[ExI] Limiting factor to the Intelligence Singularity?

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 21:25:54 UTC 2023

On Sat, Dec 23, 2023 at 8:40 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 23, 2023, 11:12 AM Kelly Anderson via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Einstein proposed that nothing could achieve the speed of light
>> because it gained mass as it got closer to that speed.
>> I wonder if something similar might affect intellectual progress.
> There is. Seth Lloyd describes the physical limits of computational speed and memory density, which are a function of just three physical constants (c, h-bar, and G): https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9908043

I have to read this more carefully, but I wonder if he got the
radiation limits right.

If Tabby's Star blinking is the result of huge data centers coming
between us and the star, then we have an example


> I would argue these computational bounds imply a physical bound on intelligence (which is limited by, and to an extent a function of, computation and memory).
> Roughly speaking, computational speed is a function of mass, while memory is a function of mass and volume. The greater the volume the more memory, but the slower non-parallelizable processing becomes. Energy use is a function of forgetting (erasing information) and background temperature. A reversible computer loses no information, and therefore need use no energy at all to run.
> The physical object with the fastest computation and memory density would look like a black hole:
> https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/black-hole-computers-2007-04/
>> Though there is no c there, so it might not hold together entirely.
>> Hang with this for a second though, as there is a counter exponential
>> at play.
>> As we grope into the future, there is a trend away from the single
>> brilliant inventor. Edison had a whole lab of people, some of whom
>> were clearly smarter than he. Eli Whitney pretty much invented the
>> cotton gin by himself relying on only a few simple precedent ideas. By
>> the time we get to super colliders, fusion reactors and rockets, you
>> need a village of scientists and engineers to make progress.
> I see echos of the memory / parallelism/ volume / speed trade-offs in physics reemerging here in the context of human brains, teams, remote work, etc. Very interesting.
>> Is it possible that the exponential curve towards the singularity has
>> a hidden negative signal of increased resistance to progress because
>> of the required size of the team? Might this be one reason that we
>> haven't yet progressed beyond the jumbo jet airliner? Is that
>> indicative of the future of a lot of things? How many Intel employees
>> does it take to design the next iteration of their CPU? Yes, they have
>> computational minds that help them with layout and such now... but you
>> can hardly say Oppenheimer was the inventor of the atomic bomb. He was
>> the face of the project and coordinated the efforts to some degree,
>> but you can't make that level of progress without a sea of minds. Musk
>> has ideas (or maybe his people do that too) and finances them, but the
>> actual work is carried forward by an army of engineering ants. As I
>> believe in emergence as a deep concept, I tend to see groups more than
>> individuals, though I value individual contribution greatly.
> Progress has loosely been a function of the number of inventors which is a function of population. There was a trend change in population growth in the 60s which seemed to alter the path we were on:
> https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/04/22/1960-the-year-the-singularity-was-cancelled/
> I don't know to what extent this may have forestalled thy singularity, however, as computers have been taking on an ever greater fraction of the cognitive load. I think we're still roughly on track for van Forrester's predictions of 2027 +/- 5 years.
>> Perhaps my mind has wandered too freely and it is time to go work on
>> my own, much simpler, inventions, as they seem to constantly be
>> broken.
> Thanks for your intriguing ideas. I appreciate them.
> Jason
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