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The bonds of family and community: Poverty and cruelty among Russian peasants in the late 19th century

I've no real insight to add, but would just like to comment that this generally lines up with the picture Steven Pinker paints in books like "Better Angels of Our Nature" and "Enlightenment Now".

The biological intelligence explosion

Thanks for a good comment.  My oversimplified thought process was that a 10x increase in energy usage for the brain would equate to a ~2x increase in total energy usage.  Since we're able to maintain that kind of energy use during exercise, and elite athletes can maintain that for many hours/day, it seems reasonable that the heart and other organs could maintain this kind of output.

However, the issue you bring up, of actually getting that much blood to the brain, evacuating waste products,  doing the necessary metabolism there, and dealing with so much heat localized in the small area of the brain, are all valid.  While it seems like the rest of the body wouldn't be constrained by this level of energy use, a 10x power output in the brain probably might be a problem.

It's worth a more detailed analysis of exactly where the max. power output constraint on the brain, without any major changes, lie.

Fractional progress estimates for AI timelines and implied resource requirements

"Extrapolating the historic 10x fall in $/FLOP every 7.7 years for 372 years yields a 10^48x increase in the amount of compute that can be purchased for that much money (we recognize that this extrapolation goes past physical limits)."

 

If you are aware that this extrapolation goes past physical limits, why are you using it in your models?  Why not use a model where compute plateaus after it reaches those physical limits?  That seems more useful than a model that knowingly breaks the laws of physics.