Chris (ucanbfuzzy) wrote in projectlodestar,

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I want the strength of five Go-rillas.

So, Hitachi released a 400 GB hard drive today. This got me thinking about storage capacities and their implications in the world (and with artificial intelligence in general).

First, you have the rate at which storage capacities are increading. In Febuary the top of the line hard drive was a 250 GB model. This 400 Gb model is a 62.5 5 increase in capacity, in only 9 months. Extending that timescale out, you would expect storage capacity to double about every 14 months or so (it's usually been 14-18 months for this to happen). So by this time next year we will have 750 GB hard drives. In ten years we will have hard drives capable of storing over 100 terabytes of information (if the doubling rule holds true, which it probably won't). This is a mindblowing amount of storage. This 400 Gb hard drive, it can hold approximatly 700000 copies of Fight Club (the only book I have on my computer). That file is in PDF format, so if you made it into a plaintext file, I'm sure you could fix quite a bit more onto the hard drive. So lets round some numbers: say 850000 copies of Fight Club on the 400 GB hard drive in plain text format. Hard drives in ten years will be able to hold about 213 MILLION copies of the book. Insane.

So i'm getting to my point. My point is, what is all this storage space going to be used for? Besides pr0n, that is. I was thinking about this, and I remembered something I read a long time ago about how the human brain can store a similalrly mind-bogglingly huge amount of data. It got me to thinking, "What makes up our personalities? What colors up as people?" Memories. Experiences. Learned lessons. DATA. Don't think about the data that is stored as a text file or a video. You have to consider the entire range of sensory perception we have. This makes the memories much more complex than your average video file. Even taking that into consideration, 100 terabytes of storage is huge. What if we started to store our memories as data? A backup of our memories, in full fidelity. Wouldn't that copy, for lack of a better word, soul into the machine? It's crazy to think of it, but it just may happen. I mean, CPUs can already operate faster than our brains can. So isn't the deciding factor memory density and capacity?

If you do some math on that, well, in twenty years we will be sitting on pedabyte level storage capacities. Suddenly Ghost in the Shell being set 20 years in the future doesn't seem all that off.

I am glad I live in such exciting times.
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exciting times indeed... (not exciting enough though!!)

i'm not knocking computers at all, but i wanted to play devil's advocate and throw up a rebuttal about current CPU's being faster than the human brain... feel free to openly disagree, i encourage it!!

last i had heard, comparing the computing speeds was not really possible as the human brain operates on a completely different level of several incorporated systems... they're two different ball games, really...

for instance: though it is a simple test, in calculating basic arithmetic, a fairly trained human can compute faster than a computer because our biological RAM still far exceeds the computer's RAM in overall capacity and in access speed... as we can commit data to memory, shortcuts in our biological RAM are created that far exceed a computer's calculating speed...

i also read a pretty amazing fact a few months back: if a human brain is deprived of a "normal life" and all the standard sensory input and memories, the brain could theoretically be programmed to perform every complex mathematical operation and memorize every last result... that is an infinitesimal amount!!

this result is achieved from considering that a brain is capable of doing all of these things at once:
control ALL of the body's subconscious functions (except that which is left to DNA coding),
control ALL of the body's conscious movement,
record ALL sensory input and recall it,
cognitive, logical thinking,
cognitive, emotional thinking,
and creating...

i mean, imagine all the computing required to play a sport!! to choose a random event: dribbling a basketball with an opponent coming on... i can't even begin to comprehend everything that goes into this: the brain is already handling involuntary functions like breathing, pumping blood, metabolising, etc... while accessing similar memories, it's taking in the opponent''s velocity, direction, and assessing the threat... it's also calculating at which force to to slap the ball to the ground while running at x velocity in y direction with z wind resistance so as to cushion and re-bounce that ball as it rebounds off the ground... holy crap... i barely scratched the surface on that!! running alone is a super complex system of differential equations calculated on the fly...

anyhoo, yeah... computers are getting ridiculous... BlueGene is set to break 100 tera-flops in the next few months, and i've heard that will actually come close to human brain speed ... and the idea of copying all my memory to a hard drive is really compelling... but, as that becomes possible, i foresee "memory rewriting" as a potentially serious problem... can you imagine somebody getting a hold of your hard drive while you're waiting for a new body and altering bits of data, effectively changing your entire being?
Yeah, I posted this in my other livejournal, and I got called out for the same thing. My bad.

I totally agree that humans are made of a ton of individual subsystems which run together to form a living breathing hu-man. I should have been clearer in stating that soon we will be able to store memories and experiences, which make up the core of a "soul," if you will. I threw that CPU comment out there just to point out basic processing can already be done on a base level (keeping the heart pumping, regulating organ function). Of course to actually make a fully artificial brain in a living body you would need to integrate these systems and subsystems together rediculously well. I don't see that being done for a good long while.

I really need to learn not to include spurrious information in my discussions.
awesome Sealabia reference!!

We won't honor any of those bogus treaties!