Re: intelligence runaway (was explosion)

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun Jul 16 2006 - 09:18:20 MDT

At 05:51 PM 7/15/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>At 02:52 PM 7/15/2006 -0700, Eliezer wrote:
>>I have recently been trying to consistently use the term "intelligence
>>explosion" rather than "Singularity" because the latter term has just
>>been abused too much.
>Ah, the Intelligence Explosion Institute for Artificial Intelligence
>Explosion. Well, it's... catchy (cough). But is it optimal for public
>discussion? Explosions can put people off. Besides, an explosion tends to
>scatter widely the material originally tucked up tightly, it doesn't add
>to or concentrate what was originally there. (Yes, I know, you're thinking
>of "combinatorial explosion" and the like, but still.) What about
>something that expresses directly the key idea of rapidly growing density
>and power? "Runaway" or "excursion" or "escalation" surely don't help the
>PR problem either. "Amplification"? Not quite the point. "Enlargement"?
>"Magnification"? Nope. "Fast/major/large-scale/significant/unprecedented
>expansion"? Not really. But not "explosion", please.
>Damien Broderick

Intelligence runaway might be the term you are looking for. Dates back to
horses, but captures the essence of something getting out of control.

It's also already a term used in engineering:

"Thermal runaway occurs when the reaction rate increases due to an increase
in temperature, causing a further increase in temperature and hence a
further increase in the reaction rate."

Though humans are still in the loop, you could argue that it is already
going on and has been for the past 25 years or so. It has been that long
since humans were able to design a next generation microprocessor without
the aid of previous generations of computers to keep track of the details
and simulate the new chip.

Keith Henson

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