[ExI] Benchmarking the Singularity

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun Jul 21 11:29:27 UTC 2019

On Sat, Jul 20, 2019 at 6:26 PM William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>

> I do not have the knowledge to challenge your statement that intelligent
> design produces fewer errors than DNA,

The fundamental problem isn't with DNA but with the process of Evolution
itself, here are a few reasons for it's poor performance, the most
important one is the last:

1) Time Lags: Evolution is so slow the animal is adapted to conditions that
no longer exist. that's why moths have an instinct to fly into candle
flames. I have no doubt that if you just give them a million years or so
Evolution  will give hedgehogs a better defense  than rolling up into a
ball when confronted by their major predator, the automobile. The only
problem is that  by then there won't be any automobiles.

2) Historical Constraints: The eye of all vertebrate animals is backwards.
The connective tissue of the retina is on the wrong side so light must pass
through it before it hits the light sensitive cells. And the nerve caring
the visual information to the brain must pass through the retina causing a
blind spot. There's no doubt all this degrades vision and we'd be better
off if the retina was reversed as it is in squids whose eye evolved
independently, but It's too late for that to happen now because the
intermediate forms would not be viable.
Once a standard is set, with all its interlocking mechanisms it's very
difficult to abandon it completely, even when much better methods are
found. That's why we still have inches and yards even though the metric
system is clearly superior.  You mentioned Windows and that's why it's
still around, Nature is enormously conservative, it may add new things but
it doesn't abandon the old because the intermediate stages must also work.
That's also why we have all the old brain structures that lizards have as
well as new ones.

3) Lack of Genetic Variation : Mutations are random and you might not get
the mutation you need when you need it. Feathers work better for flight
than the skin flaps bats use, but bats never produced the right mutations
for feathers and skin flaps are good enough.

4) Constraints of Costs and Materials: Life is a tangle of trade offs and
compromises. An Advantage on one Level is a Disadvantage on Another. One
gene can give you resistance to malaria, a second identical gene will give
you sickle cell anemia.

5) Evolution  has no foresight: This is the most important reason of all. A
jet engine works better than a prop engine in an airplane. I give you a
prop engine and tell you to turn it into a jet, BUT you must do it while
the engine is running, and you must do it in one million small steps, and
you must do it so every one of those small steps improves the operation of
the engine. Eventually you would get an improved engine of some sort, but
it wouldn't look anything like a jet. If the tire on your car is getting
worn you can take it off and put a new one on, but evolution could never do
something like that, because when you take the old tire off you have
temporally made things worse, now you have no tire at all. With evolution
EVERY step (generation), no matter how small, MUST be an immediate
improvement over the previous one. And it can't think more than one step
ahead, it doesn't understand one step backward two steps forward, but a
intelligent designer, like a human, can

> > but it does seem that much software is extremely buggy.  Look at the
> other discussion by Stewart angry with MS and Windows.

Intelligence has been designing MS Windows for about 35 years but Evolution
has been "designing" DNA for 3.5 BILLION years, and yet the vagus nerve
that connects the brain of a giraffe to its larynx is over 15 feet long
even though the two organs are less than a foot apart, the vagus nerve runs
all the way down the neck and then double backs and goes back up the neck
to the larynx. If Evolution could think ahead that would never happen, but
it can't and it can't backtrack either and start over because every change
it makes must improve things *right now*.

And speaking of DNA, that places an upper bound on how complex a seed AI
would have to be. In the entire human genome there are only 3 billion base
pairs. There are 4 bases so each base can represent 2 bits, there are 8
bits per byte so that comes out to 750 meg. Just 750 meg, that's about the
same amount of information as an old CD disk could hold when they first
came out 40 years ago! And the 750 meg isn't even efficiently coded, there
is a ridiculous amount of redundancy in the human genome. And much of it
codes for things that have nothing to do with the brain or intelligence.
And yet that tiny amount of information was enough to reshape the surface
of a planet.

John K Clark
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20190721/9a6c6b5a/attachment.htm>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list