Eliezer Yudkowsky


Quantum Physics
Fun Theory
Ethical Injunctions
The Bayesian Conspiracy
Three Worlds Collide
Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners
Inadequate Equilibria
The Craft and the Community
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Wiki Contributions


Well, one sink to avoid here is neutral-genie stories where the AI does what you asked, but not what you wanted.  That's something I wrote about myself, yes, but that was in the era before deep learning took over everything, when it seemed like there was a possibility that humans would be in control of the AI's preferences.  Now neutral-genie stories are a mindsink for a class of scenarios where we have no way to achieve entrance into those scenarios; we cannot make superintelligences want particular things or give them particular orders - cannot give them preferences in a way that generalizes to when they become smarter.

Okay, if you're not saying GPUs are getting around as efficient as the human brain, without much more efficiency to be eeked out, then I straightforwardly misunderstood that part.

Nothing about any of those claims explains why the 10,000-fold redundancy of neurotransmitter molecules and ions being pumped in and out of the system is necessary for doing the alleged complicated stuff.

Further item of "these elaborate calculations seem to arrive at conclusions that can't possibly be true" - besides the brain allegedly being close to the border of thermodynamic efficiency, despite visibly using tens of thousands of redundant physical ops in terms of sheer number of ions and neurotransmitters pumped; the same calculations claim that modern GPUs are approaching brain efficiency, the Limit of the Possible, so presumably at the Limit of the Possible themselves.

This source claims 100x energy efficiency from substituting some basic physical analog operations for multiply-accumulate, instead of digital transistor operations about them, even if you otherwise use actual real-world physical hardware.  Sounds right to me; it would make no sense for such a vastly redundant digital computation of such a simple physical quantity to be anywhere near the borders of efficiency!  https://spectrum.ieee.org/analog-ai

This does not explain how thousands of neurotransmitter molecules impinging on a neuron and thousands of ions flooding into and out of cell membranes, all irreversible operations, in order to transmit one spike, could possibly be within one OOM of the thermodynamic limit on efficiency for a cognitive system (running at that temperature).

And it says:

So true 8-bit equivalent analog multiplication requires about 100k carriers/switches

This just seems utterly wack.  Having any physical equivalent of an analog multiplication fundamentally requires 100,000 times the thermodynamic energy to erase 1 bit?  And "analog multiplication down to two decimal places" is the operation that is purportedly being carried out almost as efficiently as physically possible by... an axon terminal with a handful of synaptic vesicles dumping 10,000 neurotransmitter molecules to flood around a dendritic terminal (molecules which will later need to be irreversibly pumped back out), which in turn depolarizes and starts flooding thousands of ions into a cell membrane (to be later pumped out) in order to transmit the impulse at 1m/s?  That's the most thermodynamically efficient a physical cognitive system can possibly be?  This is approximately the most efficient possible way to turn all those bit erasures into thought?

This sounds like physical nonsense that fails a basic sanity check.  What am I missing?

I'm confused at how somebody ends up calculating that a brain - where each synaptic spike is transmitted by ~10,000 neurotransmitter molecules (according to a quick online check), which then get pumped back out of the membrane and taken back up by the synapse; and the impulse is then shepherded along cellular channels via thousands of ions flooding through a membrane to depolarize it and then getting pumped back out using ATP, all of which are thermodynamically irreversible operations individually - could possibly be within three orders of magnitude of max thermodynamic efficiency at 300 Kelvin.  I have skimmed "Brain Efficiency" though not checked any numbers, and not seen anything inside it which seems to address this sanity check.

Nobody in the US cared either, three years earlier.  That superintelligence will kill everyone on Earth is a truth, and once which has gotten easier and easier to figure out over the years.  I have not entirely written off the chance that, especially as the evidence gets more obvious, people on Earth will figure out this true fact and maybe even do something about it and survive.  I likewise am not assuming that China is incapable of ever figuring out this thing that is true.  If your opinion of Chinese intelligence is lower than mine, you are welcome to say, "Even if this is true and the West figures out that it is true, the CCP could never come to understand it".  That could even be true, for all I know, but I do not have present cause to believe it.  I definitely don't believe it about everyone in China; if it were true and a lot of people in the West figured it out, I'd expect a lot of individual people in China to see it too.

From a high-level perspective, it is clear that this is just wrong. Part of what human brains are doing is to minimise prediction error with regard to sensory inputs

I didn't say that GPT's task is harder than any possible perspective on a form of work you could regard a human brain as trying to do; I said that GPT's task is harder than being an actual human; in other words, being an actual human is not enough to solve GPT's task.

If diplomacy failed, but yes, sure.  I've previously wished out loud for China to sabotage US AI projects in retaliation for chip export controls, in the hopes that if all the countries sabotage all the other countries' AI projects, maybe Earth as a whole can "uncoordinate" to not build AI even if Earth can't coordinate.

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