Warren Ellis | The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 08Warren Ellis joins me on The DisinfoCast for a conversation about the future that was, artificial intelligence, the Singularity, aliens (ancient and otherwise), the legacy of Hunter S. Thompson, porn and even a little bit about comic books. Tune in.
Tag Archives | Singularity
SYSTEM ALERT: Don’t listen to Ray Kurzweil!
He is dead wrong … just not how you think he is. If anything, his seemingly crackpot notion of Singularity — namely, that man and machine will be indistinguishable no later than 2045 — is so prescient and precise, to borrow a term from Battlestar Galactica, it’s frakin’ scary.
Look around you; we’re awful close as it is. From insulin pumps to robotic limbs to the chips embedded in Parkinson’s patients, an albeit fledgling Singularity is already here. And with IBM’s Watson having bested both Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter at Jeopardy!, this inert, bipartisan Mr. Smith came to Washington earlier this month and quickly disposed of Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Nan Hayworth (R-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), former Rhodes Scholar Jim Himes (D-CT) and trained nuclear physicist Rush Holt (D-NJ). For heaven’s sake, we’ve got robots in Japan, right now, that can dance better than Bristol Palin and Thom Yorke put together.… Read the rest
Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two predicted this was the year when humanity would make contact with an alien intelligence. But if you’ve seen the work of U-Ram Choe, you know the shocking truth: They’re already here.
The brainchild of the South Korean sculptor, “New Urban Species” is an art show disguised as a natural history exhibit from the future, and it’s one of the most engaging displays on tour this year.
U-Ram Choe builds art that comes from a not-to-distant-tomorrow, where organic life and mechanized objects have become one. His kinetic sculptures are not only creepy-fun marvels, they also create a compelling dialog about machine consciousness and the coming Singularity.
In his book Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, brain researcher Valentino Braitenberg demonstrates how human beings invest the increasingly complex behaviors of mechanical devices with a range of values and abilities including aggression, creative thinking, personality and free will, and how we project ourselves into these moving forms.… Read the rest
A funny thing happened when they tried to screen The Singularity is Near. After the lights went down, a computer crash prevented the movie from starting! “Ray Kurzweil got back on stage…and good-naturedly reassured us that the technology was getting better. A couple of minutes later, the movie started…”
The new documentary is a clear rendition of the ideas in Kurzweil’s book, including nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, “with Bill McKibben in the role of the friendly flat out opponent, Bill Joy playing the reasonable but worried man, and Mitch Kapor doubting the technological possibilities… K. Eric Drexler, MIT roboticist Cynthia Breazeal, desktop manufacturing guru Neil Gershenfeld and many many more are woven in to support the idea – and the more hopeful potentials – of accelerating change leading to radical alterations in life (itself).”
The movie includes a second fictional narrative showing the future, “and – one of them, at least – is rather affecting.” And there’s also allusions to Fringe, The Matrix, and “lots of very groovy, trippy, and playful graphics.”
A.I. researcher Ben Goertzel reports back from the 2009 Singularity Summit in New York. Stephen Wolfram discussed Wolfram|Alpha, an IBM researcher described brain emulation, and Intel CTO Justin Rattner spoke “on his firm’s potential role in the Singularity.”
But in this follow-up article, Ben Goertzel describes what he learned in a day-long workshop/discussion group on averting catastrophic outcomes after a humanity-altering technological breakthrough.
For example, his list of “11 ways to avoid a bad Singularity” suggests that humanity should simply refrain from building any artificial intelligences that are autonomous…
This weekend Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, gave a talk listing seven world-ending scenarios — including global warming, hyperintelligent computers, and even malicious robots — and then provided the audience with his own greatest fear: that a technological Singularity won’t happen fast enough.
But the highlight of the “Singularity Summit” conference was probably a question directed to the neuroengineering director at Tecnalia (Europe’s third largest private research organization). “An audience member asked if Randal would give the emulated brains a choice about whether or not they wanted to participate in the experiments they had been created for!”
Itamar Arel from the University of Tennessee (and co-founder of the Artificial General Intelligence Roadmap initiative) described a two-pronged approach to bring about A.I. in years instead of decades.
And of course, Ray Kurzweil spoke — twice.