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Information Explosion

“Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”

Irving John Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”.

The “intelligence explosion” referenced above has me thinking of the Cambrian “explosion” of diversity in living organisms, 541 million years ago. The curious thing is that what differentiates a useful or interesting radiation of complexity is that it does not follow all possible paths; it is “non-ergodic” – just as is the life and intelligence that emerges from, through and as it.

Explosive chemical decompression is ergodic – visiting all possible states and for this reason is profoundly, perhaps definitively, unintelligent and far beyond the kinetic facts of adversarial human instinct. Transient complex dynamics of system turbulence in explosions are not as technically or existentially interesting as the radiation of life and intelligence because the key difference is that life and intelligence radiate in ways autonomously-oriented towards the soliton-like, optimal replication of recursive complexity in and as life and intelligence.

Notice that intelligence – just like technology, or for that matter life – as a useful abstraction and information or energy processing system is precisely as useful in the extent to which it is an abbreviation and compression of that which it reflexively represents. This is the manifestation of a generalised principle of algorithmic compression.

Von Neumann proved plausibility of material (i.e. mechanical or robotic) self-replication and Kurt Gödel provided an enduring insight into what ontological “shape” and abstraction the indefinitely-extensible self-inflection of sustainably continuous information-processing and machine intelligence systems might optimally acquire. A constructive juxtaposition of these seminal concepts should prove most interesting, indeed.

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