from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Humans are smarter than computers. We’re better at ‘one-shot learning’: guessing the right action in previously unseen scenarios. Computers are better at computation: they can try many million more combinations in an instant, than any one human can in a lifetime. Our brain improves on evolutionary timelines – over thousands of years – so we’re still operating on pre-historic hardware.
Computers improve exponentially; Moore’s Law is a historically-reliable rule describing how every year we get 60% more computation than the year before. We’re nowhere near human-level — 10 quadrillion calculations per second. Computers are at about 1,000/th of that: as smart as a mouse. This doesn’t sound like much, until you know we were at a trillionth of that in 1985, a billionth in 1995, and a millionth in 2005.
Humans always underestimate when estimating exponential growth, but imagine you’re filling a glass of water, exponentially. It’s an indescribably small amount of water at first, and you slowly increase the amount you’re pouring over the course of 60 minutes. At what point is the beaker half full? The answer is counterintuitive and surprising: 59 minutes!
We won’t have time to prepare for computers to surpass our intelligence, they’ll fly past us, speeding up as they go by. Computers will quickly become so intelligent we won’t be able to comprehend their intelligence. We’ll have unprecedented power to solve the world’s problems, but only if computers remain at our service. Our genes might not live on, but our memes might. If we learn to define their nature.