Singularity Computers, Jayztwocents, And A Journalistic Debacle
Kurzweil believes that the singularity will occur by approximately 2045. His predictions differ from Vinge’s in that he predicts a gradual ascent to the singularity, rather than Vinge’s rapidly self-improving superhuman intelligence. This prior need to understand the basic science of cognition is where the “singularity is near” arguments fail to persuade us. It is true that computer hardware technology can develop amazingly quickly once we have a solid scientific framework and adequate economic incentives.
But this popular plot might not belong within the realm of fiction forever. Discussed by philosophers, computer scientists and women named Sarah Connor, this idea seems to gain more credence every year. We are beginning to get within range of the computer power we might need to support this kind of massive brain simulation. Petaflop-class computers (such as IBM’s BlueGene/P that was used in the Watson system) are now available commercially.
This is a form of IA, but may be too focused on systems that are oracular. As much as the program giving the user information, there must be the idea of the user giving the program guidance. Eric Drexler has provided spectacular insights about how far technical improvement may go.7 He agrees that superhuman intelligences will be available in the near future. But Drexler argues that we can confine such transhuman devices so that their results can be examined and used safely. Through the sixties and seventies and eighties, recognition of the cataclysm spread.
Kurzweil claims that technological progress follows a pattern of exponential growth, following what he calls the “law of accelerating returns”. Whenever technology approaches a barrier, Kurzweil writes, new technologies will surmount it. He predicts paradigm shifts will become increasingly common, leading to “technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history”.
In 1965, Good wrote his essay postulating an “intelligence explosion” of recursive self-improvement of a machine intelligence. Ben Goertzel agrees with Hall’s suggestion that a new human-level AI would do well to use its intelligence to accumulate wealth. The AI’s talents might inspire companies and governments to disperse its software throughout society. Goertzel is skeptical of a hard five minute takeoff but speculates that a takeoff from human to superhuman level on the order of five years is reasonable. In this sample recursive self-improvement scenario, humans modifying an AI’s architecture would be able to double its performance every three years through, for example, 30 generations before exhausting all feasible improvements .
One such person is Vernor Vinge, a former professor of mathematics at the San Diego State University. Vinge proposes that mankind is heading toward an irrevocable destiny in which we will evolve beyond our understanding through the use of technology. Even if all the governments of the world were to understand the “threat” and be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue. The competitive advantage — economic, military, even artistic — of every advance in automation is so compelling that forbidding such things merely assures that someone else will get them first. This change will be a throwing-away of all the human rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye — an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control. Developments that were thought might only happen in “a million years” will likely happen in the next century.
The aluminium is 6061 and anodized or powder coated, and the acrylic is clear cast. The posts at the rear of the case are created from stainless steel on a CNC Lathe. We use gaskets instead of o-rings to increase durability and lifespan.
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