[extropy-chat] Singularity econimic tradeoffs

Dan Clemmensen dgc at cox.net
Sat Apr 17 20:32:05 UTC 2004

Samantha Atkins wrote:

> On Apr 16, 2004, at 4:54 AM, Dan Clemmensen wrote:
>> A singularity driven by computer power and software does not depend 
>> on any
>> particular hardware improvement such as molecular circuitry, or any 
>> particular
>> software technology such as AI (except in the broadest sense.)
> Please clarify how increased computer power and (supposedly non-AI) 
> software will lead to a singularity.

In my opinion, the Singularity will result from any fast-feedback 
process that uses computers to enhance "technological creativity." 
"Technological creativity"is that quality or set of qualities that 
results in new advances in technology. For purposes of this discussion, 
we can restrict ourselves to computer and related technologies.

In my favorite scenario, the initial SI is a collaboration between one 
or more humans and a large computing resource. The humans supply the 
creativity and high-level pattern recognition, while the computers 
supply brute-force stuff like web searching, peep-hole optimizations, 
etc. If the collaboration can be made tight enough, the system as a 
whole will operate as fast as the human(s) can make high-level 
decisions. Such a system would permit computer implementation under 
human guidance. Presumably, the first thing the inventors of such a 
system will use the system for is improvements to the system. As soon as 
the system is implementing things as fast as the human(s) can make 
decisions, the next problem that the inventors will turn to is 
increasing the scope of sub-problems that can be solved by the computers 
rather than the human, using whatever software tools come to hand: there 
is no particular need for an overall theory of AI here. since the humans 
are still handling that part. The humans become more and more 
productive. As they add more and more tools to the computer toolbox, the 
humans operate at progressively higher levels of abstraction. They use 
the system to optimize the system. If necessary, they use the system to 
design new hardware to add to the system. Eventually, the humans are 
operating at such a high level of abstraction that the non-human part of 
the system reaches and then exceeds the current human level of technical 

The richer the available computer resource the faster this will go. My 
gut feeling is that the currently-available computer resources are 
already rich enough that the process no linger needs new hardware to go 
to completion, and can therefore go to completion in less than one week, 
at which point all connected computes form a single fully=optimized 
system, which has also designed and sent fabrication and purchase orders 
for the next-generation hardware and for the equipment needed to produce 

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