[ExI] The second step towards immortality

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Tue Jan 7 12:11:52 UTC 2014

On 2014-01-07 07:42, Andrew Mckee wrote:
> On Tue, 07 Jan 2014 05:33:43 +1300, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> 
> wrote:
>> The transition from no human emulations and a world with emulation 
>> may also be gradual if it is computing-limited: at first you need 
>> major supercomputers to run an emulation in realtime, later Moores 
>> law allow the big ones to run faster or multiple cheaper realtime 
>> emulations, followed by ever faster and more numerous copies. In the 
>> scanning- or neuroscience-limited transition the need for planning 
>> ahead is larger.
> Ummm, but isn't Moore's law only two or 3  process shrinks away from 
> being stone cold dead?

Haven't people been saying that since day one? Actually, *Moore* did it 
in his original paper if I remember right. I have stopped listening to 
detailed worries like this (sorry, Eugene) and instead have turned to 
the data: when I fit logistic curves (implicitly assuming a stop) to 
flops/$/s the lower end of the 99% confidence interval is five orders of 
magnitude more powerful than today.

A world with merely 100,000 times better computers than today is likely 
a no-upload world: at least detailed biophysics is not going to be 
feasible outside giant installations. But I only give it a 1% chance of 
happening outside catastrophe scenarios.

> So how many super computers can this future energy grid support?

Depends on the other law in town, Koomey's law
Up until recently energy was not much of a design criterion, so I 
suspect we might even see an acceleration as we start caring more about 
energy than size. The limits are as always tricky to judge:

> The current IBM roadrunner does 376 million calculations per watts. If 
> we take my mid-range estimates of computing needs, 10^22 to 10^25 
> FLOPS, then a single emulation would need 10^13 to 10^16 watts. The 
> total insolation of Earth is about 10^17 watts, so this won't do - 
> there would be space for just a few minds on the entire planet. But 
> current research on zettaflops computing suggest we can do much 
> better. A DARPA exascale study suggests we can do 10^12 flops per 
> watt, which means "just" a dozen Hoover dams per mind.Quantum dot 
> cellular automata could give 10^19 flops per watt 
> <http://netalive.startlogic.com/debenedictis.org/erik/Publications-2005/Reversible-logic-for-supercomputing-p391-debenedictis.pdf>, 
> putting the energy needs at 200-2000 watts.

And reversible computations are way better, of course.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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