RE: How hard a Singularity?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Jun 22 2002 - 11:17:01 MDT

> > While I also believe that the fast Singularity is a distinct
> possibility,
> > I don't have an intuition which would help me decide which variant is
> > more likely and by what odds.
> >
> > What is your intuition? Is it a toss-up, a good hunch, or (almost)dead
> > certainty?
> I would call it dead certain in favor of a hard takeoff, unless all the
> intelligences at the core of that hard takeoff unanimously decide
> otherwise.
> All economic, computational, and, as far as I can tell, moral indicators
> point straight toward a hard takeoff. The Singularity involves
> an inherent
> positive feedback loop; smart minds produce smarter minds which produce
> still smarter minds and so on.

Eliezer, while we're all free to our own differing intuitions, it seems
wrong to me to can feel "dead certain" about something we've never seen
before, that depends on technologies we don't yet substantialy understand.

I think the period of transition from human-level AI to superhuman-level AI
will be a matter of months to years, not decades.

What particular transformative effects the presence of superhuman-level AI
will have, and in what order, is pretty hard to say, huh?

Perhaps for a while, a superhuman AI among humans will be like a human among
dogs. A human among dogs *does* have a different and deeper understanding,
and can do things no dog can do, including many things revolutionizing dogly
existence ... but still, a human among dogs is not a god. How long might a
phase like this last? Hard to say.

Moravec-and-Kurzweil-style curve-plotting is interesting and important, but
nevertheless, the problem of induction remains... . All sorts of things
could happen. For instance, the superhuman AI's we build may continue to
progress exponentially, but in directions other than those we foresee now.

In short, as I keep repeating, one of the unknown things about our coming
plunge into the Great Unknown, is how rapidly the plunge will occur, and the
trajectory that the plunge will follow. Dead certainty on these points
seems inappropriate to me.

-- Ben G

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