From: mike99 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jan 20 2003 - 12:34:11 MST
This kind of economic analysis seems reasonable to me. However, the
quantitative guesstimates for human-equivalent computations, cost per
computational unit, and time for useful deployment are too uncertain IMO to
give us much help in pinning down the date range for the Singularity. For
example, the time for useful deployment (measured in terms of increased
productivity) may be much shorter for the coming generation of machines than
it was for the PC revolution.
A useful indicator here is the article in the current (Feb. 2003) issue of
Scientific American on electronic circuits designed via genetic algorithms.
The human developers/authors rigged a 1,000 chip Pentium supercomputer to
run their software. It "reinvented" many patented circuits and at least one
novel design, which the authors are in the process of trying to patent.
* * * *
Article: "Evolving Inventions" By John R. Koza, Martin A. Keane and Matthew
"Evolution is an immensely powerful creative process. From the intricate
biochemistry of individual cells to the elaborate structure of the human
brain, it has produced wonders of unimaginable complexity. Evolution
achieves these feats with a few simple processes--mutation, sexual
recombination and natural selection--which it iterates for many generations.
Now computer programmers are harnessing software versions of these same
processes to achieve machine intelligence. Called genetic programming, this
technique has designed computer programs and electronic circuits that
perform specified functions.
In the field of electronics, genetic programming has duplicated 15
previously patented inventions, including several that were hailed as
seminal in their respective fields when they were first announced. Six of
these 15 existing inventions were patented after January 2000 by major
research institutions, which indicates that they represent current frontiers
of research in domains of scientific and practical importance. Some of the
automatically produced inventions infringe squarely on the exact claims of
the previously patented inventions. Others represent new inventions by
duplicating the functionality of the earlier device in a novel way. One of
these inventions is a clear improvement over its predecessor. Genetic
programming has also classified protein sequences and produced
human-competitive results in a variety of areas, such as the design of
antennas, mathematical algorithms and general-purpose controllers. We have
recently filed for a patent for a genetically evolved general-purpose
controller that is superior to mathematically derived controllers commonly
used in industry. ..."
The article is available online for $$ at
or you can just visit your local newsstand and buy the whole issue.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Dani Eder
> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 11:28 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: RE: Dating TEOTWAWKI
> My theory on the dating of the singularity is
> based on economics.
> To put some numbers to this theory, I estimate
> 'economic crossover' for general design tasks based
> on when computer power is cheaper than brain power.
> Human brain power is estimated to be equivalent to
> 100 TFlop to 100,000 Tflop. A computer running
> 24x7 and working at 1 human design engineer equivalent
> rate would be worth about $3 million. So my
> estimate is that when you can buy computers for
> $30,000 to $30 per TFlop plus 7 years (to allow
> time to usefully deploy the computers) is the
> expected date for the Singularity. We are 5-20
> years from reaching the cost threshholds, so that
> gives a prediction of 2015 to 2030.
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