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John Henery’s Final Stand – Sledge to the mind

Ray Kurswiel has done the most to identify the exponential performance growth that is characteristic of evolutionary processes.  The present discussion by Kursweil has centered on the idea that we will, at some point in time, create a computer that has equal intelligence as a human brain.  Kursweil forces on a point where the cost of a human equivalent computer will be $1,000 in today’s dollars.

The entire analysis focuses on human-level performance but lacks a human-based value benchmark.  In order to understand the impending technological equivalence in greater detail it is important to model the value dynamics of machines, including computers, vs. the well-established value dynamics (wages) associated with humans.

Getting back to singularity theory, it is important to evaluate it’s real prospects.  Let’s do a thought experiment; say you can only use technologies that exist today to duplicate the functions of the human brain.  Are there things available to act as fibers and logic for neurons?  For the axons and dendrites you could use carbon nano-tubes and for the switch you could use a memristor.  Through a process of additive manufacturing it should be possible to construct, layer by layer, a replica human brain.  You may be wondering how you could possibly know how all of the circuits should connect.  MIT researchers have established methods for tracing the neural circuitry of a human brain, each cell at a time.  This process is slow and requires expensive equipment but, none the less,  given enough time a complete map of the human brain will be created.

Note: Part of this assessment should be a graph of the cost of a slave over time.  It should be interesting to chart this against the performance of technology to do a particular type of work.  Track the “John Henry points” where humans became no longer better than technology at a particular task followed by when a particular technology became cost-competitive for the first time with a person doing the same task.  This should be interesting with respect to computation because it is recent history.  How often do these jobs simply go away and how often do these jobs remain but the prices paid simply drop and drop.  For instance, phone operators are still part of the telecommunication system in Indonesia…  How much can they get paid?  This is a story that isn’t being told…  This is an important story to tell for the future of humanity and the dignity of sentient creatures.

There is a moral dimension to creating and destroying strong AIs if we continue to value the value of awareness as we do now.

I think I will be able to write a good book about this if I use the model developed by Chris Anderson as he developed the long tail.

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