[ExI] Benchmarking the Singularity

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sat Jul 20 00:09:23 UTC 2019

On Fri, Jul 19, 2019 at 3:18 PM Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:

Hi Stuart, thanks for an absolutely first rate post, it was detailed yet
clear. Really really good.

> *The hilarious irony of the situation is that if my theory is correct,
> then a human brain has to subconsciously perform tensor analysis in order
> to reach the conclusion that it is lousy at math.*

Damn, I wish I'd said that!

> *> In other words, in terms of total number of neurons, the  human brain
> is some 4 million times larger than AlphaGo's. In terms of  synapses it is
> likewise on order 10^6 times smaller than the human  brain.*

I doubt a computer would  need a million times more synapses to beat us at
all intellectual tasks, for one thing the average informational signal in
our brain moves about as fast as a car does on a turnpike while the
informational signal in a computer moves at close to the speed of light.
And I would bet money that the artificial neurons in AlphaGo's brain are
organized in a more efficient less buggy way than the neurons in our brain

A raven's brain is only about 17 cubic centimeters, a chimpanzees brain is
over 400, and yet a raven is about as smart as a chimp. And the African
Grey Parrot has demonstrated an understanding of human language at least as
deep as that of a chimpanzee and probably deeper, this despite the fact
that the chimp's brain is about 25 times as large. I suppose that when
there was evolutionary pressure to become smarter a flying creature
couldn't just develop a bigger, heavier more energy hogging brain; instead
of the brute force approach it had to organize the small light brain it
already had in more efficient ways. Our brains are about 1400 cm, but I'll
bet centimeter by centimeter ravens are smarter than we are. Being called a
birdbrain may not be an insult after all. For this reason I believe if one
wishes to study the nature of intelligence then crows and ravens would be
ideal candidates, compared with other animals their brains would be more
elegantly designed and have less spaghetti code and hard to understand

> * > Taking the average of the given range of 5 to 45 years, is 25 years.
> But this assumes that Moore's law continues unabated.*

I would be surprised if it happened in less than 10 years and equally
surprised if it didn't happen until after 2100, but it is the nature of a
singularity to be surprised.

> *> On the other hand, the emergence of quantum computing stands to disrupt
> everything,  *

There are a number of different approaches to quantum computing and lots of
companies are starting to put some real money into it, but Microsoft (of
all people!) is going with a high risk high reward strategy. Microsoft is
trying to use Majorana Fermions to build a Topological Quantum Computer. It
may not work at all but if it does they'll quickly blow everybody else in
the field out of the water. They probably won't but Microsoft could
surprise us.

> * > Sorry, I couldn't be more precise in my estimates but to quote Yoda,
> "Difficult to see; Always in motion is the future."*

Predicting is hard, especially the future.

John K Clark
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