Quote note (#133)

Hugo de Garis on the irrelevance of cyborgs:

Let’s start with some basic assumptions. Let the grain of sand be a 1 mm cube (i.e. 10^-3 m on a side). Assume the molecules in the sand have a cubic dimension of 1 nm on a side (i.e. 10^-9 m). Let each molecule consist of 10 atoms (for the purposes of an “order of magnitude” calculation). Assume the grain of sand has been nanoteched such that each atom can switch its state usefully in a femto-second (i.e. 10^-15 of a second). Assume the computational capacity of the human brain is 10^16 bits per second (i.e. 100 billion neurons in the human brain, times 10,000, the average number of connections between neurons, times 10, the maximum number of bits per second firing rate at each interneuronal (synaptic) connection = 10^11*10^4 *10^1 = 10^16. I will now show that the nanoteched grain of sand has a total bit switching (computational) rate that is a factor of a quintillion (a million trillion) times larger than the brain’s 10^16 bits per second. How many sand molecules in the cubic mm? Answer:– a million cubed, i.e. 10^18, with each of the 10 atoms per molecule switching 10^15 times per second, so a total switching (bits per second) rate of 10^18 times 10^15 times 10^1 = 10^34. This is 10^34/10^16 = 10^18 times greater, i.e. a million trillion, or a quintillion.

OK, but that’s coarse sand …

Ben Goertzel chips in:

According to the Bekenstein bound the number of bits possibly storable in the matter comprising a human brain is around 10^42. Factoring in the smaller diameter and mass of a grain of sand, one decreases this number by a few powers of ten, arriving at an estimate around 10^35 or so for the sand grain. Compare this to estimates in the range 10^13 – 10^20 for the human brain, based on our current understanding of psychology and neuroscience [http://www.merkle.com/humanMemory.html]. Of course, a human brain cannot approach the Bekenstein bound without being restructured so as to constitute some very non-human-brain-like strange matter. A cyborg combining a human brain with a grain of “sand” composed of strange matter that approaches the Bekenstein bound, would potentially contain 10^35 bits in the femtotech sand grain component, and 10^21 bits or so bits in the legacy-human-brain component.

Much follows …

November 26, 2014admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology

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23 Responses to this entry

  • Krelian Says:

    Yes…

    Perhaps very soon, memristor based memories and memcomputing devices will begin to hit the market. Many people don’t fully comprehend the importance of it just yet, however–for those who seek the forbidden knowledge–the basic idea is that memcomputing moves computation into the memory cell itself, making the transition from a conventional deterministic Turing machine to that of a non-deterministic Turing machine. Despite what one might at first think, it is far more powerful than our idealized model of a general purpose quantum computer. When you have an NTM, suddenly those NP-complete/equiv problems that have been tormenting you can be solved in polynomial time with linear or quadratic computational resources. Effectively brute forcing the NP-P barrier and getting you much closer to the Bekenstein bound.

    Those who believe the rift to the nightmarish plane of cyber horrors will remain closed are going to be in for a shock.

    [Reply]

    R. Reply:

    There is already self-modifying code. I fail to see how memristors would enable self-modifying code that’d know which comptuational path to take …

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 26th, 2014 at 6:09 am Reply | Quote
  • Brother Nihil Says:

    This Singularitarian speculation must be some bizarre new kind of theology. “Artilects”? “Cosmists” vs. “Terrans”? “Nanotech”? “Quantum computing”? Does such abstraction serve any purpose beyond mental [violation of Onan’s law]? Shouldn’t the fact that none of these things exist except in these nuts’ imaginations incline a sane person to say, at best: “show me these things, or get yourself to an asylum!”

    See also De Garis’ book “Multis and Monos: What the Multicultured Can Teach the Monocultured : Towards the Creation of a Global State” to see how dangerous people this detached from reality can be. Singularitarianism is like Progressivism, but exponential and involving bits instead of people. Surely nerds like this deserve to have sand kicked in their face and their girlfriends stolen, if not much worse?

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Surely nerds like this deserve to have sand kicked in their face and their girlfriends stolen, if not much worse?

    That probably happened to them a long time ago. How many ideologies are revenge fantasies?

    (There will be many forces that will be opposed to the creation of a global state, e.g., nationalism, national sovereignty, cultural differences, the clash of ideologies, religious differences, charity begins at home attitudes, cultural inertia, cultural alienation, etc. To overcome these formidable barriers that kept nations and mentalities apart in the 20th century, the “Globists,” i.e., those people in favor of “Globism,” the creation of “Globa,” the global state, will need to organize and spread their Globist ideology. …

    The Globists will need to organize at a local level, at a regional level, a national level, at a continental level, and eventually at a global level. They will need their symbols, their logos, their flag, their ideology, their anthem, their political programs, etc., and will then need to proselytize the world.

    Globists could be active in researching and setting up the globiversities, the GSL (Global Satellite Learning), designing cheap smuggle-able vids for the world’s poor, pouring scorn on the nationalists (e.g., jeering at national anthems, etc.), making their presence felt all around the globe, pushing towards a grand vision: creation of a global state, riddance of war, banning the arms trade, scrapping nuclear weapons, education of the world’s population, and removal of world poverty. …

    Once a global state (“Globa”) has been established, it will have its work cut out for it. The first thing it will have to do is set up a slew of new institutions, most of which will be analogous to national institutions as we know them today, e.g., create a global constitution, a global president, a global parliament, global political parties, global laws, a global civil service, global police, a global court, a global military, globiversities, global taxation, global wealth distribution, global resource management, global trade unions, global incomes policy, a global currency unit (the “Globo”), global health insurance, etc.

    Once the establishment of these institutions is well en route, Globa would then need to tackle the planet’s major problems, e.g. it would need to create a globist ethics and globist propaganda, to undertake global nuclear disarmament, ban the global arms trade, meet the global environmental challenges, eliminate global poverty, establish a global taxation policy, as well as a global incomes and raw materials policy, global education, global population migration, foster greater global happiness rather than economic wealth, etc.)

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    Animating Myth:

    The “nerd” wrests the girl from the “thug” boyfriend without a confrontation that exposes the “nerds” weakness.

    Or, at worst, the “nerd” gets a slightly bloodied nose…. and the girl.

    though, at bottom, may only be:

    What is NRx’s obsession with Gnon and AI?

    In simple terms, could it be the expression of pseudo-intellectuals (who consider subjugation to another human as beneath them, yet are “clearly too intelligent” to believe in a “flying-spaghetti monster”) desperate attempt to create “deus ex machina” (with data, lots of lots of precious data) and allow themselves to finally get back on their knees with a good conscience?

    All the more comical when admin finds “the indications of an Occidental desire for enslavement or destruction by Islam” “hideously plausible.”

    e.g.

    A cyborg combining a human brain with a grain of “sand” composed of strange matter that approaches the Bekenstein bound, would potentially contain 10^35 bits in the femtotech sand grain component, and 10^21 bits or so bits in the legacy-human-brain component.

    e.g.

    Once the establishment of these institutions is well en route, Globa would then need to tackle the planet’s major problems, e.g. it would need to create a globist ethics and globist propaganda, to undertake global nuclear disarmament, ban the global arms trade, meet the global environmental challenges, eliminate global poverty, establish a global taxation policy, as well as a global incomes and raw materials policy, global education, global population migration, foster greater global happiness rather than economic wealth, etc.)

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Globa is a vastly more unattractive outcome than a Gigadeath War IMHO (de Garis, of course, thinks we’re going to get both.)

    [Reply]

    R. Reply:

    Surely nerds like this deserve to have sand kicked in their face and their girlfriends stolen, if not much worse?

    There’s already a song about technofuturistic nerd revenge fantasies..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeV9gsl5jR0

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 26th, 2014 at 7:15 am Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    I like Hugo de Garis, and I always find his writings and interviews extremely interesting, but… Nanoetching on an atomic level? You couldn’t do it optically, as the wavelength of light is too long to resolve individual atoms. (Field ion microscopes are perhaps a sort of exception, but they’re very limited instruments, and more like ion-traps than optical microscopes in any case.) Chemical etching is much more coarse than optical etching — and the only chemical etching agents that I know of are molecules also far too large to resolve individual atoms. I just can’t really see how this would work. And if it doesn’t work — or if it becomes reality in the very distant as opposed to the relatively near future — then de Garis’s entire hypothesis becomes largely irrelevant.

    …Any fabrication ideas, anybody?

    Cyborgs — much more limited than those de Garis proposes — are almost certainly a near-future reality. The effective manipulation of matter on a truly atomic scale, and the manufacture of fully-optimized computronium from grains of sand, is perhaps a less likely proposition.

    [Reply]

    Michael Anissimov Reply:

    >never having heard of molecular manufacturing
    >being this pleb

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Drexler-style molecular manufacturers still belong primarily to the realm of science fiction — whereas cyborgs are an immediate near-future reality. Besides, I think that the merits of molecular manufacturing lie more in the proven assembly of supramolecular mechanical devices, as opposed to the uncertain assembly of a vast array of stable and fully-functional atomic switches. (Which, as de Garis presented it, cannot be produced via optical means and would be very difficult to produce via chemical or other means. The “single atom transistors” which exist right now are relatively large and extremely limited systems.)

    What de Garis is suggesting — a solid block of material “nanoteched such that each atom can switch its state usefully in a femto-second” — just doesn’t seem likely. Not in the near future, at any rate, and perhaps not at all. Until there’s a plausible explanation for how exactly that grain of sand was “nanoteched”, this remains science fiction. (And not particularly hard science fiction, at that.) There may “be no cyborgs” in an uncertain and relatively distant future, but there’ll certainly be cyborgs before we’ve invented computronium.

    [Reply]

    Different T Reply:

    Lest some forget, this site was at least originally related to MM and Patchwork govt, “race realism”, the “problem” of democracy, blah, blah, blah.

    And here Land feels it is important to note “that the nanoteched grain of sand has a total bit switching (computational) rate that is a factor of a quintillion (a million trillion) times larger than the brain’s 10^16 bits per second.”

    It’s a quintillion fucking times larger!

    admin Reply:

    @ Different Y — It’s a quote, goddamit.

    Different T Reply:

    Dams are built on flowing waters, not under-oxygenated ponds gradually becoming cesspools.

    Do not flatter yourself.

    ———

    What does the inclusion of this “quote” signify. If it were dismissed as ridiculous, would a follow up comment read “Globa is a vastly more unattractive outcome than a Gigadeath War IMHO (de Garis, of course, thinks we’re going to get both.)” Gaming out the possibilities seems to indicate it is not only a quote.

    If the substance of such a quote is viewed as a possibility “worth exploring” (or to use the corrupt language of this place, an inevitability), surely you cede that helping (or hoping) the “Cathedral” to keep it together for a while longer is a sound strategy (even if not of your taste). After all, what is race when faced with a quintillion times the computational power of a brain? What do the current quibbles about government have to do with such a future? Is the ridiculousness of this babbling in the face of such an event why you consider yourself a “pitiably stupid ape?”

    “Just a while longer” is likely very much what you could imagine some tech exec telling himself in a moment of doubt, just before his dominatrix shits on his face. “Just a while longer, and it’ll all be anew.”

    But, hey, that exec paid the dominatrix good money and received quite a service. TechComm FTMFW!

    Posted on November 26th, 2014 at 8:41 am Reply | Quote
  • Hurlock Says:

    Well…I don’t know. I read De Garis’s page on wikipedia and was just instantly reminded of this passage by Ligotti:

    “According to one gang of futurists, an event pompusly ennobled as the “the Singularity” will occur. What the fallout of the Singularity might be
    is unknown. It could begin a dynamic new chapter in human evolution . . . or it could
    trumpet the end of the world. The prophesized leap will be jumpstarted by computer
    gadgetry and somehow will involve artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic
    engineering, and other habiliments of high technology. According to another gang of
    futurists, the Singularity will not happen: we will go on with our lives as stumblebums
    of the same old story, puppets of a script we did not write and cannot read.
    Understandably, the former view is more exciting than the latter, the more so in that an
    apocalypse has been inserted as a wild card. In this sense, the Singularity is the secular
    counterpart of the Christian rapture, and its true believers foresee it as happening within
    the lifetime of many who are alive today, as the earliest Christians, not to mention those
    of subsequent ages, believed in the imminence of Judgment Day.

    Whether heaven or hell awaits us, the critical aspect of the Singularity is that it provides a diversion for those among the technological elite who are ever on the lookout for twinkling baubles to replace the ones with which they have grown bored. The Singularity encapsulates a perennial error among the headliners of science: that there has never been nor will ever be the least qualitative difference between the earliest single-celled organisms and any human or machine conceivable or not conceivable in a world whose future is without a destination. That we are going nowhere is not a curable fate; that we must go nowhere at the fastest possible velocity just might be curable, although probably not. Either way, it makes no difference. […] Given the excitements promised by the Singularity, odds are that it will collect a clientele of hopefuls who want to get a foot in the future, for nobody
    doubts that tomorrow will be better than today. More and more it becomes clear that if
    indeed human consciousness is a mistake, it is the most farcical one this planet has ever
    seen.”

    Emphasis on the last sentence. I always try to keep this passage in mind, lest I myself get carried away in my futurist fantasies.

    Anyways, more to the point, do we have the tech for this? Yes I get the idea in theory, but if as Erebus says, the tech is not here yet or not even close to here, then why should we care? Cyborgs are still more relevant as we arguably already have the tech for various cybernetic human enhancements.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 26th, 2014 at 1:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Don’t despair, human distractions always come along in the form of great events.

    And in them is both hope and despair.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 27th, 2014 at 12:01 am Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    He’s very “open-minded,” isn’t he? A very clever silly. Hear him at 23 min talking about China for example (his mouth and voice not syncing perhaps suggesting that it’s not his mouth he’s talking out of). –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw5m-Zl8r4Y

    [Reply]

    Ambacti Reply:

    Listened to the whole thing, the video is depressing as hell. De Garis is the Bobby Fischer of AI.

    Highlights include:

    Lives in China with his Chinese wife. Seems like he’s out of work and she supports him.

    He hates Chinese people and refuses to learn Chinese.

    Stays locked indoors and spends nights on internet.

    Derisively calls average people “peakers” as in peak of the the bell curve, he has nothing to do with them.

    Call wise people like himself “sages”, he is the only sage in his family.

    He gets most of his political information from youtube videos.

    Jews did holocaust and 9/11

    He believe the Rothschilds want to create an undemorcratic world government headquartered in Jerusalem, as opposed to his plan to create a democratic world government… not headquarted in Jerusalem.

    Calls Jews “meeJews”, not sure what that is about.

    David Icke’s“Jews are space reptiles theory” bandied about unsarcastically.

    Wishes he were a Jew.

    TheRavagesofAutism.mpeg – 8/10 would watch again.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    No signs of swastika revaunchism? I guess that’s why it’s only an 8/10

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 27th, 2014 at 2:07 am Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot over the past day. I believe that there’s no practical way for a top-down approach to work. A bottom-up approach — starting with the manipulation of subatomic protons and electrons in some sort of electromagnetic field that allows for their manipulation — may not be entirely inconceivable, but the technology we’d need isn’t in our near-future, and I don’t know what quantum effects and other issues one might run into. Not my area of expertise, I’m afraid. This sort of thing isn’t nanotech or even picotech. It’s smaller than that.

    Back to reality:
    I’ve been spending a lot of time working, professionally, with nacre. Nacre, or mother-of-pearl, is a nanostructured material with a staggered bricks-and-mortar arrangement. The ‘bricks’ are crystallites of calcium carbonate as aragonite, approximately 300nm thick, 10-15µm in diameter, and with a grain size of around 30nm. The mortar is a mixture of elastic proteins mostly comprising conchiolin and peptides with names like n16N. What’s interesting about this material is that aragonite in itself is very brittle, but nacre is extremely tough, despite the fact that it’s 95% aragonite by weight. Nacre’s structure, due to bridging, twisting, and crack-propagation defeat effects, amplifies its stiffness, strength, and toughness to degrees unmatched by any synthetic structured material. Nothing even comes close.

    Synthetic nacre — with solid “nano-bricks” of a material far harder and more resilient than aragonite, and a “mortar” far tougher and more elastic than those proteins (for instance: Silicon carbide ceramic plates in a nanotube-toughened biopolymer — e.g. chitosan — matrix) — would make for armors, surgical implants, and structural materials of downright astounding resiliency.

    …Unfortunately it’s extremely difficult to make such things. Almost all attempts at synthetic nacre with thin films and laminates have failed, and the crude and limited successes mentioned in the scientific literature are not worth mentioning here.

    Now, with all that said, I can get to the point: Making thick sheets of synthetic super-tough nacre has got to be about a quintillion times less complicated than making an array of single-atom switches. We don’t yet have the former; we’re nowhere near the latter. And let’s not forget that nacre, although truly nanostructured, is a dumb and extremely coarse thing when compared to computronium…

    I really like this blog’s technical and scientific “digressions” (if that’s how some perceive them!) and I appreciate de Garis and his visionary works, for, at the very least, they inspire reverie. However, in this particular case I think that he’s glossed-over the hard part — how that grain of sand could possibly be so “nanoteched” — and rushed straight to the easy part — what the social and political implications of such “nanoteching” would be.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 27th, 2014 at 9:50 am Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    Indeed, de Garis appears to have been over-promising and under-delivering throughout his entire career.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 28th, 2014 at 12:20 am Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    De Garis appears to have gone full retard. You never go full retard….

    I haven’t been following him and only read about him and his work in the past in mainstream outlets where he came across as pretty sober minded, so it’s kind of funny to see him go full retard.

    Just shows you what internet addiction and watching too many Youtube videos can do. He mentions that Youtube videos are his primary way of learning about things….

    “MEJews” stands for “massively evil Jews”. He seems to use the term as well as talk about the space lizards thing with complete earnestness.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 28th, 2014 at 2:17 am Reply | Quote

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