RE: Human intelligence is obviously absurd

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2005 - 07:52:59 MST

> Suppose that humanity, instead of evolving intelligence on a hundred
> trillion 200Hz synapses, had instead evolved essentially equivalent
> intelligence on a million 2 GHz processors using slightly more efficient
> serial algorithms (my example postulates a factor-of-ten efficiency
> improvement, no more). Let's call these alternate selves Humans.
> Would anyone here dare to predict, in advance, that it was even
> *theoretically possible* to achieve Human-equivalent intelligence
> on 200Hz
> processors no matter *how* many of them you had?
> Even I wouldn't dare. Trying my best to be conservative and to widen my
> confidence interval, my guess is that I would guess 10KHz, or
> 1KHz given a
> superintelligent programmer, and I would probably have the lowest
> guess in
> the crowd - both because of my guess that intelligence doesn't
> require much
> crunch, and because I knew to widen my confidence intervals.
> Ben Goertzel would laugh at me, saying that Human-equivalent intelligence
> carried out with one thousand sequential serial operations per second was
> obviously impossible. Perhaps Ben would suggest that I try writing code
> that executed with a bound of ten thousand sequential serial
> operations, to
> get a feel for how restrictive that limit was.

Hey, you're taking my name in vain!!!

I guess you're saying that if we didn't have some experience with massively
parallel processing but only with serial computing, we'd think massively
parallel processing was implausible?

Well, maybe. But I wouldn't be so confident that your projection of that
particular alternate-universe "Ben Goertzel"'s reaction is correct...

I think that if we only knew about serial computing, it would still seem
plausible that SOMEHOW something amazing could be done with a massive number
of very slow processors -- even if we didn't know *what* exactly.

Just like now, it seems plausible that somehow something amazing can be done
with quantum computing ... even though as of now we don't really know what
exactly, as we have so little relevant experience...

-- Ben G

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