Re: META: Killthread; (Re: Jaron Lanier)

From: Tommy McCabe (
Date: Sat Nov 29 2003 - 13:41:07 MST

--- Eugen Leitl <> wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 29, 2003 at 06:59:03AM -0800, Tommy
> McCabe wrote:
> > Technology, at least under my definition, covers a
> > very wide range of topics, and simply lumping
> No one is talking about "technology". That's
> a mild straw man you got there. We're talking
> about computation, though.

Sorry. Misinterpretation on my part.
> Is computation irrelevant to intelligence, whether
> natural or artificial? That'd be sure novel for
> sl4@.

Irrelevant? What kind of computation? What is your
point here?

> > something in with "technology" doesn't make it
> > relevant to SL4. IBM, Intel, AMD, etc., are doing
> a
> > very nice job of making chips, and unless AI
> somehow
> How do you know that? I happen to disagree
> vehemently.
> The only kind of unquestionable progress there is
> affordable integration
> density. That's the only straight line on the semi
> log
> plot, with about a decade yet to go. It is not
> obvious what will
> happen after that. That alone is a sufficiently
> interesting
> result to not ignore the physical layer.

Since when is there any evidence that Moore's Law is
petering out? people have been claiming that for
fifteen years and chips continue to grow faster.

> > requires either specialized types of hardware, or
> very
> Absolutely.

Since when does AI require specialized hardware? Fast
hardware, quite possibly, but specialized hardware?
Fast hardware can be obtained by linking slow hardware
together. Specialized hardware requires a redesign of
the chip. We might need the former, but why would we
need the latter?
> > thorough knowledge of the hardware it is being
> Absolutely.

I wasn't talking about it in the sense of "which chip
you are running it on". You need to know if it's on a
PC-type computer or a Mac-type computer, but there is
no need to program in binary or even assembly code,
which requires a lot of knowledge of the chip
architecture. High-level languages will work just as

> > programmed on, there is no need to waste time
> If both of your premises weren't wrong, I'd
> be agreeing with your conclusion.

Please explain how my premises are wrong. AI is
obviously harder and has more things on the line than
a conventional programming project, but why can't it
be done on regular hardware? And why can't it be done
in a high-level language that doesn't require a lot of
knowledge of the chip?

> > discussing it. If it isn't broken, don't fix it,
> and
> > don't spend valuable time discussing it. Quote
> from
> > Staring into the Singularity- "Ever since the late
> > 90's, the Singularity has been only a problem of
> I'm completely immune to quotes. As long as you can
> show me that hardware is not a problem, and more and
> better hardware isn't a very powerful tool to
> circumvent
> this software (the separation between software and
> hardware is a yet another sterile meme of the
> complex
> we started this discussion with) you could be as
> well quoting from Mao's Little Red Book.

You can have to most powerful chip on the planet, but
you need software to run it on, and that's the tricky
part. You can get faster computers by stringing slower
computers together, but you can't get better programs
by stringing bad programs together. I agree that
better hardware makes the software problems easier,
but even incredibly simple scenarios like software
processes that were mutated by another
low-intelligence process and selected for their
ability to play chess require a good deal of software
design. And that scenario would probably end with an
AI that wants to demolish the solar system to make
more room for hardware to play chess better.

> > software." The hardware companies can handle the
> > problem of making fast chips- but we need the code
> to
> No, they can't. That's the whole point of this
> discussion.
> Johnny can't make fast chips, and if you want AI,
> you better
> understand why.

Even if modern PCs are too slow for AI, you can use a
supercomputer or distributed computing (or lots of
PC's working parallelly in some warehouse.) And even
if that doesn't work, chips are getting faster.

> > make the chips become a Friendly Seed AI. And
> that's
> > where SIAI comes in.
> I'm not feeling like joining the F issue before the
> hardware and the software part isn't addressed.

Even Eurisko shouldn't have been done without a
coherent theory of Friendliness. When you're planning
on making a being that has the potential to blow up
the planet, you don't want to take any unnecessary
risks by something as easily remedied as putting the
AI before the Friendliness theory.
> Unless, of course, that's off-topic for this list.
> It it is so, this list is about plucking virtual
> lint from our nonexisting navels.
> -- Eugen* Leitl leitl
> ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144
> 8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A 7779 75B0 2443
> 8B29 F6BE

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