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The Singularity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by $100T2, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. $100T2

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    I was waiting for a CT scan of my broken right foot this morning at the hospital, and on the cover of TIME magazine was an article about "The Singularity". It has a picture of a human head with a wire going into the spine, kinda like The Matrix, so I decided to see what the hell it was. The article is here.

    For those of you who live under a rock (like me, apparently) and don't know what the fuck that refers to, it's basically like The Terminator: the point at which computers equal then surpass human intelligence.

    Apparently, there are some seriously smart motherfuckers that say it's not if, it's when.

    One of the major proponents of The Singularity, a man named Raymond Kurzweil, states that the power and speed of technology roughly doubles every two years, and that remains constant even when back tracking through the Industrial Revolution. He claims that in 2045, computer intelligence will surpass ALL of combined human intelligence, and because of that, the superintelligence at that point will be able to build even smarter versions of itself. It will be the end of the human era as anyone has ever known it.

    There are institutes devoted to this stuff, like The Singularity Institute. There is a University (!) devoted to it, hosted by NASA, funded in part by one of the guys who started Google: Singularity University.

    I remember on the old board someone talking about some stupid shit he did, saying how it was "next level shit". You want next level? This sure looks like the real deal.

    There are so many possible focus ideas here, I don't even know where to start. I know many members of this board are by FAR superior to me in technical shit, so I'd like Nett Data et al to take over this stuff. I can grasp the incredible changes in technology because they are like the incredible changes in medicine, but the directions this thread could go are limitless.
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    The singularity is a massive load of horseshit. If it ever happens, it will take a lot longer than 2045. This is a religion for atheists. Kurzweil knows there is no supernatural paradise, but doesnt like the alternative: death and nonexistence. So he fantasizes a techno-utopia where his brain can be uploaded and he can cheat biological death. It's a nice idea, but ultimately just a fantasy.

    Have we seen extraordinary developments in technology? Yes, but only of a certain kind. The computers today are zillions of times smaller and faster than those of yesteryear, but they are still architecturally fundamentally identical. They are Von Neumann systems, just very small and very fast. The problem with simulating intelligence (human-like intelligence anyway) has never really been one of capacity or speed: it has always been that we don't understand intelligence that well.

    From a technological perspective, the only real architecture we have seen that is different is quantum computing. Quantum computing, if it ever becomes feasible, will allow us to solve very limited classes of mathematical problems very fast, but will probably not bring us closer to the singularity.

    What you should keep an eye on is bioengineering: things like custom drug designs. The primary difficulty here is that each baby step forward requires extraordinary engineering cleverness. Often, we know what outcome we want, but coming up with a controllable process to achieve it requires massive effort. Let's say I want a molecule that looks a particular way to bind to a particular receptor. I can't just plug this molecule into a CAD program and synthesize it (yet); I have to come up with some crazy chemical procedure to make it. Then another to build a shell that I can use to smuggle it into the right kind of cell. Then another to get the chemical into the shell. It's a lot of work, but the payoffs are potentially huge.

    Sorry to burst your bubble (and Ray's). The future will be exciting, but not that exciting.

    FOCUS: What technological developments are you looking forward to? How likely do you think they are? What techno-predictions do you think will never come true?
     
  3. Kubla Kahn

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    Im just looking forward to the technology that allows direct interface with our brains. Like the Matrix or Incepetion. Just plug in and play a real life quality version of Call Of Duty. Let's be real, we'll just be using it to dream fuck ourselves to total body atrophy. I can't wait. Of coarse if we get that far we can just instruct our brain to send the signals to grow our muscles any way. Let's be real, we'll just instruct our brains to grow our penises to gargantuan lengths.

    I have no clue on how possible this actually is right now. You always here about nanotechnology being a big factor but I don't know how much is possible and how much is wistful thinking by scientist. Finding out how the inner workings of our subconscious brain signals work is insanely fascinating and could really revolutionize what we know about our bodies.
     
  4. Frank

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    Tv's that turn on and change channels when you press the button- We use to have this, what the fuck happened? Why do I have to wait three seconds to flip between the news and Alf reruns? I'm a busy guy here.

    Likelihood: High, like I said we already had it

    A pill, droplet or whatever that makes unhealthy food healthy or healthy food tasty- I'm sick of this 'you have to be disciplined' bullshit, either make butter good for you or make broccoli taste like deep fried ice cream. Jesus we put a man on the moon and I still have to count calories, and while you're at it make booze healthy.

    Likelihood: I would like to say high, but I would assume we already had everything we need to make this a reality. Maybe it already exists but some bitches working for the FDA want to keep it from the public so they don't become completely irrelevant.

    Teleportation- How fucking awesome would it be to be able to wake up in your ginormous house in the boonies with Netdatta as your zany neighbor and then take your 3 second commute to the city for work? Or how about not having to get on a fucking plane whenever you go on vacation.

    And yes, I know property on lakes would go through the fucking roof eventually, but the first couple years would be a gas.

    Likelihood: No fucking idea, all I know is I'm waiting at least six months for them to work out the kinks.
     
  5. rei

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    That's a really bad misappropriation of Moore's Law... which will hit a brick wall once chips become so small the atoms interfere with transmitting electric signals.

    Focus: Laser Pistols. It's already begun: <a class="postlink" href="http://hackaday.com/2011/03/10/youll-shoot-your-eye-out-with-a-1mw-laser-pulse-pistol/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://hackaday.com/2011/03/10/youll-sh ... se-pistol/</a>
     
  6. lostalldoubt86

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  7. hamshackler

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    A bit off focus, but going off the initial post, I don't quite believe that computers will ever surpass human intelligence. Sure, technology's computational skills and speed will most definitely (and, in some cases, already have) surpassed brainpower, but how could you program a machine with intuition? or judgement? There are certain inherent qualities that our brain gives us that I don't believe is possible to give to a machine. Of course what the hell do I know, 50 years ago they would've told you that carrying 10,000 songs along with an infinite source of information (internet) in your front pocket is utterly impossible.


    Focus: I can't be the only one that is still waiting to see one of these.
    [​IMG]


    Of course, hokie religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.
     
  8. silway

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    Focus: 3D Printers. <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing</a>

    They exist now and there are groups out there working on ways for a 3D printer to be able to print another 3D printer. There are also groups out there working on printing *food*. If they take off, 3D printers will change the world in massive ways. Imagine programming in your diet so the printer "cooks" your food for you in a way that lets you lose weight over time automatically. Imagine printing up a new pair of shoes, a phone, a pillow, a car...

    Raw materials plus computer files will define the new product economy. Whew.
     
  9. Dmix3

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    Focus - Nanotechnology. I find that shit fascinating, seems like a technology that can really benefit mankind. Unfortunately it is going to have to be heavily regulated since the potential for human fuckery is very prevalent. If you ever want a good read on the topic, check out "Prey" by Michael Crichton, might scare ya.
     
  10. Binary

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    People just have no clue that increased processing power does not make a computer "smarter."

    Just because we will be able to do massive parallel processing doesn't mean a computer gains some kind of intelligence, reasoning, or ability to build anything that it hasn't been programmed to build. It's still at the limits of the input from the programmers. Sure, you can crunch the same calculation in one billionth of the time, but that's just faster - not smarter.

    The so-called "Singularity" would mean we would have to have a very substantial leap forward in the way computers are programmed, not just how fast they are. AI isn't a pipedream just because we don't have the processing power of the future. Hell, Watson was probably the single best leap forward in natural language processing and it still makes substantial mistakes because all it can do is work with the algorithm the programmers gave it.

    "Prey" should only scare you if you are one of the people who believes the Singularity is real and scary and in our immediate future.
     
  11. BL1Y

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    The new document review technology has been able to take search terms and then find other, related concepts that it wasn't initially told to look for. Tell it to search e-mails for "dog" and it will pull one that says "Took Fido for a walk."

    Of course, this is not intelligence, just programming. It's programmed to look for words that are commonly used around "dog" and assume the concepts are related. No reason to think it understands what a dog or a walk are, but as far as function is concerned, it's more "intelligent" than a human document reviewer.

    So, when it comes to computers becoming so powerful that they're able to take over their own future development, I'm not that skeptical. It will take some clever programming, but I think it can be done. I don't think they'll gain consciousness, but I think they will gain a sort of intelligent operation that is close enough for practical purposes.
     
  12. Juice

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    Even crazier than the the Singularity theory is the point of maximum potential. Supposedly it's when computing power will reach it's absolute maximum speed whereby any application that can perform any function can be generated instantly. After that point is reached, there will be no need to make computers any faster.
     
  13. BL1Y

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    I would suspect that physical limitations would prevent this. Electrical signals have a top speed, and there are some theories about there being a smallest unit of time that cannot be further divided.
     
  14. Juice

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    Right, electrons can only travel up to the speed of light. Also, computers systems as we know them are hierarchical, which means the process still gets slowed down. I guess the only way it could work is through interpretive transition. Basically instead of a transistor waiting for the I/O command, it makes an educated guess as to what it will be and sends it along before it receives the actual signal.
     
  15. Fernanthonies

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    Imagine being able to 'torrent' a new pair of shoes or a new TV, etc. That would be interesting.

    FOCUS: This isn't really all that ambitious, but I have always wanted to see the holographic video screens that you see in science fiction, the ones that are simply a 2D holographic image but look like an HD screen and the only hardware is a small emitter. Not a projector either, I mean something that wouldn't require a surface to project on.
     
  16. Lasersailor

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    Through all of computer development, even including Watson, they have yet to invent Real Artificial Intelligence. All computers yet are only programmed with finer and finer responses, but still can't think for themselves.


    Quantum Computing Recently there was an article about "Quantum Computing." Basically instead of using electricity as the conduits for information in a computer, it used Fiber Optics and Light Pulses. This was not Quantum Computing. As it stands now the development in computers is using the same basic design we've had for decades (Processor, Hard drive, RAM, Motherboard) much in the same way that Nuclear Engines are basically the same Steam Engines we had 200 years ago.

    Using Quantum Calculations through statistics and observation can perform calculations many times faster and many times larger than our best pipedream abilities of current computer abilities.


    Likelihood - Very likely in my opinion. But inventors and innovators need the drive, courage and innovation to shirk behind current computer designs and basically start from scratch.
     
  17. Frebis

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    Did any of you watch that robot beat the shit out of that human robot named Ken Jennings at Jeopardy last month?

    I personally look forward to the day when Jeopardy is played by robots and not humans.
     
  18. kindalas

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    FOCUS: What technological developments are you looking forward to? How likely do you think they are? What techno-predictions do you think will never come true?


    Immortality for everyone is what I'm waiting for.

    I give it a 50/50 chance that it'll available in my lifetime.
     
  19. Fernanthonies

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    Really? As far as I'm concerned, anyone that says they want to live forever hasn't actually thought too hard about the implications of immortality. No thanks.
     
  20. Danger Boy

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    I don't think it would be too bad. If you were rendered "immortal", your body would basically maintain the state that it was in when it was in its prime, which would probably be anywhere from late twenties to early thirties (for men anyway). Imagine if you could experience everything you would in a normal life of 80 or so years, only you could do it in a physically youthful state. A lot of elderly people seem to have had enough of life and have accepted death. But what if they were still 28 years old physically? Would they view life the same way? Would they want to keep going and experience life even more? It's hard to say.
    Plus, if you get sick of being alive you can always opt out and choose death. if you have a dangerous lifestyle you might die early anyway.
    If I had a chance to be immortal, I would take it, just so I'd have an opportunity to see things that our generation would normally never have a chance to see. If it eventually turns out to be a bad decision, removing myself from the planet would be a fairly easy task.