Re: What best evidence for fast AI?

From: Harry Chesley (
Date: Sat Nov 10 2007 - 11:08:55 MST

On 11/10/2007 3:26 AM, Robin Hanson wrote:
> So I am here to ask: where are the best analyses
> arguing the case for rapid (non-emulation) AI progress?

I would not argue that it will happen soon or rapidly but rather

Before there is an AI singularity, we need to 1) understand intelligence
more than we do now; 2) have enough computing power to implement it; 3)
put together enough "AI" in the right configuration to make a
singularity (human equivalent AI is not enough); 4) create enough
traction between the AI and the rest of the world to both allow it to
understand the world (just reading about it won't do it when you come to
fundamentally new theories), and to influence it substantially; and 5)
move from the lab to the world in general (i.e., ship it). I can't
predict how long any of those items will take. 1 and 2 could already
have happened in some lab or garage somewhere, or could take another
fifty years. 3 could be trivial or have scaling problems that are
insurmountable (unlikely, but you never know). 4 and 5 are classic
issues of science/engineering, and there are lots of examples of
successes and total failures.

Add them all together and it could take anything from a few years to
never. Nor is it predictable how much time there will be from the
initial appearance of substantive AI to the singularity. It could even
be zero if the people involved don't publicize their initial successes.

The analogy to the development of the atomic bomb has been brought up
before, but it's instructive from a timing perspective. Imagine being in
1907 and trying to predict the appearance of the first a-bomb (analogous
to human level AI), the arms race (development of singularity
capability), and the destruction of all life on the planet (the
singularity). The first one happened after decades of incremental
advances plus a concerted and well-funded effort to achieve it. And it
happened with zero warning to the world as a whole because that
concerted effort happened in secret. The arms race took decades more in
fits and starts, but ultiately succeeded. And the destruction of life
never happened at all.

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