[ExI] The Actual Visionary of the Future

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Thu Oct 31 20:35:54 UTC 2013

On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 01:50:53PM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> > Because even as a rule of thumb it is better than going completely in the
> > dark. If you were in a cave, would you not want a small candle as opposed
> > to nothing at all? I don't know if $1000 worth of computation will
> > approximate the power of the human brain in 2025, 2029, 2035 or 2040 but
> > the center of my guess is 2029 based on Moore's Law. That's slightly
> better
> There are two problems with this statement. First, the brains don't
> run LINPACK. So you don't know, you can only guess.

It's based on a rough estimate as to how much computational power is
required to simulate a brain. Since we don't yet know exactly how brains
work, it is a rough estimate based on number of neurons, dendrites etc. and
speed of neuron firing and the number of bytes of information such a firing
might convey. As I recall, it was a very conservative number that was upped
just to make sure.

> Secondly, you
> assume that Moore still continues until 2040, while we have data
> that this isn't true even in 2013.

While I accept the clock speed data as being entirely convincing and
incontrovertible, the computational power of the CPUs are still being
increased in other ways. By how much is actually rather hard to say... Even
when Moore's law held, software would only run 40% faster when the number
of transistors doubled, according to one site.

> > than saying, "I have no idea", isn't it?
> Where it matters I prefer to be bounded by pessimums rather than optimums.
> Because optimism kills, that's why.

That's a pessimistic view of the world.

> > Yes, I believe money properly invested (say in the stock market) does
> like
> > to work. It does create value. I know this because I've personally
> Most of stock market is very much like Monte Carlo.

The underlying reason for the stock market is valid. Companies need capital
investment to grow. They get this going to the stock market. Of course,
today's stock market is overvalued because of the Fed dumping money into
the system through the banks (and then through Wallstreet) so New York
doesn't feel the current economic realities the way the rest of the country
(other than Elko, NV, North Dakota and parts of Texas) because they are in
a government induced boom time.

> > witnessed 8 million dollars grow into 32 million dollars over a period of
> > ten years. Without investment, that could never have happened.
> http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BBP7VMgAIgM/TtL0OTVc5SI/AAAAAAAAATI/CmYlGzcsaco/s640/stock_market_crash_1930_10d.gif
> Fly, you fools!

I'm not talking about the stock market. I'm talking about investing in a
startup company that produced something useful, then made the stockholders
money. This model is important to bringing new ideas to fruition. Without
it, there would be no new stuff. Period.

> > > > I'm baffled by your use of the word "stuck" here. We just got to 4
> Tbytes
> > >
> > > You're getting far too frequently baffled for my liking. I'm showing
> > > you instances where reality deviates from the nice linear semi-log.
> > > There have been multiple smooth technology handovers in the platter
> > > areal density which however shew a different scaling
> > > http://www.hindawi.com/journals/at/2013/521086/fig1/
> >
> >
> > I think this goes more to proving my point than yours.
> None of that curve reminds you of nongreen in
> http://www.gotw.ca/images/CPU.png
> ?

Not really, so much. The blue part of the curve is clearly a concern. But
the graph from before has a minimal downturn insofar as I can see.

> > If you think you're seeing a linear semilog plot in there, then
> > > throw away your ruler. Or buy new glasses. If you're now agreeing
> > > that the growth is saturating, then why are you wasting my time?
> > >
> >
> > The biggest downcurve in the plot is the part that projects into the
> > future. Let's come back in 5 years and see what reality actually happens.
> Yes, let's come back in 5 years and see how these 2 year doublings
> are fairing, and what the doubling time of Moore is by then.

Ok, let's. I hope for all our sakes that I am right.

> > > > not that long ago. We always get "stuck" by this definition. I have
> > > > attached my spreadsheet of hard drive prices that I have been
> maintaining
> > >
> > > The metric you're looking for is areal density.
> > >
> >
> > The metric I care about is inflation adjusted dollars/byte. I could care
> > less about areal density, except that it is one (and only one) mechanism
> by
> You don't see Thailand in areal density. You do see it in price.

Thus I saw it and you didn't. Makes sense.

> There are no affordable 4-platter drives, so areal density is really
> the only useful metric.

Perhaps there will be 4 platter affordable drives at some point, who knows?
According to the one IEEE article, hard drives are on the path until 2020
or so.

> > which dollars/byte goes down.
> >
> > I agree that brilliant people will find it EXTREMELY difficult to build
> > features smaller than atoms, perhaps even impossible. But we aren't close
> > enough to the problem to say that we KNOW it is impossible yet. If it is
> It's useful to know that the Si-Si bond length is 0.235 nm. Of course
> you can't make widgets from just Si, so let's put the critical size down
> to 1 nm. Intel is currently at 14 nm, and already has issues with
> yield. So we're definitely close enough.

It is pretty damn close. I believe physicists and Intel will have a lot to
talk about over the next 10 years for sure.

> > Things like refineries do take a long time to build using today's
> > techniques. I can see a day coming though where building such things will
> I can also see a day coming, but the day needs to be yesteryear, because
> Ray's exponential photovoltaics doesn't produce liquid fuels. Nor
> glass or aluminium, nor electricians, nor grid upgrades.

Yes, infrastructure is the main reason America is where it is today. And we
are ignoring it at our peril. We could not be more in agreement on the
infrastructure problems America faces. The politicians talk about it from
time to time when a bridge falls down or something. Then go on to ignore
it. The only answer IMHO is to privatize the highway system. Tolls for

> > not take as long as they do today. Humans can only move so fast, but
> robots
> > can move faster.
> >
> > I refer you to:
> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KxjVlaLBmk
> >

Wow, really, that didn't produce a response. That was WAY cool stuff.

> > If you could imagine robots programmed by sophisticated scheduling
> systems
> > to build a refinery, I propose that you could, in principle, build a
> > refinery rather quickly. The slowest part potentially is getting
> government
> > approval.
> >
> > Here is my biggest point. If you can imagine being able to do something
> > given a reasonable amount of time and money with current technology,
> then I
> > can't imagine that given sufficient incentive that such a thing would not
> > be accomplished. There is sufficient incentive to improve computational
> > efficiencies, therefore, I cannot see such things not being accomplished.
> I can see such things not being accomplished. We suffer a death of thousand
> papercuts, and then we use up whatever plutonium is around to make a few
> strong points in trinitite.

Ok. The answer to that is more corporations and less government. But that's
not happening. So maybe we are doomed after all.

The biggest exponential I fear is the exponential growth of government.

> > > We've already fallen from the semiconductor litho curve.
> > >
> >
> > Let's talk about CPS/Second/inflation adjusted Dollar. I am intensely NOT
> What is CPS? Characters Per Second?

Calculations per second.

> > interested in the details of how it happens. That is someone/everyone
> > else's job at the moment.
> >
> > > See the NOR flash scaling at the URL I posted earlier.
> > > We've already fallen of the PV deployment curve (and we
> > > were never on the according infrastructure curve in the
> > > first place).
> > >
> > > You can't jump from zero TW to 20 TW in 20 years.
> > > Not unless you have MNT, and collectively we made sure we
> > > failed to develop that.
> > >
> >
> > When you say MNT, do you mean molecular nanotechnology?
> Yes.


> > > Which part of "no more constant doubling times for you" you don't
> > > understand?
> >
> > As long as it continues to double, I don't care if it takes 18 months or
> 24
> What is you doubling times double, too? Remember, we're already at 36
> months,
> not 18. How do 6, 12, 24, 48 years sound like?

That sounds bad. I would like it to stay on track better than that, and I
think that it is.

> > or 36. You can't point to a date in the future and say "improvement stops
> I can show you an asymptote, and no futurist likes asymptotes.

Asymptotes do occur, they are real. If they are real, this futurist wants
to understand them.

> > here" can you? As long as it is doubling somewhat close to current
> levels,
> > the things I care about will continue to happen in the time scales I care
> > about.
> >
> > I do care if the whole damn boat is going down. But that is a separate
> > conversation. So long as there are SOME rich people/corporations/AGIs
> > paying for the development of this stuff, I think it will continue to be
> > developed.
> The reason Moore is off-track is because there's not enough money in
> the world people are willing to throw at a problem. With each further
> step the difficulty rises, so do the amounts of money.

Yes, it does get more difficult to proceed. But there is still a LOT of
money in getting it better.

Jan. 17, 2013 – Intel Corporation today reported full-year revenue of $53.3
billion, operating income of $14.6 billion, net income of $11.0 billion and
EPS of $2.13. The company generated approximately $18.9 billion in cash
from operations, paid dividends of $4.4 billion, and used $4.8 billion to
repurchase 191 million shares of stock.

Sounds like a fair amount of money to me. But there is the other end of the
exponential that it becomes exponentially more expensive to build the
machinery that builds the exponentially faster CPUs. Those two exponents do
fight against each other for sure.

> > > > a slightly different time scale. And there is no guarantee that we
> won't
> > >
> > > Which part of "you can't make widgets smaller than single atoms" you
> don't
> > > understand?
> > >
> >
> > What part of "There's plenty of room at the bottom" do you not
> understand.
> > We're not close to the atomic limits on most things.
> We're in touching distance to atomic/quantum limits in CMOS semilitho
> things.
> I don't care about anything else if we're talking Moore.

Ok. When I say Moore, I mean in the more general sense of CPS/second/$ not
in the limited sense of transistors per cm^2. I don't care how they do it,
only that it happens.

> > > > Sorry, you've lost me here. I don't know what these things are.
> > >
> > > It's a cheap mainframe, 75 kUSD entry level. Obviously, CPUs
> > > build from such can be made from unobtainium. But flash drives
> > > and mobile CPUs have low margins, so there's diminished incentive
> > > to go to the next node (especially if the next node has lower
> > > performance than current one).
> > >
> >
> > Thank you for explaining that. I don't pay much attention to mainframes,
> or
> Mainframes are money-makers. You can make things there you can't do
> elsewhere, but there's the price to pay for it.

I have never played with a mainframe. I haven't even seen one for 20 years.
I guess I assumed they were outdated.

> > even highly parallel computers or supercomputers in my work. I'm mostly
> Supercomputers are highly parallel computers.

Yup. Very cool those.

> > interested in PCs, tablets and cell phones, and perhaps Google glass.
> Supercomputers are pretty much like tablets and cell phones. PCs
> are dead.

I like my PC. I hope they don't die entirely.

> > Consumer related stuff. Yes, the cloud changes that, but I don't play in
> > that world much.
> Cloud is a bit like cellphones, but without the floats. Same core
> issue, though: power.
> > Given that, I'm still not understanding your point. Are these mainframes
> > getting more expensive as time goes on? Are we not on some kind of curve
> They stay roughly the same.

I would guess that MIGHT be related to demand, but I don't know for sure.

> > with respect to them? My understanding is that rack based computing is
> > chugging along at an acceptable rate of growth. Am I missing something?
> x86 doesn't yet know it's dead yet. Developers don't yet know hardware
> is going places they don't understand (some haven't yet figured out
> that clocks stopped doubling yet).

I know that parallelism is becoming increasingly important, and that
developers risk ignoring that at their own peril. Lamda expressions and
functional programming are going to be really big deals in 10 years.
Customers want speed. If hardware alone can't give it to them, then there
will have to be a resurgence in programmer based optimization, which almost
never happens today.

> > > Anyone looking at an arbitrary time frame knows that darwinian
> > > evolution still applies.
> > >
> >
> > But we are in the era of memetic evolution, not darwinian. And memes
> > replicate faster, and have a higher mutation rate.
> Darwin never missed a beat. The fitness function change, but we're
> still imperfect replicators in a limited resource context. The future
> is exactly like that, only far more so. Darwin stuck on fast-forward
> is not a happy fun place. Do not taunt the happy-fun Darwin ball.

Darwinism is neither fun nor not fun, it just is. If you are correct,
however, we have much less to fear from machines replacing us than I

> > > My thesis is that a postecosystem has a food web.
> > >
> >
> > Ok, so here we may have a difference of opinion. I concede that the
> future
> > ecosystem will have an energy web, but not necessarily food based.
> Locally, atoms and Joules are limited, and there is still competition
> and replication. Which is the main reason why nobody can ignore the
> physical layer.

The physical layer is indeed important. That's why I support space
exploration by non-human entities.

> > > We're understanding processing the retina sufficiently to produce
> > > code that the second processing pipeline can use. We have mapped
> > > features of later processing stages to the point that we know what
> > > you're looking at, or what you're dreaming of. We have off the
> > > shelf machine vision systems for many industrial tasks. We have
> > > autonomous cars that drive better than people.
> > >
> >
> > I agree with all of this except the part of "we know what you're looking
> > at"... if that is state of the art, then I'm way behind.
> I'm talking instrumented behaving subjects. Neuroscience is making
> remarkable advances, driven by instrumentation and computers.

Good. If we get insight into how the brain works, then we're all that much
closer to replicating it.

> > > This is obviusly one of these cases where we've made some slight
> > > progress over last few decades.
> > >
> >
> > The progress that has been made in computer vision MOSTLY comes from
> Moore,
> I agree, we're hardware-limited. Which is why the early failure of Moore
> is so dismal.

For computer vision it would be dismal indeed. I am glad we seem to have
gotten far enough the curve to have automated vehicles. That should add a
few months to life expectancy.

> > not from better algorithms. Now, better computers enable algorithms that
> > are less efficient to be tried, and therefore one could argue that some
> new
> > algorithms have emerged from Moore. There has been progress in computer
> > vision to be sure. The progress is slow. It is largely based upon
> > computational improvements. Algorithmic improvement has occurred, but not
> > at the same rate.
> > >
> > > Obviously, Germany has to figure out some other way to pay for their
> > > fossil fuel imports in the near future.
> > >
> >
> > Ah. You are referring to Germany as a car manufacturing nation. I thought
> > you were referring to Germany as the solar energy capital of the
> universe.
> Germany is a good demonstration why solar is anti-Moore. It's very easy
> to double very little, but just as in the grains of rice on a chessboard
> it suddenly turns sigmoid once you're in serious cash flow country.

I never thought installed solar was exponential without serious
installation automation, which is nearly impossible on roof tops. I was
under the impression that solar panels W/$ was exponential with a doubling
of 3.5 years, but I haven't done my own research on that one.

> > Thus my confusion.
> >
> > You never commented on whether we would have autonomous cruise control.
> We've been having autonomous cruise control for a while, the interesting
> part is where it's cheap enough for conventional cars, and the insurance
> issue is addressed. This can be rather soon, I'm not going to make a
> prediction because I expect significant disruption ahead, scrambling
> pretty every growth prognosis.

Well, in thinking it through, I'm not entirely sure that this is a bad
thing for Germany. While yes, the duty cycle on cars is dismal... If we
share a car, it will get 300K miles faster, requiring a replacement. That
will require building more cars if the total number of miles driven doesn't
decrease. Right???

> > > We are already off-Moore.
> >
> > In the transistors per square cm sense, we probably are. Though it's hard
> > to find data to support even that.
> Just as peak oil, such data is only visible a bit after the fact.
> Some have called it as early as 2011, we'll see it soon enough.

It is hard to figure out with the numbers out there.

On the optimistic side, however, one of the reasons we're off Moore in the
near future is because Intel is being secretive about what they are doing

> > Not in the dollars per computation realm, unless I'm missing something
> > basic. Honestly, I can't find much data on whether we're on or off Moore.
> > It's frustrating not to know.
> It is, most search engines are getting increasingly useless for
> technical queries.

I once tried to compare the computer on the lunar module to my desktop
computer. Eventually I had to give up because they were just so hard to
compare to each other, even having all the numbers in hand. It's a little
like comparing IQ... what is "twice as smart" anyway?

> > > The question is how long it will take until
> > > a different technology can pick up scaling, at least for a brief while
> > > (if you're at atomic limits in the surface, you're only a few doublings
> > > away from where your only option is to start doubling the volume).
> >
> > I don't have trouble with doubling the volume.
> Remember the grains of rice on a chessboard thing. Somebody has to pay
> for these and move these. In the beginning, it is very easy.

I get that it becomes more expensive. Intel is investing billions in the
future. If they bet right, they will stay on Moore for a while. If they bet
poorly, then we're in trouble.

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