Re: Singularity Arrival Estimate

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Fri May 17 2002 - 08:55:29 MDT

> Progress measured in what?

The rate of change of technology in general.

> Can you cite any data backing up this idea of yours?

The pace of technology change has increased over
human history, as has the human population. Since
the human brain hasn't changed size significantly
in the past 10,000 years, it is reasonable to assume
the average 'inventiveness' hasn't either. Thus
the rate of generation of new ideas, and thus the
pace of progress, would be simply proportional to the
human population. This is the simplest hypothesis.

In general, you can create a range of hypotheses or
models in which the rate of progress is a function
of quantity of intelligence and quality of
intelligence. In the example above, it is assumed
that only quantity contributes. In the second
example from my previous post, only the quality
factor was assumed to contribute. I think in reality
there is a contribution from both factors. So
to come up with my projection, I took both
extremes and averaged them.
> > We start by assuming the human brain
> > is worth 10^17 bits/sec of processing power
> > plus or minus a factor of 100. Annual
> That's an ad hoc number. No one really knows.
The 10^17 figure is the number of synapses in the
brain (10^15) times the average firing rate of
the synapses (100 Hz). The uncertainty is whether
there is a lot of redundancy in the brain's wiring
or whether a synapse firing represents more than
one bit of data, and also how much of the brain is
used for running the rest of the body and thus might
not be needed for pure thinking.

While I don't know which hypothesis is correct,
the interesting thing to me is they lead to similar
answers as to timeframe.


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