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Author Topic:   The Social Implications Of "The Singularity Moment"
jar
Member
Posts: 30509
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 76 of 169 (604763)
02-14-2011 5:52 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by AZPaul3
02-14-2011 5:46 PM


Re: Oh.
AZPaul3 writes:

A kill joy realist.

Just think. After so many eons of intellectual development we end up with Ghost Hunters. Imagine the inanity we can achieve with a technologically-augmented thousand-fold intellect!

See Message 4 and Message 8.

It's really not even much of a challenge to see where we are headed.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by AZPaul3, posted 02-14-2011 5:46 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by AZPaul3, posted 02-14-2011 6:07 PM jar has responded

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3456
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 77 of 169 (604765)
02-14-2011 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by jar
02-14-2011 5:52 PM


Watson The Great
Don't knock Watson. The game was just a means to an end. The development of the data base, algorithms and speed of processing was the real achievement.

If Kurzweil's singularity comes to pass we could all have a Watson.

Well, not me, but these younger kids may see that capability in their own heads someday.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by jar, posted 02-14-2011 5:52 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by jar, posted 02-14-2011 6:11 PM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30509
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 78 of 169 (604766)
02-14-2011 6:11 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by AZPaul3
02-14-2011 6:07 PM


Re: Watson The Great
AZPaul3 writes:

Don't knock Watson. The game was just a means to an end. The development of the data base, algorithms and speed of processing was the real achievement.

If Kurzweil's singularity comes to pass we could all have a Watson.

Well, not me, but these younger kids may see that capability in their own heads someday.

Oh, I don't knock Watson, but I do look at iTunes, iPods, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 79 of 169 (604774)
02-14-2011 7:51 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by Theodoric
02-14-2011 4:43 PM


Re: I give up
Trying to get you to explain your position is not worth the effort, I can go elsewhere and get a gish gallop.

You haven't gotten one from me. I've explained my position throughout, most recently in Message 61 and Message 67. That, of course, has not stopped you from lying about my participation in this thread.

Surely you're one of the least honest individuals posting at EvC these days.


This message is a reply to:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1684
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 80 of 169 (604775)
02-14-2011 8:04 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by crashfrog
02-14-2011 3:29 PM


Re: "Absorb Technological Change" - Huh?
crashfrog writes:

the notion of the "singularity" is that the rate of technological change is increasing and has only ever increased; but there's no evidence that the rate at which humans can grapple with technological change is increasing, or increasing at a comparable rate.

Thus, technology will eventually begin to change faster than humans can keep up the change. This is obvious and must, mathematically, come to pass.

I don't see how this can happen as long as humans are creating and using the new technologies. Our society as a whole obviously does not understand all the principles of new technological innovations, but we still use them, and more importantly, buy them. The marketplace controls the rate of technological changes.

I think as long as technological advances are created by humans, and humans are willing to buy them, then we are going to be able to keep up.

If the time does come when computers, AIs, robots, etc. start creating technological innovations on their own, for their own purposes, without direction, input or control from humans, then we will probably not be able to keep up.


Tactimatically speaking, the molecubes are out of alignment. -- S.Valley

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

You can't build a Time Machine without Weird Optics -- S. Valley


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3162
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 81 of 169 (604777)
02-14-2011 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by Tanypteryx
02-14-2011 8:04 PM


Re: "Absorb Technological Change" - Huh?
I don't see how this can happen as long as humans are creating and using the new technologies. Our society as a whole obviously does not understand all the principles of new technological innovations, but we still use them, and more importantly, buy them. The marketplace controls the rate of technological changes.

I think as long as technological advances are created by humans, and humans are willing to buy them, then we are going to be able to keep up.

If the time does come when computers, AIs, robots, etc. start creating technological innovations on their own, for their own purposes, without direction, input or control from humans, then we will probably not be able to keep up.

True. But I don't think that that technology we can't keep up with will consumer electronics. Rather, it would appear in the infra-structure which supports the design and manufacture and support operations for such tech as consumer electronics. When consumer electronics design gets to the point where all the engineers will be able to do anymore will be to describe what they want the new gadgets to do and the AI will work out how to do it.

We're kind of getting there in other areas. One day while checking out at Micro Center, the power went out. So the managers passed out hand-held calculators to the clerks and had them write the transactions down for inputting into the system later -- I think they also had some of those old onion-paper credit card swipe machines. The clerks looked at those calculators and asked, "How am I supposed to figure sales tax on this thing?"

OK, that's a case of old skills having been lost because the machines had taken over those tasks -- I remember back when each cash register had a card taped to it that gave the ranges of cents for each penny of sales tax. But because of those machines (eg, cash registers supporting point of sale inventory), those clerks were able to do so much more than they could before. Similarly, as engineers learn new more powerful design techniques with their new tools, they'll be able to accomplish so much more, while also losing some old skills (eg, how many engineers still know how to wield a slip-stick?).


This message is a reply to:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1684
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 82 of 169 (604778)
02-14-2011 9:05 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by dwise1
02-14-2011 8:58 PM


Re: "Absorb Technological Change" - Huh?
Rather, it would appear in the infra-structure which supports the design and manufacture and support operations for such tech as consumer electronics. When consumer electronics design gets to the point where all the engineers will be able to do anymore will be to describe what they want the new gadgets to do and the AI will work out how to do it.

Good point.

I remember back when each cash register had a card taped to it that gave the ranges of cents for each penny of sales tax.

In Oregon we figured out a way around that problem....We don't have a sales tax.


Tactimatically speaking, the molecubes are out of alignment. -- S.Valley

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

You can't build a Time Machine without Weird Optics -- S. Valley


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 83 of 169 (604782)
02-14-2011 9:49 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by Tanypteryx
02-14-2011 8:04 PM


Re: "Absorb Technological Change" - Huh?
I don't see how this can happen as long as humans are creating and using the new technologies.

Well, right. That's kind of the near term lower limit for the singularity - humans are still the ones who invent technology, so the technology we invent has to be something we can use and absorb. (That still might leave a lot of humans and cultures behind, like the way seniors have been so left behind in the information age.)

When we invent technology for inventing technology, though, that allows for the singularity. I suspect that's what leads Kurzweil to assume that the singularity is coincident with the dawn of Artificial General Intelligence.

If the time does come when computers, AIs, robots, etc. start creating technological innovations on their own, for their own purposes, without direction, input or control from humans, then we will probably not be able to keep up.

If AI is possible, it's inevitable. Apropos of nothing: Watson did pretty well on Jeopardy tonight!


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 84 of 169 (604783)
02-14-2011 10:00 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
02-12-2011 9:34 PM


Fantasy Machines
It will mean more infotainment.

Unfortunately, that is likely the outcome. I see no evidence that any major technological-development endeavors in the near future will be geared toward anything other than perfecting and promoting 'fantasy machines'certainly not in America!

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!
Ignorance is temporary; you should be able to overcome it. - nwr

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Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 85 of 169 (604784)
02-14-2011 10:02 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Jon
02-14-2011 10:00 PM


Re: Fantasy Machines
I see no evidence that any major technological-development endeavors in the near future will be geared toward anything other than perfecting and promoting 'fantasy machines'certainly not in America!

And that's bad how, exactly? People are supposed to have leisure, not work all the time. And you don't even begin to grasp how "play" activities actually get a substantial amount of work done, these days. Ever play FoldIt?


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jar
Member
Posts: 30509
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 86 of 169 (604785)
02-14-2011 10:09 PM
Reply to: Message 84 by Jon
02-14-2011 10:00 PM


Re: Fantasy Machines
Jon writes:

It will mean more infotainment.

Unfortunately, that is likely the outcome. I see no evidence that any major technological-development endeavors in the near future will be geared toward anything other than perfecting and promoting 'fantasy machines'certainly not in America!

Jon

Oh, there will be other uses, likely unexpected ones that fall out from research, but the majority of the population will simply USE the products, accept any benefits, without thinking about them, understanding them or "absorbing" the technology.

That's almost always been the case.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3162
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 87 of 169 (604799)
02-15-2011 12:09 AM
Reply to: Message 86 by jar
02-14-2011 10:09 PM


Re: Fantasy Machines
Oh, there will be other uses, likely unexpected ones that fall out from research, but the majority of the population will simply USE the products, accept any benefits, without thinking about them, understanding them or "absorbing" the technology.

That's almost always been the case.

True. When electronic pocket calculators hit the market shortly before 1970, my father said he knew exactly how they worked: "They've got chips!"

When I was a computer technician in the USAF, our training NCO's theory of how electronics works was that it's all FM (fracking magic -- yeah, they had "frak" in those days). An engineer at work says (admittedly jokingly) that electronic devices run on smoke, "If you let the smoke leak out, it no longer works."

In Isaac Asimov's first Foundation novel, the Foundation's rise to power was in exporting its technology, only they did it as a religion. They installed the tech and the local tech-priests they trained would operate it: to make it work you must say this particular prayer and then press the red button.

Gene Roddenberry's approach to explaining his technology to the audience was to not explain it, but rather just have the character use it and we'd see the results.

Stargate SG-1 had an even better approach. Carter would start to explain the science behind something and O'Neill would shut her up fast.


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Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 88 of 169 (604806)
02-15-2011 1:42 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by crashfrog
02-13-2011 4:13 PM


crashfrog responds to me:

quote:
What if they are different molecules?

I already dealt with that, but let's go deeper.

Yes, the biological process is such that the molecules of your body are constantly being replaced. It is, after all, why you eat, drink, and breathe. You are taking molecules in to replace the ones you have. But that is a slow and small process and doesn't quite fit for all aspects of your body: The skin you have today is not the same skin as what you had a month ago: You have completely new cells. While there is a lot that is the same, there is a lot that is different, too.

But again, your mind is inherently part of your brain. If your brain goes away or if another object that is very much like your brain but is not your brain comes into existence, it isn't "you." It may be a perfect facsimile of you with all of your knowledge and experience in there, but it isn't you.

The problem is that the brain is inherently biological in function. We might be able to replace it with cybernetic processes, but it won't function in the same way because we are (and I'm stealing from Myers because he's talking about this at the same time) a bunch of neurotransmitters floating around in saline. That physical process affects how the brain functions.

Basically, "you" are not merely information. You are a physical manifestation of a particular object.

quote:
"This is my grandfather's axe. My father replaced the handle and I replaced the head." Is it still his grandfather's axe?

No. And to answer your other question, it happened when the parts were replaced wholesale. Assuming "axe" means the entire thing, it stopped being "grandfather's axe" when the handle was replaced. And it lost any claim to be "what's left of my grandfather's axe" when the head got replaced.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.
This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member (Idle past 217 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 89 of 169 (604814)
02-15-2011 5:48 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by crashfrog
02-14-2011 3:29 PM


Re: "Absorb Technological Change" - Huh?
I still don't get it.

Crash writes:

Well, I feel like I've only said it five times or so, but for the sixth time: the notion of the "singularity" is that the rate of technological change is increasing and has only ever increased;

OK. Is there a limit at some point where this might no longer be the case?

Crash writes:

but there's no evidence that the rate at which humans can grapple with technological change is increasing, or increasing at a comparable rate.

This is the bit I am not getting. What do you mean by "grapple with"?
What constitutes "grappling" with technological change? What indicates an inability to "grapple" with a particular technology when we are talking about human culture as a whole? This is the bit I think needs clarification.

Crash writes:

Thus, technology will eventually begin to change faster than humans can keep up the change. This is obvious and must, mathematically, come to pass.

Unless the human ability to create the technological changes imposes a limit on the changes themselves? Or some other possible limiting factor that we haven't taken into account? Is it reasonable to think the rate of technological change will just keep getting faster and faster and faster? I can think of two things that might cause it not to:

1) We use our technological advancement to create a weapon that we use to largely wipe ourselves out and have to start again to some extent.

2) We reach the point where technology satisfies all our human needs and we just cannot be arsed anymore. WE effectively exist in our virtual worlds doing the super-advanced equivalent of playing X-Box all day.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Straggler
Member (Idle past 217 days)
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 90 of 169 (604817)
02-15-2011 8:25 AM


The XBox Challenge
This is the sort of thing I was talking about at the end of my post above.

GEOFFREY MILLER: Evolutionary Psychologist, University of New Mexico; Author, The Mating Mind

Link writes:

I suggest a different, even darker solution to Fermi's Paradox. Basically, I think the aliens don't blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they're too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don't need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today.

The fundamental problem is that any evolved mind must pay attention to indirect cues of biological fitness, rather than tracking fitness itself. We don't seek reproductive success directly; we seek tasty foods that tended to promote survival and luscious mates who tended to produce bright, healthy babies. Modern results: fast food and pornography. Technology is fairly good at controlling external reality to promote our real biological fitness, but it's even better at delivering fake fitness subjective cues of survival and reproduction, without the real-world effects. Fresh organic fruit juice costs so much more than nutrition-free soda. Having real friends is so much more effort than watching Friends on TV. Actually colonizing the galaxy would be so much harder than pretending to have done it when filming Star Wars or Serenity.

Fitness-faking technology tends to evolve much faster than our psychological resistance to it. The printing press is invented; people read more novels and have fewer kids; only a few curmudgeons lament this. The Xbox 360 is invented; people would rather play a high-resolution virtual ape in Peter Jackson's King Kong than be a perfect-resolution real human. Teens today must find their way through a carnival of addictively fitness-faking entertainment products: MP3, DVD, TiVo, XM radio, Verizon cellphones, Spice cable, EverQuest online, instant messaging, Ecstasy, BC Bud. The traditional staples of physical, mental, and social development (athletics, homework, dating) are neglected. The few young people with the self-control to pursue the meritocratic path often get distracted at the last minute the MIT graduates apply to do computer game design for Electronics Arts, rather than rocket science for NASA.

Around 1900, most inventions concerned physical reality: cars, airplanes, zeppelins, electric lights, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, bras, zippers. In 2005, most inventions concern virtual entertainment the top 10 patent-recipients are usually IBM, Matsushita, Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Micron Technology, Samsung, Intel, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Sony not Boeing, Toyota, or Wonderbra. We have already shifted from a reality economy to a virtual economy, from physics to psychology as the value-driver and resource-allocator. We are already disappearing up our own brainstems. Freud's pleasure principle triumphs over the reality principle. We narrow-cast human-interest stories to each other, rather than broad-casting messages of universal peace and progress to other star systems.

Maybe the bright aliens did the same. I suspect that a certain period of fitness-faking narcissism is inevitable after any intelligent life evolves. This is the Great Temptation for any technological species to shape their subjective reality to provide the cues of survival and reproductive success without the substance. Most bright alien species probably go extinct gradually, allocating more time and resources to their pleasures, and less to their children.

Heritable variation in personality might allow some lineages to resist the Great Temptation and last longer. Those who persist will evolve more self-control, conscientiousness, and pragmatism. They will evolve a horror of virtual entertainment, psychoactive drugs, and contraception. They will stress the values of hard work, delayed gratification, child-rearing, and environmental stewardship. They will combine the family values of the Religious Right with the sustainability values of the Greenpeace Left.

My dangerous idea-within-an-idea is that this, too, is already happening. Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, and anti-consumerism activists, already understand exactly what the Great Temptation is, and how to avoid it. They insulate themselves from our Creative-Class dream-worlds and our EverQuest economics. They wait patiently for our fitness-faking narcissism to go extinct. Those practical-minded breeders will inherit the earth, as like-minded aliens may have inherited a few other planets. When they finally achieve Contact, it will not be a meeting of novel-readers and game-players. It will be a meeting of dead-serious super-parents who congratulate each other on surviving not just the Bomb, but the Xbox. They will toast each other not in a soft-porn Holodeck, but in a sacred nursery.


  
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