[ExI] Limiting factor to the Intelligence Singularity?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Sun Dec 24 09:22:41 UTC 2023

On Sun, Dec 24, 2023, 12:21 AM Kelly Anderson via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

>> Something this small would likely be completely undetectable to us.
>> Further, if alien civilizations shift to using reversible computers, then
>> energy would no longer be a scarce resource to them as their computers
>> could run without consuming power.
>> Jason
> Jason,
> Reversible computation is possible. However it is not a free ride. That
> would be a perpetual motion machine and would violate the second law of
> thermodynamics which appears to be very well established physics.

Think of water in a glass. It's molecules bounce around forever, in
perpetual motion. It can do this because it does not rely on having a
concentrated energy source which must leak energy into the environment
until it reaches equilibrium, the glass of water is already at equilibrium
with the environment. A reversible computer is the same way, it need not
leak any energy into the environment unless it irreversibility erases a bit.

When you harvest a result that is not reversed. So don't think of it as
> free.

It is interesting that the laws of physics are reversible and that
information is conserved in all physical interactions. This means a
computer simulation of the physics of our universe can be run on a
reversible computer for free.

We could run brain emulations and simulate realities on such computers and
never need to harvest the result -- as the result we're after is what
happens in, and what is experienced in, the simulation itself. Perhaps it
is no coincidence that our observed physical laws are reversible.

It's more like an electric car that gets some energy back from generating
> electricity from breaking. That doesn't mean you're going to travel a
> thousand miles for nothing.

True, it doesn't imply the computer will use zero energy, but it does mean
the amount of energy required per operation can be arbitrarily small, and
it can always be improved through better engineering. For an analogy,
consider regenerative braking technology applied to vehicles that operate
in a vacuum and with completely rigid wheels and how close to unity those
vehicles might get compared to vehicles of today. We can never get to 100%
efficiency, but we can get arbitrarily close.

Consider how long it takes a black hole to radiate away, and how many
computational steps might occur within the lifetime of that black hole

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