 19 2002 - 10:45:54 MST

> This whole argument misses the point: AI may not be the
> only path to SI. I feel that we'll get SI via human-computer
> collaboration.

I understand the idea.... Francis Heylighen (Principia Cybernetica; Free
University of Brussels) is a big advocate of this as well, so you're in good
company.... This is the "global brain" about which I've written a fair bit,
going back to 1995; and Turchin wrote about it in the early 70's...

However, my intuition is that there is a *relatively* low upper limit to how
much human collective intelligence can be accelerated through computer

I tend to believe the big breakthrough in this domain has almost "already
happened". The Net has given us the ability to interact fairly freely with
people all over the world using our familiar media -- language, pictures,
and sound. The process will be massively streamlined during the next
decade, and the Net will turn into an easy place to exchange and collaborate
on information of these standard types. But will this lead to a qualitative
increase in collective intelligence? Well, perhaps it will, but a much
*smaller* qualitative increase than could be obtained if AI's were thrown
into the mix....

For instance, in biotech, the presence of BLAST and various other Internet
services and sites has made a huge qualitative difference in how fast (and
*how*) bioscience can progress. But an AI that could integrate all the data
from the different sites to make judgments humans can't make (because humans
can't integrate that much diverse data effectively), would create an even
bigger qualitative difference...

If there is going to be a *truly astounding* breakthrough here, I suspect it
will have to somehow involve going beyond "technology as a medium for
linguistic and visual and acoustic communication." Perhaps, if we could
directly control some 3D graphical medium via our brain waves, and
communicate and interact in this way, we could really achieve a hugely
higher qualitative level of emergent intelligence -- I don't know....

-- Ben G

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