Moore’s law: the number of transistors per square inch on a chip doubles every [??] months. The number of months gets shorter, decade by decade. The pace has accelerated since 1965, when Moore made his observation. It may be as low as 12 today.
The cost of information keeps dropping. It gets less, decade by decade. This has been continual since at least the U.S. census of 1890 — the first punch card census.
“When the price drops, more is demanded”: the law of demand. It is the foundation of economic science.
A constant rate of growth eventually produces an exponential curve. As I described in 1970, continuity produces discontinuity.
As I also argued in 1970, every exponential upward curve has always slowed, then stopped. It has become S-shaped. It runs out of resources. This is the law of diminishing returns. Economists have declared this for almost two centuries. But the West has had compound growth for over two centuries. The curve has not stopped. It has extended to the whole world, as free markets have extended through price competition. Liberty is getting less expensive. More of it is demanded. Price competition works. This is a very good thing.
Then there is the one irreplaceable resource: time. Time is an arrow. It does not run backward. The second law of thermodynamics is a law. Things run down. They run out. Above all, time runs out. The world is running down.
This raises the ultimate question of our era: Is Moore’s law really a law, or is it an observation of a temporary phenomenon? Moore thinks it is the latter.
Some observers don’t.
Reason published a favorable review of Nick Bostrom’s book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. It was published by Oxford University Press.
Should humanity sanction the creation of intelligent machines? That’s the pressing issue at the heart of the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom’s fascinating new book, Superintelligence. Bostrom cogently argues that the prospect of superintelligent machines is “the most important and most daunting challenge humanity has ever faced.” If we fail to meet this challenge, he concludes, malevolent or indifferent artificial intelligence (AI) will likely destroy us all.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)