In the specific case of leakage, even if it is a problem that persists far into the future, it just slightly lowers the growth exponent as we just somewhat lower the clock speeds.

I disagree; I think that problems like this, unresolved, may or may not decrease the base of our exponent, but will cap its growth earlier.

I don't think that any single such current technical issue is nearly sufficient to change the general analysis. There have always been major issues on the horizon, the question is more of the increase in engineering difficulty as we progre

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A person running such a simulation could create a simulated afterlife, without suffering, where each simulated intelligence would go after dying in the simulated universe. It's like a nice version of Pascal's Wager, since there's no wagering involved. Such an afterlife wouldn't last infinitely long, but it could easily be made long enough to outweigh any suffering in the simulated universe.

-1jacob_cannell9yTechnology doesn't really advance through 'revolutions', it evolves. Some aspects of that evolution appear to be rather remarkably predictable. That aside, the current predictions do posit a slow-down around 2020 for the general lithography process, but there are plenty of labs researching alternatives. As the slow-down approaches, their funding and progress will accelerate. But there is a much more fundamental and important point to consider, which is that circuit shrinkage is just one dimension of improvement amongst several. As that route of improvement slows down, other routes will become more profitable. For example, for AGI algorithms, current general purpose CPUs are inefficient by a factor of perhaps around 10^4. That is a decade of exponential gain right there just from architectural optimization. This route - neuromorphic hardware and it's ilk - currently receives a tiny slice of the research budget, but this will accelerate as AGI advances and would accelerate even more if the primary route of improvement slowed. Another route of improvement is exponentially reducing manufacturing cost. The bulk of the price of high-end processors pays for the vast amortized R&D cost of developing the manufacturing node within the timeframe that the node is economical. Refined silicon is cheap and getting cheaper, research is expensive. The per transistor cost of new high-end circuitry on the latest nodes for a CPU or GPU is 100 times more expensive than the per transistor cost of bulk circuitry produced on slightly older nodes. So if moore's law stopped today, the cost of circuitry would still decay down to the bulk cost. This is particularly relevant to neurmorphic AGI designs as they can use a mass of cheap repetitive circuitry, just like the brain. So we have many other factors that will kick in even as moore's law slows. I suspect that we will hit a slow ramping wall around or by 2020, but these other factors will kick in and human-level AGI will ramp up, and t

Theists are wrong; is theism?

by Will_Newsome 1 min read20th Jan 2011539 comments


Many folk here on LW take the simulation argument (in its more general forms) seriously. Many others take Singularitarianism1 seriously. Still others take Tegmark cosmology (and related big universe hypotheses) seriously. But then I see them proceed to self-describe as atheist (instead of omnitheist, theist, deist, having a predictive distribution over states of religious belief, et cetera), and many tend to be overtly dismissive of theism. Is this signalling cultural affiliation, an attempt to communicate a point estimate, or what?

I am especially confused that the theism/atheism debate is considered a closed question on Less Wrong. Eliezer's reformulations of the Problem of Evil in terms of Fun Theory provided a fresh look at theodicy, but I do not find those arguments conclusive. A look at Luke Muehlhauser's blog surprised me; the arguments against theism are just not nearly as convincing as I'd been brought up to believe2, nor nearly convincing enough to cause what I saw as massive overconfidence on the part of most atheists, aspiring rationalists or no.

It may be that theism is in the class of hypotheses that we have yet to develop a strong enough practice of rationality to handle, even if the hypothesis has non-negligible probability given our best understanding of the evidence. We are becoming adept at wielding Occam's razor, but it may be that we are still too foolhardy to wield Solomonoff's lightsaber Tegmark's Black Blade of Disaster without chopping off our own arm. The literature on cognitive biases gives us every reason to believe we are poorly equipped to reason about infinite cosmology, decision theory, the motives of superintelligences, or our place in the universe.

Due to these considerations, it is unclear if we should go ahead doing the equivalent of philosoraptorizing amidst these poorly asked questions so far outside the realm of science. This is not the sort of domain where one should tread if one is feeling insecure in one's sanity, and it is possible that no one should tread here. Human philosophers are probably not as good at philosophy as hypothetical Friendly AI philosophers (though we've seen in the cases of decision theory and utility functions that not everything can be left for the AI to solve). I don't want to stress your epistemology too much, since it's not like your immortal soul3 matters very much. Does it?

Added: By theism I do not mean the hypothesis that Jehovah created the universe. (Well, mostly.) I am talking about the possibility of agenty processes in general creating this universe, as opposed to impersonal math-like processes like cosmological natural selection.

Added: The answer to the question raised by the post is "Yes, theism is wrong, and we don't have good words for the thing that looks a lot like theism but has less unfortunate connotations, but we do know that calling it theism would be stupid." As to whether this universe gets most of its reality fluid from agenty creators... perhaps we will come back to that argument on a day with less distracting terminology on the table.



1 Of either the 'AI-go-FOOM' or 'someday we'll be able to do lots of brain emulations' variety.

2 I was never a theist, and only recently began to question some old assumptions about the likelihood of various Creators. This perhaps either lends credibility to my interest, or lends credibility to the idea that I'm insane.

Or the set of things that would have been translated to Archimedes by the Chronophone as the equivalent of an immortal soul (id est, whatever concept ends up being actually significant).