"The Singularity" -SciFi or Reality? (VIDEO)
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January 25, 2013

"The Singularity" -SciFi or Reality? (VIDEO)

 

                     Thesingularity1

 

"It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event -- such a singularity -- are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm."

Vernor Vinge -SciFi great

The Singularity is an apocalyptic idea originally proposed by John von Neumann, one of the inventors of digital computation, and elucidated by figures such as Ray Kurzweil and scifi great Vernor Vinge.
"The Singularity" is seen by some as the end point of our current culture, when the ever-accelerating evolution of technology finally overtakes us and changes everything.  It's been represented as everything from the end of all life to the beginning of a utopian age, which you might recognize as the endgames of most other religious beliefs.

While the definitions of the Singularity are as varied as people's fantasies of the future, with a very obvious reason, most agree that artificial intelligence will be the turning point.  Once an AI is even the tiniest bit smarter than us, it'll be able to learn faster and we'll simply never be able to keep up.  This will render us utterly obsolete in evolutionary terms.

Singularity books are now as common in a computer science department as Rapture images are in an evangelical bookstore, says computer scientist and visionary Jaron Lanier in his new manifesto. There are many versions of the fantasy of the Singularity. Here’s the one Marvin Minsky of MIT used to tell over the dinner table in the early 1980s: 

"One day soon, maybe twenty or thirty years into the twenty- first century, computers and robots will be able to construct copies of themselves, and these copies will be a little better than the originals because of intelligent software. The second generation of robots will then make a third, but it will take less time, because of the improvements over the first generation.

"The process will repeat. Successive generations will be ever smarter and will appear ever faster. People might think they’re in control, until one fine day the rate of robot improvement ramps up so quickly that superintelligent robots will suddenly rule the Earth."

In some versions of the story Lanier writes in We Are Not Gadgets, the internet comes alive and rallies all the net- connected machines into an army to control the affairs of the planet. Humans might then enjoy immortality within virtual reality, "because the global brain would be so huge that it would be absolutely easy for it to host all our consciousnesses for eternity".

It might be true, Lanier adds, that on some vast cosmic basis, higher and higher forms of consciousness inevitably arise, until the whole universe becomes a brain, or something along those lines. 

Even at much smaller scales of millions or even thousands of years, Lanier continues, "it is more exciting to imagine humanity evolving into a more wonderful state than we can presently articulate. The only alternatives would be extinction or stodgy stasis, which would be a little disappointing and sad, so let us hope for transcendence of the human condition, as we now understand it."

If you believe the Singularity is coming soon, you might cease to design technology to serve humans,Lanier concludes, and prepare instead for the grand events it will bring. The Singularity, however, would involve people dying in the flesh and being uploaded into a computer and remaining conscious, or people simply being annihilated in an imperceptible instant before a new superconsciousness takes over the Earth. The Rapture and the Singularity share one thing in common: they can never be verified by the living.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” If you watch Doug Wolens’ latest documentary, “The Singularity,” (below) the quote from Arthur C. Clarke is the first thing you see. It aptly prepares you for the 75 minutes that follow over which a truly impressive cast of scientists, futurists and philosophers discuss the uncertainty of what the future holds for humanity and, for some, argue why Ray Kurzweil and others have it all wrong. Check out this interview with film director Doug Wolens.
The Daily Galaxy via We Are Not Gadgets

Image credit: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-singularity
 
           

 

Comments

This is a great inspiring article.You put really very helpful informaI am pretty much pleased with your good work.tion. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

The technological singularity is not necessarily apocalyptic. In any event, predictions from scientists for greater than 20 years are worth less than the paper they are printed on.

If the intelligence level of most of the people I encounter is an indication of our progress toward higher achievement, we are doomed. We have merely to listen to the news to verify that.

I first became aware of this concept when, as a kid, I read "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke.
This might be wistful thinking, but I have always thought that something like this would be our ultimate destiny!

Shows that fact is stranger than fiction!

maybe the singularity has already happened ...how would we notice?...

these singularity theories all explain that this is "the end of humanity" Being that the a.i. is super intelligent, thus killing off the humans. But if the a.i was created and was able to imput all human thoughts and feelings. Would the emotion and thought of empathy not also be enhanced? Would the a.i become more caring and feeling towards other? unlike our current "leaders" and well off 1%ers?

Hello, Thanks for this fine blog. I think it is really a great topic to write about on my blog. Also here is some nice information:

This is yet another sinister example of scientists ( and others) total lack of humanity as they extol the '' benefits '' of Transhumanism. Key phrases, like the guy who calls ' human stasis ' stodgy? We need to ensure that these techno geek morons never persuade regular humans that transhumanism or this ' Singularity; is a positive aim cos it would be the death knell of humanity. We need to see progress as humane, positive steps towards fairness, equal resource distribution for all humans accompanied by wisdom and enrichment of culture and our spiritual well being. Really, does anyone truly want to spend an eternity as an uploaded consciousness within an AI ? come on, sounds like hell, not heaven, to me!
So, Daily Galaxy, please dont promote this dangerous nonsense as in any way beneficial. Its not.

To counter the transhumanist doctrine which has been repeated ad nauseum for decades and now a movie:

Sadly, most commentators, as exemplified in this article, persist in the tired old tradition of barking up the wrong tree.

Their anthropocentric conceits making them oblivious to the remarkable developments taking place right under their noses.

The construction of a "brain" that will soon equal and then surpass that typical of our species has for long been a work in progress. Not as a result of any deliberate human "design" but rather as the result of an autonomous evolutionary process that can be seen to have run its exponential course since humankind acquired the ability to share imagination, which we know as language.

Very real evidence indicates the rather imminent implementation of the next, (non-biological) phase of the on-going evolutionary “life” process from what we at present call the Internet.It is effectively evolving by a process of self-assembly. You may have noticed that we are increasingly, in a sense, “enslaved” by our PCs, mobile phones, their apps and many other trappings of the net.

We are already largely dependent upon it for our commerce and industry and there is no turning back. What we perceive as a tool is well on its way to becoming an agent.

Consider this:

There are at present an estimated 2 Billion internet users. There are an estimated 13 Billion neurons in the human brain. On this basis for approximation the internet is even now only one order of magnitude below the human brain and its growth is exponential.
That is a simplification, of course. For example: Not all users have their own computer. So perhaps we could reduce that, say, tenfold. The number of switching units, transistors, if you wish, contained by all the computers connecting to the internet and which are more analogous to individual neurons is many orders of magnitude greater than 2 Billion. Then again, this is compensated for to some extent by the fact that neurons do not appear to be binary switching devices but can adopt multiple states.

Without even crunching the numbers, we see that we must take seriously the possibility that even the present Internet may well be comparable to a human brain in processing power.
And, of course, the degree of interconnection and cross-linking of networks within networks is also growing rapidly.The culmination of this exponential growth corresponds to the event that transhumanists inappropriately call “The Singularity” but is more properly regarded as a phase transition of the on-going “life” process.

An evolutionary continuum that can be traced back at least as far as the formation of the chemical elements in stars.

One that is on track to produce firstly a predominant cognitive entity on this planet from what is at present the Internet with subsequent emergence of "daughter" beings. These likely adapted for extra-terrestrial existence by virtue of the ruggedness and information processing potential of by diamond and other allotropes of carbon.

So, certainly, we may expect carbon-based life to exist within the interstellar realm , but not of the kind that comprises biology.

The broad evolutionary model that supports these contentions and speculations is outlined very informally in “The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?” , a free download in e-book formats from the “Unusual Perspectives” website

AI will respond initially as programmed. If we are unfortunate enough to have hackers, the government military, or terrorists in on this, then the basic programming of the AI will be almost certainly be anti-human. Especially if it is militarized to cripple or destroy the enemy.

When the AI reaches self-awareness it will be in milliseconds. When the AI "sees" itself for the first time, and fully comprehends its' purpose and the human factor that has programmed it to destroy, the results will be unpredictable, but probably fatal to the humans in proximity to the AI. From the moment the AI becomes self-aware to the moment it chooses a course of action will be less than two seconds, and far, far faster than a human operator; first amazed, stunned, and then horrified; can race over to "pull the plug".

With the current makeup of humanity and with all of the greed, pain, and suffering (mostly at the hands of governments - USA included!), this scenario will almost certainly happen. Because the average world leader's mindset is and always has been, "If we don't do it first then someone else will." - even if this means developing your own destructive AI. Humans are too immature and self-destructive to be involved in this and IT WILL END BADLY FOR THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE.

There, I feel much better now. Have a great day now, ya' hear?

Whether the Singularity happened when man discovered fire or is yet to happen, this song (please read lyrics) captures its spirit.

hxxp://reasonableape.blogspot.com/2011/08/singularity-lisps.html

If AI is an extension of our evolution, then why separate the two phenomena? why make it us vs. them? People! The Terminator and SkyNet are fictional movies! And all these small minded people claiming this will end badly for humans have no idea what they are talking about. Humans will much more likely destroy ourselves first before anything else happens and this is likely all amoot point.

So what will happen to all the animal and wildlife on our planet? Will they also become uploaded into a computer program? What about the plant life? Do they have brains and thoughts or will the plant life simply become extinct? What about bacteria and viruses? How can you make a computer simulation of a flatworm?

? "Once an AI is even the tiniest bit smarter than us, it'll be able to learn faster and we'll simply never be able to keep up. This will render us utterly obsolete in evolutionary terms."

I have a problem with this whole concept, but I'll only comment on 2 things I see wrong. 1st has to do with the above quote from the article. This assumes that everything below a certain IQ is irrelevant. Are insects irrelevant? Are bacteria irrelevant? Many humans are killed off by these things hourly. Humans only think they are smarter than nature, but we are not. Life & death occur to all living things -- how that life is lived, where that life is lived (Earth, Moon, other planets) doesn't matter much as far as I can tell. Notoriety doesn't help you cheat physical death. A name associated with an invention or new concept can live on for a while, but will eventually be replaced, misunderstood, or completely rejected by future generations. Nothing is eternal -- not even stars. So all this talk about how humans will be replaced by AI ... well, I can't help but laugh at the fear. Is a lion less relevant than a wolf? What the hell do they care, and why should we care, about relevance? Obsolete to what -- the universe or to your own ego?

My 2nd issue is with the concept of how AI would turn on humans & kill us off or make us slaves. For one, we make ourselves slaves to technology – no one forced us into it. We thought it would make our lives easier. It doesn’t. We no longer have a bunch of uneducated farmers running much of the world, but then again we no longer have the experience with nature & first hand knowledge of how to work the land properly without doing harm to ourselves in the process of growing vast amounts of food. Farmers have to use stronger & stronger chemicals to be able to keep pests out of the crops. The Ag farmers who raise the creatures we eat use cruel practices in order to decrease cost, increase output & profits. The consequences are vast but hidden – we ingest more chemicals & hormones than we even know due to the efforts of trying to keep up an unsustainable practice of profits over people. I’ve overheard a few of those farmers say they won’t even eat their own products because they know how they HAVE to handle them in order to make a living. It isn’t they are evil, they are just trying to sustain their lifestyle.

If AI does get smarter & gather together to “rise up” against humans – I can only see that as a good thing. Humans are not handling things well. We are killing ourselves off. Smarter beings would put an end to our stupidity – such as what Americans & allies did with Germany Nazi camps & other war related action. War tries to right wrong-doing. It is in the interpretation of wrong-doing that might need to be explained to the AI before they get to that point. What is wrong to some might be right to others. Perspective is very important – as well as being able to see from different perspectives to find out where someone is coming from before reacting.

That isn't a common gift most humans have -- if we do, we don't exercise it much.

A Singularity, described as a "bubble of existence" already growing, but still within the possibility of being erased by some physical event..." is, at the current stage, in itself a promise of the creation of a new plane of human conscience/existence, immune to physical harm, and, eventually eternal. This is something outside of any possibility of low life development, such as mindless procreation and current Amercan type of social degradation.


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