Eric the half a mouse.

1/2 a mouse a philosophically…

When I first read about a simulation of a mouse brain running at 10% C, I dismissed it immediately as too far fetched – We Can’t Do That Yet. Reading past the headlines the actual simulation turned out to be significantly less far fetched, but only slightly less portentous. According to the article, standard Moore’s Law improvements will allow hardware of the same cost to run a human mind in real-time in 20 years. Or 1000 human minds in 30 years, 10,000,000 human minds in 50 years.

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Sure at the moment this is just a statistical model with no behaviour. The regions of this simulated brain have the neural topology and firing patterns of a real mouse brain, but the software it is running is just noise.
True AI equivalence will require the software too, and this is a non trivial problem. But even if we do it by brute force – start with a population of 1,000 agents each with a human brain’s allocation of processing resources, run them at 1000 times real-time and let various fitness functions optimize the various brain regions – I can’t imagine it taking more than a couple of decades to crack.

I personally think we will have some very clever software ready to run on those simulated brains by the time they arrive on our lab benches. Neuronal implementations of Jeff Hawkins HTM hierarchies, e.g. My MSc thesis, would already look pretty smart utilising all those synapses.

Mouse brain simulated on computer


The singularity is inevitable.
Any sufficiently complex substrate will evolve intelligent beings.

The laws of nature are complex enough to allow, amongst other things, us. As we discover mushrooms that eat gamma rays or bacteria that thrive in boiling Sulphuric acid – but also as we notice that cultural phenomenon are themselves agents who live and evolve within the habitat of human interactions – I am beginning to think that surviving long term in this universe might be tricky.

(more after the jump…)

There seems to be a fundamental drive for the universe to organize itself:
math -> physics -> energy -> matter -> chemistry -> biology -> intelligence -> culture… a single ‘algorithm/process/drive’, ratcheting up complexity with each iteration.

Memeplexs evolving in the space of human societies: Kings, Companies and Religions are themselves examples of primitive cultural beings inexorably drawn towards the same ultimate universal attractor.

Keep it too simple and you will be gobbled up by the emerging singularity next door, too complex and your own culture will go all exponential on you!



Zürich. It’s the warmest winter here in the Alps for 1300 years. The Zürich insurance company uses futuristic advertising and the slogan “Change Happens!”. Nestle CEO is on CNN stating that the only constant is change. NASA is talking about a Moon base by 2020, although NASA is always talking about a Moon base by “$date + 20 years”.