By Martin Grandjean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_visualization#/media/File:Social_Network_Analysis_Visualization.png
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A new approach to predicting brain-computer parity

How large does a computer need to be before it is ‘as powerful’ as the human brain? This is a difficult question, which people have answered before, with much uncertainty. We have a new answer! (Longer description here;

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Preliminary prices for human-level hardware

Computer hardware has been getting cheap now for about seventy five years. Relatedly, large computing projects can afford to be increasingly large. If you think the human brain is something like a really impressive computer, then a

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What’s up with nuclear weapons?

When nuclear weapons were first built, the explosive power you could extract from a tonne of explosive skyrocketed. But why? Here’s a guess. Until nuclear weapons, explosives were based on chemical reactions. Whereas nuclear weapons are based on nuclear

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Multipolar research questions

The Multipolar AI workshop we ran a fortnight ago went well, and we just put up a list of research projects from it. I hope this is helpful inspiration to those of you thinking about applying to the new FLI grants in the

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How AI timelines are estimated

A natural approach to informing oneself about when human-level AI will arrive is to check what experts who have already investigated the question say about it. So we made this list of analyses that we could find. It’s a short list, though the bar for ‘analysis’ was

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At-least-human-level-at-human-cost AI

Often, when people are asked ‘when will human-level AI arrive?’ they suggest that it is a meaningless or misleading term. I think they have a point. Or several, though probably not as many as they think

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Penicillin and syphilis

Penicillin was a hugely important discovery. But was it a discontinuity in the normal progression of research, or just an excellent discovery which followed a slightly less excellent discovery, and so on? There are several

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The slow traversal of ‘human-level’

Once you have normal-human-level AI, how long does it take to get Einstein-level AI? We have seen that a common argument for ‘not long at all’ based on brain size does not work in a straightforward way, though a

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Making or breaking a thinking machine

Here is a superficially plausible argument: the brains of the slowest humans are almost identical to those of the smartest humans. And thus—in the great space of possible intelligence—the ‘human-level’ band must be very narrow. Since all humans are basically identical in

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Are AI surveys seeing the inside view?

An interesting thing about the survey data on timelines to human-level AI is the apparent incongruity between answers to ‘when will human-level AI arrive?’ and answers to ‘how much of the way to human-level AI have we come recently?‘ In particular, human-level AI