The Singularity

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Art

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The Singularity
« on: January 04, 2009, 03:17:53 pm »
Go to Google or any search engine and enter the word: Singularity, then select a site (preferably a legit one instead of a middle school kids ranting).

In conjunction with Moore's Law of computers' exponential increase of speed and power, there stands the premise that instead of taking hundreds of years change will only take months, then weeks, days and hours.... You see where this is going.

According to a number of "big thinkers", we as a species will soon reach a point in our lives that our computers will equal or surpass us in brain power, processing speed, accuracy, size and the ability to become self aware. Humans will be able to download our brains into a computer and there will be plenty of room to hold the information. The age of Artificial Intelligence will have happened.

This will be known as the Singularity.

It will then be able to create better versions of itself and each new version will become faster and better than its predecessor.

This will be a scary time in human history for things will unfold at an astonishingly fast rate. Computers will see, hear and speak but will they reason like humans or understand that life is not a traded commodity? Will their decisions be based only upon logic or will they be able to intermix compassion or judgement?

Where will YOU be in 20 years? It's coming!!
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Maviarab

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 03:54:28 pm »
Good article Art, and to answer your question, I actually hope I'm not around in 20 years time.

humans as a species are stupid in my honest opinion. We have finally realised that we are not immortal and that in all likely hood, we will become extinct one day and there is nothing we can currently do about it. That is all the green brigade and the climate control people are bothered about. We don't care about the planet, we care about having somewhere to live...and thats partly the big issue at hand.

Yes we will be able to clone ourselves, upload our brains, but if we are extinct, who will see it?

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Freddy

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 04:03:58 pm »
Kinda hard being called stupid so early in the year...

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Maviarab

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2009, 04:23:52 pm »
Was not aimed at any particular individual Freddy :) was meant more as a species in general, its a defect in the programing, a ghost in the machine as they say. Its in our nature as a species, we can't help it.

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Freddy

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2009, 05:14:00 pm »
Hmm ok...so I wonder why there's an awful lot of people in the world doing things for the greater good...another defect perhaps ?

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Maviarab

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 05:19:59 pm »
Depends on the ramifications of the greater good. We as a species excel at doing things (often for the greater good) without really thinking of the consequences...

That can be seen right here and now in many areas. Many of the worlds current problems have been created (imo) by us doing great deeds, which only now have become apparent that maybe in hindsight, they were not that great after all, they may have helped at the time, but years later just created more problems.

Thats what I meant :) Some of it is touched in a new article I just did.

Totalitarianism - 1984 is Here

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Freddy

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 05:35:04 pm »
Hmm (again) so  really you don't mean we are stuipid as such, just that we make mistakes ?  That sounds more enlightened...you have to be careful with sweeping generalisations dude, they rarely work out  :)

I was thinking more in the line of 'charity' as a course for greater good.  I accept things like mining coal have led to a lot of problems which we had no way of seeing at the time.  I was thinking of the good side of human nature whereby someone will help another human being (or animals, environment) at some expense to themselves whether financially or through direct action...you know like the Jedi ;)   And there are millions of charities in the world aren't there ?

A new article! Nice one  8)

Now I have to eat my tea which is going to include sausages - so there's me making the most of nature's bounty or exploiting it somehow, depends how you look at it.  Even more confusing is I support animal charities.  Where is the sense indeed!

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Maviarab

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 05:58:55 pm »
Hmmm (myself), OK maybe it was a strong word, but it was I suppose now I think more, in response to the generalisation of most people that we are the most intelligent species on the planet.

Now again, thats not aimed anyone in particular, but it is a view shared by most people. Because we can talk, build things and do numerous other things also, people in general think the human race is wonderful and all powerful.

So what, most species 'communicate' in some way, just because we don't understand it, does not make it any less clever etc. Most species also 'build' and many overcome problems. All species (with the odd few exceptions) take what they need from the land, give back to the land etc etc, don't over populate etc etc. We as a species don't. Well maybe we are starting too, but I personally feel its way to late.

Maybe at some distant point in the past, we helped other species with our deaths, but with modern health and safety (and our increasing need to reproduce) we do not even do that anymore. Hell, even the dinosaurs (most dominant species at the time)  left something for other creatures to prosper on when they died.

I believe the only way we as a species have become so dominant, is our inability to stop reproducing. There is a distinct difference to reproducing to continue a species, and the inability to stop. With so many of us, the odds and law of averages are on our side to do 'great things'.

This could turn out to be an interesting debate. Very rare is it for someone to do something for someone else without any benefit. It happens yes, but its a low percentage compared to how many people are alive. I also believe charities help, but at the same time, don't think they do at all. How many billions have been sent to third world countries from just the UK, yet what has that money actually done? Do people actually believe that no one charges for their services or that no one profits from it? I used to give to charity, then when the Icelandic banks hit trouble, found out that the 'Cats Protection League' which in reality is a small charity here in the UK, had over £12 million invested in one of the banks.

£12 million, yet they need £1.50 a week from me?

Now, imagine what a charity like Uniceff, RSPCA or any other large charity might have stashed away. Why is that money not being used for what it was given for? Why are there tonnes and tonnes of food stock sitting in warehouses going to rot when there are millions starving every day? I know I'm getting cynical in my old age, will freely admit it, but I also have my eyes wide open.

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Freddy

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 08:06:19 pm »
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So what, most species 'communicate' in some way, just because we don't understand it, does not make it any less clever etc. Most species also 'build' and many overcome problems. All species (with the odd few exceptions) take what they need from the land, give back to the land etc etc, don't over populate etc etc. We as a species don't. Well maybe we are starting too, but I personally feel its way to late.

Yeah other species do communicate of course, I agree it's just as clever.  I don't think a lot of animals do a lot of charitable 'giving back to the land' though.  I think they just live to reproduce too.  I'm sure tigers don't worry if the antelope will run out because they for the most part are living within a functional food cycle (which humanity tends to over-exploit due to the world's over-population). 

But, other species do over-populate though - think of locusts, swarming mice populations, plagues of rats, even ladybirds (which happened when I was a kid) - those are just a few examples of how the natural numbers swell sometimes so much so that they outstrip all their resources.  Look up that marine starfish 'The Crown of Thorns' just to see what damage they are doing to coral reefs and it's habitat.  Or the massive swarms of jellyfish that occur now and again.  You probably guessed I watch too many wild-life programs!

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Maybe at some distant point in the past, we helped other species with our deaths, but with modern health and safety (and our increasing need to reproduce) we do not even do that anymore. Hell, even the dinosaurs (most dominant species at the time)  left something for other creatures to prosper on when they died.

Not sure I follow you there - I tend to think it wasn't a kind thought from the dinosaurs, it was more like 'hard luck your time is over now give the little guys a go'.  Interestingly we were probably the little guy or at least they were our ancestors, if you go with the evolution theory...and with the meteorically inflicted extinction.

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I believe the only way we as a species have become so dominant, is our inability to stop reproducing. There is a distinct difference to reproducing to continue a species, and the inability to stop. With so many of us, the odds and law of averages are on our side to do 'great things'.
It might be harder to believe but I think animals also have the inability to stop reproducing - rabbits, mice, rats, flys - survival at work I guess.  Try stopping plants from growing too...  What if someone tried to stop people from having children ?  Those are the kinds of people wars start over, oppressive regimes and so on.

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Very rare is it for someone to do something for someone else without any benefit. It happens yes, but its a low percentage compared to how many people are alive.
I see people every day doing things for other people so my experience is different.  I've done a fair bit of voluntary work too over the years and something like the county museums service just wouldn't operate without all the voluntary workers.  I am sure the same is true in other fields too, like archaeology and other underfunded things.

Yes charities hey ?  Wonder what good they do too sometimes.  People do need paying sometimes though, they need to pay the rent, eat etc of course.  £12M in the bank for cats would seem plenty to me too, but I don't know the day-to-day expenses. Offices, representatives, lawyers, experts, carers - I guess it all adds up, so maybe £12M in the bank these days isn't that suprising - I just don't know so cannot comment very much there, but can only guess that you need that kind of money these days to run a country-wide operation of that kind.

I think where charity goes you have to realise that they can't do everything, infact no-one can really.  There will always be a starving child somewhere and the food is in the wrong place due to too much red-tape and selfish so called 'leaders'.  For the most part I think they do what they can and if they're clever with money then that's surely a good thing.  Maybe I am naive, but there's a lot of good done too, which was my original point.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2009, 09:36:56 pm by Freddy »

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Freddy

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 09:09:07 pm »
Spookily enough, there's a program on BBC One right now about animal swarms.  It's called Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions and is on in two parts, I guess the next one being on next Sunday and probably repeated during the week on one of the other BBC channels.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00gkrm2

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Art

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 12:35:59 am »
The tigers in the wild are always grateful for naive explorers as are cannibals. :D

Charities while well intentioned are often full of hand-to-pocket merchants and most
report that only a small percentage of money actually gets where it was originally
destined.

To me, charities are so popular because there's so many of them or perhaps there's
so many charities because they're so popular. See the logic? People want to get that
wonderful "Feel good" feeling as if their $ is actually going to feed that hungry child
for a week. Yes, I'm being a bit cynical and my heart goes out to that child on TV and
those in EVERY country that goes to bed hungry. My abject hatred also goes out to EVERY
fat cat bastard who has his hand in the till ripping off funds from those who so desperately
need them.

For me, charity begins at home. I have to take care of my and my family's needs both
now and for the future, then I can perhaps broaden the circle to some friends and neighbors
as the case may be. Animals are often the hard cases because they are unable to bring
about change whereas people can if they've a mind to.

Reminds me of the saying, "GIve a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to
fish and you feed him for a lifetime!"

I digress, this topic was not meant to be about animal rights, charities and such but about
the coming Singularity. Read about it...Google it and do some research of several sites and
interviews and thinker's opinions. We have created our own destiny. Much like Henry Ford's
assembly line...well intentioned but look where we are now. Building computers in an effort
to make our lives easier until we one day, give them the gift of thought. Then who's in
control of whom?

Watch the Sci-Fi movies with move of an open mind instead of dismissing it as rubbish that
couldn't possibly happen. I can assure you, it can and most likely WILL happen...it's just a
matter of time.

In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Maviarab

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 02:30:15 pm »
hehe..all interesting stuff. The singularity is discussed by a couple of the people on the recent Edge topic that tyler posted

http://aidreams.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=2609.msg10161;topicseen#new

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Freddy

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 03:11:53 pm »
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For me, charity begins at home. I have to take care of my and my family's needs both
now and for the future, then I can perhaps broaden the circle to some friends and neighbors
as the case may be. Animals are often the hard cases because they are unable to bring
about change whereas people can if they've a mind to.

Yes, that's pretty much what I was getting at when I was arguing that people do infact do a lot for each other - it can be something simple like walking the dog, washing up or keeping an eye out for an elderly neighbour, there's just too many examples to list.

But yeah, way off topic now, so I will stop there on that particular area.

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Building computers in an effort to make our lives easier until we one day, give them the gift of thought. Then who's in control of whom?

Makes me think of all these annoying automated telephone systems - they make me feel like I am not in some control of the process any more.  The way the machine tells me to 'have a good day' really peeves me too - it's simply meaningless.

I know that I am going to hate a lot of this new technology as well for similar reasons.  I just hope the good out-weighs the bad.

My mental image of the Singularity is that of a run-away train.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 04:17:50 pm by Freddy »

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Maviarab

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Re: The Singularity
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2009, 06:58:29 pm »
Good analgy Freddy of the train. Would think the same. The really scary part is this:

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It will then be able to create better versions of itself and each new version will become faster and better than its predecessor.

When a machine can create better versions of itself..we need to start worrying. As was stating earlier..we never think of the long term. Even if its possible, should we at all build a machine thats capable of that kind of action?

As you say, most tech in the future will be great I think, but also a lot of it will cause more trouble than good I think in the long term.