the Singularity – Will the Continued Development of Computers Surpass Human Intelligence?

A good friend and neighbor of mine presented me with a Time Magazine article titled, “2045 – The Year Man Becomes Immortal” that is a must-read that will have you questioning; “Are we approaching the moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent, but more intelligent than humans?”.

Here is an excerpt from the article that answers that question:

Probably. It’s impossible to predict the behavior of these smarter-than-human intelligences with which (with whom?) we might one day share the planet, because if you could, you’d be as smart as they would be. But there are a lot of theories about it. Maybe we’ll merge with them to become super-intelligent cyborgs, using computers to extend our intellectual abilities the same way that cars and planes extend our physical abilities. Maybe the artificial intelligences will help us treat the effects of old age and prolong our life spans indefinitely. Maybe we’ll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually. Maybe the computers will turn on humanity and annihilate us. The one thing all these theories have in common is the transformation of our species into something that is no longer recognizable as such to humanity circa 2011. This transformation has a name: the Singularity.   [Source: Time Magazine ]

If you read the article (and the excerpt above), you will see there is a name for this theory and it is called “the singularity”.

the Singularity

The word singularity is borrowed from astrophysics: it refers to a point in space-time — for example, inside a black hole — at which the rules of ordinary physics do not apply. [Source: Time Magazine]

A technological singularity is a hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid that it makes the future after the singularity qualitatively different and harder to predict. Many of the most recognized writers on the singularity, such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, define the concept in terms of the technological creation of superintelligence, and allege that a post-singularity world would be unpredictable to humans due to an inability of human beings to imagine the intentions or capabilities of superintelligent entities. [Source: Wikipedia]

The singularity may be something you see as being science fiction, but there are some really, really smart people out there taking this theory seriously. Serious enough, to the point, that they feel that these super artificially intelligent immortals (computers) will in fact prolong our lives indefinitely.

If you are into Information Technology and Computers, then I encourage you to read “2045 – The Year Man Becomes Immortal” [CLICK HERE]

IgorFollowing our read and discussion of the Singularity, my neighbor had a vision he shared with me that I would like to share with my readers:

As I think more about the Singularity, I have this vision of a computer engineer in a deep dark basement somewhere with a computer and all it’s innards spread out on a table before him calling out “Igor run down to Best Buy and get me the largest capacity hard drive available”.  Soon after Igor returns, they can both be seen dancing around the table yelling “It’s Alive!!, It’s Alive!!”. [Source: My Neighbor and Friend, Harry D.]

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5 Responses to the Singularity – Will the Continued Development of Computers Surpass Human Intelligence?

  1. Jacqui says:

    I’ve been reading more and more about the clever robots mostly being created in Japan. It was a breakthrough a year (maybe more?) ago when they figured out how to get them to move like a human, not withstanding the massive computing power.

    Yes, I think robots can become ‘smarter’ than us,even move like us, but how do you teach a robot humanity or problem solving? Cooperation? Or ‘reading’ people? I’m struggling with that in a techno-thriller I’m writing. Think of the really smart people you know–and think how weak their people skills are.

    I don’t read Time anymore so thanks for the link.

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Jacqui,

      Yes, and just think about Watson that competed (and won) on Jeopardy… If robots (or computers) can become “smarter” than us, they will figure out the humanity and problem solving part; because they will be smarter than us. Pretty scarey to think about. Can you imagine being kept alive by forever; to the point that you become one of them. I need to upgrade my processor (brain) now to a quad core…

      You are right about the “really smart people”… Most are eccentric and lack people skills and most instances do not know how to make toast. Thanks for commenting…

      Rick

  2. techpaul says:

    Mans’ quest for immortality, and the price he’s willing to pay.

    Will the machines serve us, or we them?

    Would a “rational” (pure linear logic) super intelligent machine decide we “irrational” humans were a dangerous ‘virus’? (Yes.)

    Would a ‘sentient’ machine have “human rights”? Could it vote? Hold office?

    How about a battalion of cyborg warriors…

    A lot of this has been contemplated in the writings of “Science Fiction”. Which largely gets dismissed as “entertainment”. But Dick Tracy’s wristwatch is here now, already. We are witnessing/have witnessed Science Fiction become Fact.

    Maybe we should stop passively accepting technological advances.. before Skynet turns into Fact.
    But doing so would be much like trying to keep the tide out with a broom.

    Big topic for a Friday…….

  3. [...] Folks, a quick reading reco for your Friday: the Singularity – Will the Continued Development of Computers Surpass Human Intelligence? [...]

  4. Ramblinrick says:

    TechPaul,

    I love your response and your imagination (with facts within) that enhances “the singularity” theory and the point that the Dick Tracy watch is already here.

    Rick

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