Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Skynet infrastructure is arriving on schedule ;)

IBM is apparently planning to deliver a 20 peteflops supercomputer in 2011. Now twenty petaflops is 20 * 10^15 = 2 * 10^16 operations. This amount of computational power might be in the ballpark for emulating a human brain: Matt Bamberger (who I found from a random google search, don't know much about him) estimates that you need about 20 petaflops. Singularity-guru Ray Kurzweil estimates [1 p. 71] that you need about 10^16 calculations per second. Kurtzweil estimates that 10^16 operations will be reached "early in the next decade" (sometime after 2010). This means that Kurzweil's estimate on when the (assumed) necessary computational power is available is right on track. There might still be a small matter of programming the thing to actually emulate a human, but within a decade or so it seems that we can have a proper hardware substrate for a Skynet implementation if we so desire ;)

[1] "The Singularity is near- when humans transcend biology" Ray Kurtzweil 2005 (2006 printing). Duckworth publishers.