6.868 / MAS.731

Society of Mind

Spring 2013

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These resources were developed in anticipation of Ed Fredkin's lecture this Wednesday (27 Feb). You should look over the topics in advance; the more opinions, questions, and criticisms you develop in advance, the more you will gain from the lecture. In particular (see topic #3), you may want to think of ways to avert a robot apocalypse— just in case.

Preparing for intelligent machines

  1. Architecture. What exotic hardware is required to build machines with human-level intelligence? For example, is parallelism the key to human-like thinking? Is nondeterminism and/or randomness and/or quantum mechanics? Alternately, could our existing hardware support intelligent programs if we knew how to design the right software?
  2. Technical requirements. The technical specs of the human brain can give an idea of the technical requirements for intelligent machines. How much information do we gather over the course of a lifetime? How fast do nerve impulses travel? How much does the memory capacity of the human genome limit the potential complexity of our brains?
  3. Avoiding apocalypse. Science fiction presents countless stories of homicidal intelligent machines.

Suggested excellent reading