Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AI Robotics Sci-Fi Technology

Understanding an AI's Timescale 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the meatbags-are-slow,-electrons-are-fast dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's a common trope in sci-fi that when AIs become complex enough to have some form of consciousness, humans will be able to communicate with them through speech. But the rate at which we transmit and analyze data is infinitesimal compared to how fast a computer can do it. Would they even want to bother? Jeff Atwood takes a look at how a computer's timescale breaks down, and relates it to human timeframes. It's interesting to note the huge variance in latency. If we consider one CPU cycle to take 1 second, then a sending a ping across the U.S. would take the equivalent of 4 years. A simple conversation could take the equivalent of thousands of years. Would any consciousness be able to deal with such a relative delay?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Understanding an AI's Timescale

Comments Filter:
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday May 17, 2014 @01:32PM (#47026387) Homepage
    This is a really good point. Current CPUs have billions of cycles per second, but still struggle to perform some tasks in real-time, and that processing is not going to be powerful enough to emulated intelligence to the degree of consciousness. If past computing problems are any indication, I would guess that the first generation of AI will be a bit "slow on the uptake". That is to say, we may come up with the algorithms to emulate consciousness first, and then need to spend some time optimizing code and improving hardware designs in order to get "real time" consciousness.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2014 @01:33PM (#47026395)

    Well, beyond the very brief transition period (e.g. when two curves cross), AI could simply treat humans (and all other life on the planet) as we treat mountains and forests---in other words, we don't perceive them as intelligent at all, since they're changing on such a long timescale compared to us... it would be impossible for us to have a `conversation' with a mountain, for example (who knows, maybe the Earth is intelligent and is trying to talk to us via plate tectonics and pushing up mountains is one way it can generate intelligent wave forms).

  • absolutely agreed. Though I don't have direct evidence to support this statement, I would guess that a neuron fires at a similar enough speed as a transistor. Consciousness is a very complex computation from billions of neurons *written in assembly* essentially. If/when we make an AI, it's likely to be compiled code running on a chip with less transistors than we have neurons, 100 Billion neurons vs 1.4Billion transistors in an i7 for instance.

    That said, this is assuming that we limit consciousness to what humans perceive, the computer may have a somewhat different version of it. I suspect that we will try to build a human type consciousness into the machine though.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @02:06PM (#47026613) Homepage

    I would like to remind people that the idea of "intelligent" machines has been around for almost 100 years now. AND we still don't have any solid evidence of being close to achieving such a thing. Sure, computers can do a lot, and what they DO accomplish, they tend to do very fast. But what they accomplish is not "AI". Even Watson is not "intelligence", it is only the illusion of it.

    The goal posts keep moving, no matter what they do we still say they're not really intelligent whether it's win at chess (Deep Blue) or win Jeopardy (Watson) or drive cars (Google) or act as your personal secretary (Siri). Not that I liked the tripe called "Her", but does it really matter if it's true intelligence or just a sufficiently advanced impersonation of intelligence? Do we really need true AI in order to pass a Turing test, particularly if you aren't trying to break the illusion? If it can keep a decent dinner conversation and be "fully functional" in bed can it be a substitute for a companion in the same way you can play chess against a computer instead of a person? Because I think that's what most people want to know, they don't care if the robot is "truly" intelligent or not, they want to know if it'll take their jobs and girlfriends, do their chores or give free blow jobs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2014 @02:09PM (#47026637)

    Though I don't have direct evidence to support this statement, I would guess that a neuron fires at a similar enough speed as a transistor.

    A transistor is both smaller and made out of copper. Though a neuron varies the strength of the signal it forwards, and though it can be connected to many other neurons at once, in terms of raw speed the transistor is still faster. Even if you create a synthetic neuron with similar capabilities, it I don't see why the synthetic version wouldn't be faster.

    If/when we make an AI, it's likely to be compiled code running on a chip with less transistors than we have neurons, 100 Billion neurons vs 1.4Billion transistors in an i7 for instance.

    Which equates to 71 i7 processors. If you assume that each neuron takes 1000 transistors to simulate (to make the math simpler), and if you take the release price for an i7 as listed on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], that totals at $21.3M. Expensive, but not impossible.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @05:00PM (#47027673)
    Word for the day: solipsism [wikipedia.org]. We don't really know that other people are intelligent or even exist, only that we perceive them to be so. So this will never be resolved.

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

Working...