Re: AI progress ( or lack thereof)

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Thu Dec 09 2004 - 22:11:16 MST

 --- Dani Eder <> wrote:
> > AI research itself has had a poor
> > track record, so why do you
> > assume future AI research will be more prodigious
> > than future nanotech,
> > cryonics, biomedical research, etc.?
> >
> Hans Moravec has estimated the processor power
> required for AI is 10 Tflops. Until a few years
> ago no machine was that powerful, and right now
> no machine used for AI research (as far as I know)
> is that powerful yet. So AI progess has been
> held up by lack of suitable hardware.

I don't agree that hardware is the problem at all.
You can get 10 Tflops now simply by adding on extra
processors. You don't need a super-computer. Just
link together a large number of less powerful
computers and you have a 'cheapo' super-computer.


> I believe that if you plot the complexity of the
> AI software measured in lines of code or similar
> metric vs processor power required to achieve AI,
> there will be some curve below which
> human-equivalent
> AI can't be done, and above which it can.
> Unfortunately, we have very little idea where that
> curve lies.
> At one extreme, you could have a program that is
> as simple as:
> For NEURON = 1 to 10^11
> Update state of NEURON
> Where NEURON is a sufficiently detailed model of
> human neurons to behave similarly.
> I call this the 'brute force' approach, and my
> wild-assed gues is that it would require on the
> order of 3000 Tflops to run at human real-time
> rate, but I wouldn't be surprised to be off by
> a factor of 30.
> At the other extreme, the size of the software would
> dominate the processor power costs when trying to
> configure a system (RAM and Disk storage) or would
> create data transfer bottlenecks. So beyond some
> point it dosn't make sense to try to save processor
> power with better software.
> An example at the other extreme would be a lookup
> table that answers every question that can be asked.
> Huge storage requirement, but not very much
> processor
> time to answer any given question.
> Looking at developing an AI from another angle, the
> human Genome and a Windows XP installation CD have
> about the same data storage capacity (~700 MB). The
> human genome generates a human intellect, so in
> theory
> a piece of software of similar complexity should
> be able to generate an AI. but
> But no AI project has come within several orders of
> magnitude of the resources Microsoft has used to
> develop their operating system, and their product
> is still a long way from having the 20 year uptime
> it takes a human to mature.
> So besides inadequate hardware to date, another
> explanation of AI research's poor track record is
> inadequate software development resources.
> Daniel

Software is the problem, not hardware ;)

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