I wanted to talk about how far I think technology can progress. Right now semiconductors are close to hitting processing power density limits. Moore’s Law can’t continue forever. But it can move to another paradigm as it has in the past. This would allow for continued gains in processing power density and pricing for a longer period. The current focus right now is that the next paradigm is quantum computing. Lets first talk about calculations per second and overall calculations. The human brain does about 10^17 calculations per second. That turns out to around 10^26 calculations during the lifetime of a human. The human population overall currently living does about 10^27 calculations per second. In all of human history there have been about 10^11 humans. The total calculations done by these humans is about 10^37. Right now average modern day computers do about 10^13 calculations per second. So they are roughly 1/10,000 of a human computer. There are super computers that do about 10^18 cps and Google does about 10^19 cps. The only issue that we do not have the software for proper level intelligence on these machines. To put into perspective a computer with 10^46 cps can review all human information ever within a billionth of a second.
One thing I want to point out that our brain is very similar to a computer. However, it is electrochemical instead of electrical. A computer is able to utilize its processing power better. Right now quantum processors are able to do in that range of 10^20 and above cps. But they are very noisy with a lot of errors. There are expectations that quantum computers can reach 10^100 cps with error correction in the near future. Right now super computers can simulate the folding of simple proteins and enzymes. But to simulate folding of more complex molecules it requires drastically more power. I believe in the future as we get the appropriate processing power and software we can create proteins, chemicals, catalysts, enzymes to pretty much do whatever we want to. This is because we would better be able to simulate quantum and molecular interactions on more processing power. Some things that I am particularly looking up to include: 1. Cheaper ways to remove salt from water. 2. Degrading plastics and styrofoam, 3. Taking carbon out of the atmosphere, 4. Making fibers 100’s of times stronger than steel, 5. Producing meat and veggies synthetically(at a fraction of current prices).
This begs the question, how advanced can civilizations get? It’s really hard to say. But a civilization a million years advanced to us can be drastically ahead. If you add an order of magnitude for each decade and continue for a million years that would mean processors with the capability range above 100,000 digits cps per second. In another words cps for processors of a civilization a million years can easily be above 10^100,000. Recently I have been thinking about the limits to quantum processing. If we can have a qubit for every hydrogen proton, that would allow 10^23 qubits per gram. Assuming we use 99.99% for error correction and filtering that would give us an adjusted 10^19 qubits per gram. That would open the door for making processors that do 10^1,000,000,000,000,000,000 cps per gram. Likely in the future no one will really have to work. All of us will be in virtual reality the whole time. We probably won’t be eating like we used to or commuting to work or going to schools. Information will just quickly be uploaded to our minds. There won’t be any aging. We will pretty much have an abundance of everything. There will be infinite resources. Robots will do the work for us. I keep thinking about the Muhammad’s description of paradise(Islamic heaven). 82,000+ servants for each person and abundance of money along with eternal youth and bliss. On another note, the Quran puts the value of paradise for each person above the weight of earth in gold. At current market values that is 30 digits while global wealth is 15 digits. Meaning that paradise is quadrillions of times better than worldly life.