Hardware Overhang

Hardware overhang refers to the extent to which available hardware technology will accelerate the performance of AGI once AGI is developed.

Hardware implementing SpikingModels at human brain scale isn't the only way of achieving AGI, but probably represents the highest level of abstraction that we can be reasonably confident would be capable of achieving AGI (see LevelsOfAbstractionOfTheBrainForAGI). NeuralNetworks might offer a cheaper approach.

Hardware cost is not what is preventing AGI. What is preventing AGI is we don't yet know the algorithms and data structures used by the brain. If we knew that we could program spiking hardware accordingly.

Hardware capacity


This doesn't consider the enormous speed difference between neurons and transistors, which is a factor of several million.

The IBM spiking neuron inspired TrueNorth chip has 5,400 transistors per real time spiking neuron, so:

Another way of looking at things is that in 2017, enough transistors were manufactured to produce artificial spiking neurons equivalent to 2,000,000 human brains. This could be one powerful superintelligence, or many smaller ones.

This suggests to the extent that there is a hardware underhang, it isn't likely to last much longer.

Hardware cost

Throwing together some rough numbers for IBM's TrueNorth spiking neuron chip:

Computer technology price-performance improves by a factor of roughly 10 every 10 years. So the cost is likely to be significantly less by the time we understand how to program spiking hardware effectively.

AI Policies Wiki: HardwareOverhang (last edited 2018-01-14 06:31:28 by GordonIrlam)