Quotable (#147)

Lots of stimulation in this John Horgan interview with Eliezer Yudkowsky (via). Among the gems:

Horgan: I’ve described the Singularity as an “escapist, pseudoscientific” fantasy that distracts us from climate change, war, inequality and other serious problems. Why am I wrong?
Yudkowsky: Because you’re trying to forecast empirical facts by psychoanalyzing people. This never works.

(Note on ‘Singularity’ FWIW by EY here: “I think that the “Singularity” has become a suitcase word with too many mutually incompatible meanings and details packed into it, and I’ve stopped using it.”)

One more EY snippet: “… human axons transmit information at around a millionth of the speed of light, even when it comes to heat dissipation each synaptic operation in the brain consumes around a million times the minimum heat dissipation for an irreversible binary operation at 300 Kelvin, and so on. Why think the brain’s software is closer to optimal than the hardware? Human intelligence is privileged mainly by being the least possible level of intelligence that suffices to construct a computer; if it were possible to construct a computer with less intelligence, we’d be having this conversation at that level of intelligence instead.”

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