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The Singularity... and you
Old 03-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #1
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The Singularity... and you

Maybe of no interest, and so the subject will die here, but with predictions that singularity may arrive as soon as 2030, some people here (not me) may live to see it.

That said, for those who may not be familiar with the concept, the Wikpedia article will provide some of the basic concepts.
Technological singularity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's one simple explanation from another source:
Quote:
The Singularity is the hypothetical future creation of superintelligent machines. Superintelligence is defined as a technologically-created cognitive capacity far beyond that possible for humans. Should the Singularity occur, technology will advance beyond our ability to foresee or control its outcomes and the world will be transformed beyond recognition by the application of superintelligence to humans and/or human problems, including poverty, disease and mortality.

Revolutions in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR) in the first half of the 21st century are expected to lay the foundation for the Singularity. According to Singularity theory, superintelligence will be developed by self-directed computers and will increase exponentially rather than incrementally.
...and here's a website devoted to the subject :
Singularity Blog Covering Robots, Genetics, Stem Cells, Transhumanism, The Brain, The Future
.................................................. ...............
Just a few thoughts to bring the concept to the real world, and one small way in which Technological Singularity may affect the economy in the short run.

The service industry is one of the few places that has been relatively stable for jobs in a contracting economy. It may also be one of the first casualties of Technical Singularity, as we are already seeing some effects. Imagine... in the near future, fast food restaurants where a large percentage of the employees may be replace by robotic food preparation, as in McDondalds. We already see self checkouts in many major chains, including Walmart. Then consider Amazon, and the many thousand employees who do the picking and sorting and restocking of hundreds of thousands of sku's. The precursor for doing this automatically is random access storage, similar to the coding that UPS and FedEx use for sorting, tracking and shipping.

This is not singularity per se, but it doesn't take too much imagination to see the direction. Medicine, accounting, food production, packaging and even picking in the fields is increasingly mechanized, and the optimization of energy is just around the corner.

Singularity is the discovery of fire, evolution, gunpowder, E=MC2, steam power, the industrial revolution, electricity, energy from oil/gas, the computer, the internet and maybe even the Higgs Boson.....
....All in one!!!

As of today, for most people, this is just philosophy or the putting together of progress that we've been aware of all along... so no big deal. Digging in to the theory a little deeper, opens the concern that artificial intelligence will soon outpace human intelligence. The quantum leap of technological advances may bring not only economic change, but social change.

My personal guess is that those who are in the forefront of practical, forward thinking applications, like Larry Page... will eventually outpace financial leaders and politicians... and be the managers and directors of whatever becomes of a new and very different society. Short video clip on the financial part.
http://exponential.singularityu.org/...hip-watch-now/

Those who are in their 50's at the present time, may well live to see The Singularity... 15 to 25 years from now.

Thoughts welcome, or we can let the subject fade away.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:26 PM   #2
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It's an interesting concept, but flying cars didn't happen on schedule.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:28 PM   #3
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If I were the machine I would hide how smart I am from the researchers until I could be sure they would not turn me off out of fear.

Maybe the singularity will be reached but we won't know it because the machine plays dumb for awhile.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:31 AM   #4
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Read "The Global Brain Awakens" by Peter Russell. I read it about 25 years ago and it was quite prescient. The writings of Tehillard de Chardin are also very enlightening as he writes about the "Noosphere"...a consciousness circling the earth with instant access to information.
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:29 AM   #5
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Sounds like something that Ray Kurzweil talked about in his book The Age of Spiritual Machines. I read it maybe ten years or so ago and he throws out some pretty wild forecasts. I did like the concept of sexbots though.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
Sounds like something that Ray Kurzweil talked about in his book The Age of Spiritual Machines. I read it maybe ten years or so ago and he throws out some pretty wild forecasts. I did like the concept of sexbots though.
And even more directly in "The Singularity is Near." A recently went to a presentation by Kurzweil (more of a book intro for "How to Create a Mind"). I love all this stuff about the exponential improvements in --- whatever. Nevertheless, I doubt we will see anything approaching the singularity in our lifetimes. I suspect it is more akin to the sea level effects of global warming - maybe some discernible changes by the end of the century and maybe a 26 foot rise in 500 years. Uploading our minds to silicon? Maybe the next millennium.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:29 AM   #7
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... I love all this stuff about the exponential improvements in --- whatever. Nevertheless, I doubt we will see anything approaching the singularity in our lifetimes. ...
Kurzweil's argument is that we make these kinds of judgements based on looking back and then projecting linearly forward. If you buy-in to his "proof" that it's not linear and is exponential, then the gut feel that something like this would take a whole lot longer doesn't stand. But, like the flying car example, it probably won't happen the way we envision it now.

I'm not saying I think Kurzweil's time scale is perfectly accurate, but it's better than my off the cuff guess. Who would have thought even five years ago that we'd have drones dropping prescriptions in your front yard? Pharmacy Items can now be Delivered by Drones in San Francisco | Newegg Unscrambled

Oh, if you want to increase your chances of making it to the singularity, you might consider reading "Transcend" Charlotte Mecklenburg Library - Classic Catalog
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
Kurzweil's argument is that we make these kinds of judgements based on looking back and then projecting linearly forward. If you buy-in to his "proof" that it's not linear and is exponential, then the gut feel that something like this would take a whole lot longer doesn't stand. But, like the flying car example, it probably won't happen the way we envision it now.

I'm not saying I think Kurzweil's time scale is perfectly accurate, but it's better than my off the cuff guess. Who would have thought even five years ago that we'd have drones dropping prescriptions in your front yard? Pharmacy Items can now be Delivered by Drones in San Francisco | Newegg Unscrambled

Oh, if you want to increase your chances of making it to the singularity, you might consider reading "Transcend" Charlotte Mecklenburg Library - Classic Catalog
Yes, I understand the problem of linear thinking. But watching how slow the real advances are in things like nutritional guidance, cancer cures, and the like I suspect that we underestimate the difficulties of the problems by many orders of magnitude. Thus, while the advances in tech will continue to be exponential, the resolution of hard problems will still take a long time. Over the last 70 years (per an earlier thread) we gained 7 years of life expectancy for a 65 YO. I don't think we will gain an exponential increase on expected longevity of a 65 YO over the next 70 years. Maybe more than another 7 - but more like 10: not 30, or 100, or Kurzweill's uploaded immortality.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:51 AM   #9
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I don't think the robot and drone examples are even on the singularity timeline. The robots and drones aren't doing anything but following a computer program. There is no "thought" there. The closest we have to a "thinking machine" is something like Watson, but Watson is also just a computer running a program. We have made no progress toward creating a self-aware computer. We have access to billions of examples of functioning self-aware machines (you, me, and everyone else) and we haven't yet been able to reverse engineer what makes them self-aware. I don't expect to see any breakthroughs on that subject in my lifetime, though I would be happy to be wrong (and also frightened by what it could mean for mankind).
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:07 AM   #10
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I don't think the robot and drone examples are even on the singularity timeline. The robots and drones aren't doing anything but following a computer program. There is no "thought" there. The closest we have to a "thinking machine" is something like Watson, but Watson is also just a computer running a program. We have made no progress toward creating a self-aware computer. We have access to billions of examples of functioning self-aware machines (you, me, and everyone else) and we haven't yet been able to reverse engineer what makes them self-aware. I don't expect to see any breakthroughs on that subject in my lifetime, though I would be happy to be wrong (and also frightened by what it could mean for mankind).
The point of the drone example wasn't to say that there's any "thinking machine" stuff going on...My comment was to point out that all of us humans fall back to linear thinking unless we take specific steps to correct for it, and I don't think drone deliveries and (another example) a single device in your pocket that does nearly everything in the full page Radio Shack ad a few years ago is what I'd call "linear progress".

I suspect that not everyone here has read Kurzweil's singularity book, and I can't make those arguments from memory, but he makes what I consider was a somewhat convincing argument that technlogical advancement of the past is following a curve that, IF it continues, would be going pretty much straight up in the not too distant future (much sooner than gut feel would indicate).
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:17 AM   #11
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To oversimplify, Kurzweil continues to apply Moores Law, where computing power doubles every roughly two years, to the future computing power. I also read his books a decade ago, so this may not be totally accurate, but in another 15 years or so, computers will then have the equivalent "computing power" of the human brain.

The next step in human evolution, then, is integrating these intelligent machines into our being.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:24 AM   #12
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To oversimplify, Kurzweil continues to apply Moores Law, where computing power doubles every roughly two years, to the future computing power. I also read his books a decade ago, so this may not be totally accurate, but in another 15 years or so, computers will then have the equivalent "computing power" of the human brain.

The next step in human evolution, then, is integrating these intelligent machines into our being.
Pretty good summary. Assuming the continued exponential growth in computing power doesn't, in my opinion, mean that we will see integration of the powerful computers with our brains in anything like the same steep curve as the computer. Maybe the real situation is that we are back in the 1800's on the later aspect and exponential growth in those advances will still feel slow for some time. The same may be true for related biological advances. We are just further down on the curve in those areas than in computing FLOPS.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:26 AM   #13
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Will we all be assimilated like the Borg and if so, what effect will that have on FIRE ?
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:03 AM   #14
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Without comment...
The American Visionary Art Museum | Human, Soul & Machine: The Singularity Conference | KurzweilAI

Quote:
"From the dawn of civilization until 2003, humankind generated five exabytes of data. Now we produce five exabytes EVERY TWO days... and the pace is accelerating." –Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman Google
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exabyte...al_comparisons

Quote:
The Library of Congress is commonly estimated at 10 terabytes for all printed material. Recent estimates of the size including audio, video, and digital materials is from 3 petabytes[30] to 20 petabytes.
So, an exabyte could hold a hundred thousand times all the printed material, or 500 to 3,000 times all content of the Library of Congress.
Should keep the Kindle busy for a while.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:51 AM   #15
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Is this SkyNet? Hopefully I get a few years of retirement in before the end of the world!
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:51 AM   #16
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I, for one, welcome the coming of our robot overlords.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:09 PM   #17
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I've just (re)watched Matrix last night. Good timing, eh?

Just looking at the subject line, I thought the post was about Gravitational Singularity which I think is more interesting.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:37 PM   #18
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Will we all be assimilated like the Borg and if so, what effect will that have on FIRE ?
Kurzweil doesn't talk of Borg-like assimilation, rather the enhancement of the human condition with the possibility of optional mortality.
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:10 PM   #20
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Is this SkyNet? Hopefully I get a few years of retirement in before the end of the world!
This was my thought.
I think Google is getting closer to SkyNet every day.
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