Computational complexity theory describes the steep increase in computing power required for many algorithms to solve larger problems; frequently, the increase is large enough to render problems a few times larger totally intractable. Many of these algorithms are used in AI-relevant contexts. It has been argued that this implies that AIs will fundamentally be limited in accomplishing real-world tasks better than humans because they will run into the same computational complexity limit as humans, and so the consequences of developing AI will be small, as it is impossible for there to be any large fast global changes due to human or superhuman-level AIs. I examine the assumptions of this argument and find it neglects the many conditions under which computational complexity theorems are valid and so the argument doesn’t work: problems can be solved more efficiently than complexity classes would imply, large differences in problem solubility between humans and AIs is possible, greater resource consumption is possible, the real-world consequences of small differences on individual tasks can be large on agent impacts, such consequences can compound, and many agents can be created; any of these independent objections being true destroys the argument.
Brain emulation requires enormous computing power; enormous computing power requires further progression of Moore’s law; further Moore’s law relies on large-scale production of cheap processors in ever more-advanced chip fabs; cutting-edge chip fabs are both expensive and vulnerable to state actors (but not non-state actors such as terrorists). Therefore: the advent of brain emulation can be delayed by global regulation of chip fabs.
It is not going to be a trivial fight by any stretch of the imagination:
- There are two S-400 complexes guarding Khmeimim, and several Pantsir systems.
- Though composition varies from month to month, there are usually around a dozen air superiority fighters (Su-35, Su-35) and a dozen other fighters, as well as a few military helicopters.
- Around 4o Pantsir systems total in Syria
- Two Kilo submarines are currently in the region, though not the formidable Moskva cruiser, with its S-300 system
- Two Bastion anti-ship coastal defense systems
- Stand-off cruise missiles (Kh-32, Kh-50, Kalibrs) can be fired from deep within Russia, or from Caspian/Iranian airspace
But here are the forces ranged against them:
- A single carrier such as the USS Harry S. Truman has around four to five dozen F-18s
- Hundreds of F-15s and F-16s in US bases in Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE
- Hundreds of Tomahawks can be fired from US Navy ships
- The air forces of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and Britain, and possibly that of Israel and Turkey
- B-52 bombers from half a world away
This is a totally lopsided match, which even the optimistic Russian military analyst Andrey Martyanov acknowledges
But just before the first exam, the daughter, Eliza, is physically assaulted outside the school. She takes the test despite having a sprained wrist, and being shaken up. She doesn’t think she did well on it — and this puts Dr. Aldea in a difficult position. He is a basically honest man, but he’s so desperate for his daughter to escape life in Romania — which he regards, basically, as a shithole country — that he enters into the world of corruption to attempt to guarantee her a way out. In other words, he becomes the kind of man he wants her to escape. TAC alumnus Tim Markatos reviews the film in the new Fare Forward. Caution: the review contains spoilers. Here’s an excerpt:
Eliza doesn’t want any part of this rule-breaking, but in the warped logic of this universe Romeo’s exhortation to vice is practically a virtue. For in the slice of Romanian society depicted in Graduation the adults have effectively grown so used to corruption and responding to their circumstances immorally that they have all forgotten what it looks like to do good in the first place. Critic Victor Morton has astutely called the film’s world a “Structure of Sin,” an apt description for the web of rationalized bad behavior that [director Cristian] Mungiu spins tight across each one of the movie’s 128 minutes. According to Morton, “Graduation is not the story of a good man corrupted but a corrupt man trying to do ‘good’ (when it serves him and his) because society runs on corruption.”
Indeed, while Mungiu’s shaky cam and tight editing keep our anxieties high, society here appears to be getting along just fine—with the caveat that the only way anyone in it knows how to respond to sin is through the logic of sin.