The future cometh: Science, technology and humanity at Singularity Summit 2011 (Part I)

Dec 01, 2011 by Stuart Mason Dambrot feature
Kurzweil writes that, due to paradigm shifts, a trend of exponential growth extends Moore's law from integrated circuits to earlier transistors, vacuum tubes, relays, and electromechanical computers. He predicts that the exponential growth will continue, and that in a few decades the computing power of all computers will exceed that of human brains, with superhuman artificial intelligence appearing around the same time. Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

(PhysOrg.com) -- In its essence, technology can be seen as our perpetually evolving attempt to extend our sensorimotor cortex into physical reality: From the earliest spears and boomerangs augmenting our arms, horses and carts our legs, and fire our environment, we’re now investigating and manipulating the fabric of that reality – including the very components of life itself. Moreover, this progression has not been linear, but instead follows an iterative curve of inflection points demarcating disruptive changes in dominant societal paradigms. Suggested by mathematician Vernor Vinge in his acclaimed science fiction novel True Names (1981) and introduced explicitly in his essay The Coming Technological Singularity (1993), the term was popularized by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity is Near (2005). The two even had a Singularity Chat in 2002.

While the Singularity is not to be confused with the astronomical description of an infinitesimal object of infinite density, it can be seen as a technological event horizon at which present models of the future may break down in the not-too-distant future when the accelerating rate of scientific discovery and technological innovation approaches a real-time asymptote. Beyond lies a future (be it utopian or dystopian) in which a key question emerges: Evolving at dramatically slower biological time scales, must Homo sapiens become Homo syntheticus in order to retain our position as the self-acclaimed crown of creation – or will that title be usurped by sentient Artificial Intelligence? The Singularity and all of its implications were recently addressed at Singularity Summit 2011 in New York City.

Vinge opens his groundbreaking 1993 essay with a fundamental definition of the Singularity:

The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater-than-human intelligence. Science may achieve this breakthrough by several means (and this is another reason for having confidence that the event will occur):

• Computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent may be developed. (To date, there has been much controversy as to whether we can create human equivalence in a machine. But if the answer is "yes," then there is little doubt that more intelligent beings can be constructed shortly thereafter.)

• Large computer networks (and their associated users) may "wake up" as superhumanly intelligent entities.

• Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.

• Biological science may provide means to improve natural human intellect.

For Kurzweil, the core of the Singularity remains the augmentation and surpassing of human biology through the accelerating evolution of technology (notably genetics, nanotechnology, and Artificial Intelligence) enabled by exponential increases in computational power and speed coupled plummeting costs and size. Not surprisingly, then, in his opening address, From Eliza to Watson to Passing the Turing Test, Kurzweil – ever the low-key evangelist – focused largely on what he described as the remarkable continuing evidentiary support for his original projections. He voiced a clear differentiation between basing our AI offspring using biologically-inspired principles and, alternatively, crafting biomorphic substrates: In short, he favors the former, viewing the latter as unnecessary.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Ray Kurzweil on "From Eliza to Watson to Passing the Turing Test" at Singularity Summit 2011

In his post-presentation press conference, Kurzweil was asked about the role of our evolutionarily-determined biological drives – and thereby motivation and emotion – as minds merge with machines and AI equals or surpasses human levels. Kurzweil noted that we have a remarkable ability to sublimate our drives, and we do so largely into innovation. Since he sees the purpose of technology as the transcendence of our biological limitations, one interpretation of his response is that he might well define human-like AI as being motivated by the goal of achieving unfettered, ever-accelerating innovation – and that achieving that goal will generate a positive AE (artificial emotional) state. Whether or not that’s the case, in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview earlier this year, Kurzweil has predicted that AI will achieve human-level emotional thought by roughly 2030:

That's really the big frontier right now is for computers, in general, to master human emotions.

Emotion is not some sideshow to human intelligence. It's actually the most complicated intelligent thing we do, being funny, getting the joke, expressing a loving sentiment. That's the cutting edge of human intelligence. If we were to say intelligence is only logical intelligence, computers are already smarter than us.

I believe it's going to be about over the next 20 years where we close that gap in terms of human superiority today in emotional intelligence.

Today computers can understand human emotions in certain situations. Watson, the IBM computer that won Jeopardy, did have to understand some things about human emotion to master the language in that game, but they're not yet at human levels. They're getting there.

True to the Singularity’s premise of accelerating technological innovation, this achievement may be arriving sooner expected: Recently, research conducted by Zoraida Callejas, David Griol and Ramón López-Cózar at the University of Granada and University of Madrid, has demonstrated a method for predicting a person’s mental state in spoken dialog from that individual’s emotional state and intention by means of a module bridging natural language understanding and dialogue management architecture.

MIT wunderkind Alexander Wissner-Gross says that it will be sufficient for a post-Singularity AI to understand human feelings rather than having to develop emotive thought. In his much-anticipated talk, Planetary-Scale Intelligence, he suggested that a global human-level AI could emerge from the mathematical world of quantitative finance and high-frequency trading – and that it may already have.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Alexander Wissner-Gross on "Planetary Scale Intelligence" at Singularity Summit 2011

In The Undivided Mind – Science and Imagination, filmmaker, aesthetic philosopher and ecstatic futurist Jason Silva – the speaker that most energized the crowd – called for passion and artistic sensibility to inform ideation and instantiation of the Singularity. Silva displayed this perspective by showing his short film The Beginning of Infinity, which visually expresses an epistemological epiphany. Silva is also the first guest to be interviewed on Critical Thought TV.


VIDEO: THE BEGINNING OF INFINITY

“What’s fantastic about having a Summit,” Silva notes, “is that it provides an anchor that gives legitimacy to these ideas – that they’re not just something on the fringe of academia. Our story then spills over into a variety of substrates – books, magazine articles, television, film, websites, and so on. However,” he points out, “I think they need to work on their aesthetic framing” – the essence of his talk – “which I hope provided an injection of art and design. As Rebecca Elson wrote in her book, A Responsibility to Awe, facts are only as interesting as the possibilities they open up to the imagination.” For Silva, one of those possibilities is our achieving the God-like qualities of immortality and omniscience long promised, but never delivered, by religion.

Silva also differs from Kurzweil and Wissner-Gross in his view of emotion in coming human-analogous AIs. For example, he refers to Leonard Shlain’s Art & Physics, which Silva cites as pointing out that art and science are two sides of the same coin. Silva agrees that this appears to be supported by fMRI studies of human brain activity, which seem to show that their common ground lies in the emotional content of experience, as well as by very recent findings that visual encoding in the human ventral temporal (VT) cortex is common across individuals viewing the same movie content.

“Truth,” concludes Silva, ”is a symphony.”

Explore further: Students trust technology, but have concerns about privacy and robotics, poll shows

More information: Part II: www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-f… logy-humanity_1.html

4 /5 (44 votes)

Related Stories

Expert: AI computers by 2020

Feb 17, 2008

A U.S. computer expert predicts computers will have the same intellectual capacity as humans by 2020.

Keeping tabs on Skynet

Sep 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In line with the predictions of science fiction, computers are getting smarter. Now, scientists are on the way to devising a test to ascertain how close Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming ...

Robots are narrowing the gap with humans

Apr 22, 2009

Robots are gaining on us humans. Thanks to exponential increases in computer power -- which is roughly doubling every two years -- robots are getting smarter, more capable, more like flesh-and-blood people.

On the hunt for universal intelligence

Jan 27, 2011

How do you use a scientific method to measure the intelligence of a human being, an animal, a machine or an extra-terrestrial? So far this has not been possible, but a team of Spanish and Australian researchers ...

Recommended for you

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

1 hour ago

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 50

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ScienceFreak86
3.6 / 5 (11) Dec 01, 2011
Everyone who read most of articles here(on PhysOrg) every day(like me) see, that all this is very possible, even in 20 years. All this remarkable breakthroughs, dicscoveries will lead us to almost unimaginable(for person living today) world in 2030. 2030's and40's will be pretty crazy times :). I can imagine myself sitting in my room with some highly advanced nanochip in my brain, and thanks to, realistic as real life virtual reality(sth like Matrix) I will be travelling back in time. I will visit dinosaur era, middle ages, ancient Egypt, 1800's, first half of XXw and even 1980's 90's and early 00's :)
real_melancon
4.6 / 5 (8) Dec 01, 2011
If you read M.Kurzweil's book, he predicts that around 2045 the Singularity will be possible. If you read physorg.com daily, you can imagine it may be well before 2045. But very possible indeed. New challenges will come, but some of today's challenges will be something of the past.

I think exciting times are coming...
LivaN
5 / 5 (6) Dec 01, 2011
I can imagine myself sitting in my room with some highly advanced nanochip in my brain, and thanks to, realistic as real life virtual reality(sth like Matrix) I will be travelling back in time.

I imagine being composed of nanites, with a fusion powered core. With a remarkable understanding of reality (All will have the knowledge, or we will all be one), an unprecedented increase in intelligence, and near unlimited power...we will remake the universe with our imagination. This I believe is the only path to "heaven" or "hell".
dweeb
not rated yet Dec 01, 2011
if benevolence decides its no longer bound by the 1st law to carry out the 1st law
or starts http://medicalxpr...als.html
blawo
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 01, 2011
In 2045, 14-year-old kid currently working on quantum simulations of his new robot design, will learn that long ago, some primitive pre-quantum-age people thought that human brain is equivalent to old, classical computer, that human mind could be downloaded into such a computer, or that those stupid classical machines could be more powerful than quantum-enabled human minds. "Such a nonsense, how can be people even so stupid?", thoughts he.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2011
We must remember the huge chasm that is present in our world! There are those that do not WANT to advance, there are natives that still live in huts, there are people that live in a "natural" way. Biological evolution is slow, so as we advance ourselves artificially we create a huge difference between the most advanced and the least advanced. Just as Grandpa hates using a computer, there are those that will prefer not to live in a superhuman/augmented reality/genitically modified society. If this gap becomes too wide, would it not start a war? Wouldnt the more advanced of us see no need for our slow-thinking, normal human brethren?
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (52) Dec 01, 2011
Wouldnt the more advanced of us see no need for our slow-thinking, normal human brethren?


If the augmented are a function of their wealth, you may very well have a point. You could end up with a Eugenics Wars a la Star Trek.

However if it is a post-scarcity society and anyone who wants it can have it, I doubt it would play out that way. As long as the primitives didn't try to perform acts of terrorism I doubt there would be any desire among the augmented to exact any harm upon them. Even then I doubt the augmented could be whipped up into enough of a furor to commit genocide. Their technology and thought would likely be so advanced that the primitives wouldn't really be capable of harming the on a large scale.

The point is I doubt it would be the augmented wishing to eradicate the non-augmented, but the opposite, likely on silly religious grounds.

Just as Grandpa hates using a computer


My grandpa worked for IBM and is quite elderly :)
krundoloss
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2011
Frank, if this future world is somehow not dependant on limited resources, then you are probably right. But if the population continues to balloon, farmland becomes more limited, we will see wars, regardless of what sides there are.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.8 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2011
The graphic - which is reasonable - shows an increase in computing speed per dollar of 10**4 over the last 30 years.

Kurzwell has had to switch his metric from computing speed to computing speed per dollar because his initial claims of increases in raw computing speeds were false.

There are limits to the speed at which transistors can change state and be useful.

We are pretty much at those speeds now. CPU's have not increased substantially in clock speed since over the last 10 years.

On a cost per dollar basis the situation is much the same.

Transistor gates are now just a few silicon atoms across and as a result quantum noise - which can not effectively be negated - is becoming problematic, and will eventually swamp the signals that transistors are trying to produce.

Current transistor sizes are 20 nm and might be able to be shrunk to 10 nm, producing 4 times the density of today's chips.

That will be it. cont.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.8 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2011
So the microelectronics industry will be in a situation where there will be no compute speed increases due to clock speed increases, and none due to parallelism resulting from more transistors per unit area of silicon wafer.

So at that point the exponential nature of growth in computational speeds will be at an end.

Growth in the speed of General purpose computers will never see the 10**4 speed increase over the next 30 years that they saw over the last 30 years. The technology just isn't capable of it.

On the other hand, non-general purpose CPU's for Neural Nets have the capacity of much higher computational speeds - thousands of times faster - compared to general purpose CPU's.

But since these CPU's are not general purpose, their market is limited and their invention and production will therefore be highly impeded.

Kurzwell - if I was to guess - is optimistic in his time scale by 100 to 150 years.
hyongx
5 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2011
@ kundroloss
I fixed this for you -
We must remember the huge chasm that is present in our world! There are those that
Cannot Afford
to advance, there are natives that still live in huts, there are people that live in a "natural" way. Biological evolution is slow, so as we advance ourselves artificially we create a huge difference between the
richest
and the
poorest.
.... If this gap becomes too wide, would it not start a war? Wouldnt the
wealthiest
of us see no need for our slow-thinking, normal human brethren?

FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (48) Dec 01, 2011
Frank, if this future world is somehow not dependant on limited resources, then you are probably right. But if the population continues to balloon, farmland becomes more limited, we will see wars, regardless of what sides there are.


Limited resources and post-scarcity are not mutually exclusive. Are there a limited number of protons in the universe? Yes. Are protons scarce? No.

With the perfection of fusion, and possibly unforeseen technologies, there is no reason to believe the Earth could not sustain many more people than it currently does at a much higher quality of life for all.

It's optimistic but not foolish. If not for the Green Revolution we'd only be able to feed what, 1 billion people? Technology is already far surpassing the Earth's "natural" abilities to support humans. There is no reason to expect this trend to stop.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2011
Yes, but could we not start building 3D hardware circuitry? Layer upon Layer till you get what you want! Thats what hardware is doing right now. We need Quantum computers, or articial neurons. Classical computers will reach a limit at some point or another, we need a new technology to keep those increases coming!
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2011
"Yes, but could we not start building 3D hardware circuitry?" - krundoloss

Cooling requirements make that difficult. Further each layer needs to be constructed on a flat foundation. But every component layer has significant vertical structure.

You can stack chips, with layers of cooling between layers, but none of this alters the fact that while you might be physically packing components closer together physically, you aren't actually lowering costs.

In fact the added manufacturing steps increase costs per unit of silicon wafer area.

Your exponential growth in speed per dollar is still gone. In fact, it has reversed direction.

finitesolutions
not rated yet Dec 01, 2011
There is plenty of space/room behind a monitor for many CPUs.
Computers outperform humans in many tasks. Even if computers are basically tools their capabilities are amazing.
Computers save lives everyday. Computers will save even more lives in the future.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2011
"There is plenty of space/room behind a monitor for many CPUs." - FiniteSolutions

There is. But space isn't the limiting factor for computational speed per dollar.

Clock rate and transistor density are.
Sir Grog
5 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2011
While I agree that Moore's law will probably come to an end at the end of the decade for integrated circuits, what about all the progress that is already being made in quantum computers.

D Wave sold a basic quantum computer to Lockheed a few months ago.

So I think quantum computing is what will take us beyond the age of the integrated circuit in the 2020s.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2011
Adiabatic quantum computing is a process of solution optimization that is not applicable to generalized computing.
blawo
3 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2011
Here and now you can meet those who will not and cannot evolve...
Beerbarian
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2011
I can't believe I'm the first one to say this.. but...
I for one welcome our new machine overlords.
Vendicar_Decarian
1.3 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2011
"I for one welcome our new machine overlords." - Beerbarian

It will come to that. If your children's children play their cards right, they may manage to become the pets or our machine replacements, rather than simply extinct.
trekgeek1
not rated yet Dec 01, 2011
Imagine having computers so advanced that they can design the next generation of computer and so on. Imagine simultaneously perfecting the link between human brains and those computers. Every human able to instantly be a physicist, mathematician, biologist, etc. Merging human ambition and imagination with nearly unlimited access to the knowledge needed to realize those dreams. I wonder if we will have discovered faster than light travel and have left this planet for another galaxy before 2100. With so much processing power and imagination efficiently linked, we may get to the future a whole lot faster than we realize.
Beerbarian
not rated yet Dec 01, 2011
"It will come to that. If your children's children play their cards right, they may manage to become the pets or our machine replacements, rather than simply extinct." - Vendicar Decarian

Sounds like a plan... Get on board for the big win, kids.
Baseline
5 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2011
It would be very fun to save this thread to look back on to see just how wrong most of our opinions will turn out to be. Vendicar makes a good argument but somehow I think that all the limitations will be overcome to continue Moores law into the foreseeable future. Demand is driving innovation by providing huge amounts of capital for research into advanced materials and process technology and some very smart people who don't toil away their time pontificating on physorg will make advances we can't even imagine today.
jimbo92107
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
The "singularity" is nonsense without accounting for a couple factors that are at least as important: Dispersion and fitness. William Gibson first observed that the future is already here, just not well distributed. Aside from dispersion, you must account for whether or not emerging technologies solve actual problems or are just more fantasy games. Are they practical? Affordable? Sustainable? Efficient? There are lots of ways to do things wrong. Talking about Singularity means little if the walk through leads to stumbling.
Sir Grog
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
I agree that it is kind of silly to try and predict the future with any specificity. In a time of technological change it is impossible to really say what will happen (saying nothing about any Singularity). We just need to see how it plays out and try to make ethical decisions.

@Vendicar_Decarian

Good point on adiabatic quantum computing. I am not really read enough to make statements on that field heh. However it seems a lot of people are researching quantum physics.
Pro-Naif
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
Why does the graph end in the year 2000? You singularity people are pathetic. Or are you trying to mislead at this point?
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
Currently the Fujitsu K computer is the fastest in the world.

Speed 8 petaflops = 8 * 10 ** 15 flops

Cost $1.25 billion US.

Calculations per second per $1000 = 6.4 * 10**9

Included on the chart above. That data point would continue the trend shown in the reset of the plot.

But note.. Computational speeds with existing technology per unit of wafer size are not going to increase beyond an order of magnitude at best. So increases in computational speed will only come from an increase in the number of computational units. More chips, more servers, more memory etc. This all adds up to more cost.

If the fastest computer is already costing 1.2 billion and we tollerate costs that are 100 times larger then this means that the fastest machines affordable will be 100 * 10 * 4 (increased chip integration) faster than today.

So lets say they will be 4,000 times faster.

Maybe I am being too pessimistic so lets add another factor of 25 and say 100,000 times faster than today.

Cont.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2011
Only 4 of those machines will ever be produced. One in Japan, one in China, one in Europa and one in South America.

That is the end of the line for general purpose VonNuman types of computing.

This may be just large enough to simulate a human brain. But probably not.

Nerdyguy
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
Why does the graph end in the year 2000? You singularity people are pathetic. Or are you trying to mislead at this point?


Not sure, but possibly this at the bottom of the article explains it:

"More information: The 2nd part will be published tomorrow."
BloodSpill
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
"I for one welcome our new machine overlords." - Beerbarian

It will come to that. If your children's children play their cards right, they may manage to become the pets or our machine replacements, rather than simply extinct.


Even now with our limited intelligence we know not to reinvent the wheel every time a new problem comes along. Why do away with what millions of years of evolution have produced? A primate with exceptional concentration and awareness that can communicate well enough to be useful.

Face it, these computers are going to be enhancing us, not replacing us. It's simply the most cost-effective method.

I wonder if technology can get to the stage where brain/tech interfaces rely entirely on non-invasive magnetism for two-way interaction.

Why? Nobody wants to be an early adopter when early adoption means surgery.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
"Face it, these computers are going to be enhancing us, not replacing us." - BloodSpill

Brave words coming from someone who is so easily replaced.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
Even now with our limited intelligence we know not to reinvent the wheel every time a new problem comes along.


Wrong. Just really, really wrong. There are countless examples of things where, regardless of the level of understanding, the proven technology, the knowledge available, we continue to do the stupid thing time and time again.

This is just one of the reasons that I think the concept of a mapping out a timeline for a singularity event is a little silly. Of course, it's hard to define "singularity event". What it means really depends on whom you ask, as this is not some sort of scientific term that has wide acceptance. In fact, it's been written about in science fiction far more than outside that realm.

In any case, it's pretty easy to do a little history reading to get a feel for how technology and innovation happen in a herky-jerky fashion that is difficult to predict.
Nerdyguy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
Imagine having computers so advanced that they can design the next generation of computer and so on. Imagine simultaneously perfecting the link between human brains and those computers. Every human able to instantly be a physicist, mathematician, biologist, etc. Merging human ambition and imagination with nearly unlimited access to the knowledge needed to realize those dreams. I wonder if we will have discovered faster than light travel and have left this planet for another galaxy before 2100. With so much processing power and imagination efficiently linked, we may get to the future a whole lot faster than we realize.


You are truly out of your gourd.

I, too, am a huge fan of science fiction and enjoy fantasizing about these things. But, that doesn't make them reality.

By 2100, we will be very, very lucky if we leave the solar system, let alone the galaxy.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
Voting Republican is a perfect example.

"There are countless examples of things where, regardless of the level of understanding, the proven technology, the knowledge available, we continue to do the stupid thing time and time again." - NerdBoy

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
"By 2100, we will be very, very lucky if we leave the solar system, let alone the galaxy." - NerdBoy

By 2020, America will not exist as a single nation.

By 2100, What is left of the American South will be incapable of feeding itself.
blawo
1 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2011
The article, as well as most of the comments, can be, and should be a subject of criminal prosecution.

In my country, to call for support for an authoritarian regime that would enslave human beings, is criminal act.

I am sure the same holds for any civilized country. Despite free speech, open support for anti-human, slavery-enabling, fascistoid society with human beings as slaves, is open attack against constitutional rights.

The pure belief of author and his fellows, that human beings does not posse mechanically irreducible qualities that make humans superior to any machine, does not allow him to implement his anti-humanistic picture into reality; we have plenty of examples of such attempts with tragic outcomes from not-long-ago past.

We should stop all the potential murders masked as messiahs right now!

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2011
The prediction of singularities always seems very naive: They just take a linear (or sometimes exponential) curve and fit it to their data. They never seem to take into account that
a) All effects have limits. There are always boundary conditions, saturation effects, etc. which will counteract the trend at some point - forcing it to level off.
b) They usually look at these trends just as they start (when saturation effects haven't even begun to become obvious)

Ever accelerating innovation is also a myth. It will, too, be limited (if only by the laws of physics themselves. But still, that IS a limit). We hav more people researching stuff - at the same time stuff gets more complex. This will one day counteract the increase in research speeddue to technology or numbers of researchers.

Prime example would be the 'population explosion' or any kind of epidemic forecast.
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2011
The article, as well as most of the comments, can be, and should be a subject of criminal prosecution.


Why?

In my country, to call for support for an authoritarian regime that would enslave human beings, is criminal act.


Which country would that be?

I am sure the same holds for any civilized country.


Wrong. In a civilized country, you should be able to call for whatever you want.

The pure belief of author and his fellows, that human beings does not posse mechanically irreducible qualities that make humans superior to any machine, does not allow him to implement his anti-humanistic picture into reality; we have plenty of examples of such attempts with tragic outcomes from not-long-ago past.

We should stop all the potential murders masked as messiahs right now!


Psycho-babble. I'm hopeful it's just a translator problem. I'm going to ask the TechnoCore to check you out now.

Pyle
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
ap:
The prediction of singularities always seems very naive:
I think it depends on your understanding/definition of the Singularity. Go back to the physical analogy. As you approach the event horizon your perspective changes. What used to be a "wall" isn't so anymore. Time stretches. Years become days. Centuries shorten to seconds. Now come back to the technological singularity. As we approach what today appears to be the singularity, our perspective will change. We will see the distinct steps that take us forward, but today that path is unimaginable. We can't see the steps from here; without foreknowledge we won't be able to see our path forward past a certain point.
>>
Pyle
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
Just for fun, put yourself in the place of Einstein. Where would the singularity be from his perspective? In what scientific areas have we already reached it? Now go back to Newton. Was his "Singularity" maybe 50 years ago? Now go back to Aristotle, 100 years ago? At what point could they fail to see beyond, or even imagine the progress / recognize the world we have become? At what point was there no return to the old way of living/existing?

What does the Singularity really mean? Remember that the analogy has its limits so don't get stuck on the physical event horizon metaphor.

I think when the Singularity is depends on when you are. As things continue to accelerate, I agree, there is going to be a "plateau" where we hit some kind of limit. I think VD is way too pessimistic though in his flops.

More better is coming faster than most of us imagine.
hyongx
5 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2011
What does the Singularity really mean? Remember that the analogy has its limits so don't get stuck on the physical event horizon metaphor.
-Pyle
I thought that the "singularity" was defined at the time when humans were no longer needed to Design and Produce increasingly powerful computers. I.E., technological advancement became a self-sutaining process.
There's a lot of jibber jabber about robotics and physical processing limits, but if you accept the above definition, well, it could be considered a somewhat discrete time.

Pyle
not rated yet Dec 02, 2011
@hyongx: Your definition sounds like Vinge's, who coined the term, but I think the terms use isn't limited as you stated it.

The FAQ at singularityU puts it like this:
"For Singularity University, the concept of singularity relates to the unexpected moments of dramatic technological change and the need to foresee their implications and opportunities." http://singularit..._id=2262

But I like the definition at 2006 Singularity Summit:
"In futures studies, the singularity represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development past which present models of the future cease to give reliable or accurate answers, following the creation of strong AI or the enhancement of human intelligence. "
http://singinst.o...ularity/
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2011
"Despite free speech, open support for anti-human, slavery-enabling, fascistoid society with human beings as slaves, is open attack against constitutional rights." - blawo

And what constitution would that be?
Vendicar_Decarian
1.7 / 5 (3) Dec 02, 2011
The replacement of humanity by machines - if managed properly - will be a smooth transition where human populations decline replaced by a smaller number of autonomous machines that do the bidding of the MCP.

Humanity is destined for extinction or near extinction (pets) within the current millennium.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2011
Too bad the current AI research is based on the behaviourist argument that an answering machine is a real intelligence as long as you don't realize you're listening to a recording.

foofighter
3 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2011
LOL @ all the naive kurzweillites who gobble up every last of his words with glazed eyes - the man is a conartist. there is no singularity or transhumanistic bullshyt - life will be the same as its always been in 2050 - just with somewhat higher tech.
socean
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Frank, if this future world is somehow not dependant on limited resources, then you are probably right. But if the population continues to balloon, farmland becomes more limited, we will see wars, regardless of what sides there are.


Not so. The oceans, skies, and other marginal lands will become more habitable by virtue of technologies that enhance our ability to live in different, sometimes even extreme, conditions.

Living in new places will come with new found abilities to convert the energy of the sun and earth to produce healthy food, etc. At present, we use only 1/10,000 of the energy input from the sun. There is, and will be, plenty of room and resources to produce a pleasantly prosperous lifestyle for everyone. We have,and will continue to have, the technical prowess to produce such a result.

War,famine, and other tragic outcomes are not inevitable. Being realistic about it means we need to focus on understanding our options and choosing well. And creating new options.
brianweymes
2 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2011
Kurzweil's predictions are repeatedly wrong, then when he's exposed, he tries to change what he said to make it look like he meant something else. If you read his interviews it's obvious he's terrified of death and has invented all this fantasy so he won't have to confront it. The Singularity movement reminds me of a religious cult- promising salvation if only you'll drink its koolaid and ignore all contradictory evidence. Too bad, many of it's proponents are quite smart. What a waste of intelligence.
PeterKinnon
not rated yet Dec 18, 2011
Since when were our sensorimotor cortices NOT in the field of physical reality?

More of the daft anthropocentric ramblings of the transhumanist cult.

Certainly if we can avoid extinction and can make our species compatible with the new non-biological phase of the life process which is already a "work in progress" as what we at present call the Internet, then we might indeed experience a "golden age".

But to become successful symbiotes we must suppress the belligerence which has been so important in the evolution of our species.

Such matters are addressed in "The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?" (free download in e-book formats from the "Unusual Perspectives" website)