Author Topic: Your thoughts on the singularity?  (Read 2655 times)

Jasper

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Your thoughts on the singularity?
« on: January 13, 2008, 04:45:00 am »
You know, I've been thinking about it and reading about it too.  Seems to me there's a strong possibility of some of the things, like cyberization and Moore's Law and AI.  But I really don't think it's in the cards as a digital rehash of the rapture.  Seems to me that's just escapism.

tyrannosaurus vex

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2008, 06:00:34 am »
Singularity: See Machine, The
Evil and Unfeeling Arse-Flenser From The City of the Damned.

Jasper

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 06:08:52 am »
If I felt like reading more books, I wouldn't be asking you people.

Triple Zero

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 03:34:57 pm »
well it'll happen, probably (but you can never be sure)

it'll probably be AI or at least something information-related (like the first USB-cortex plug)

and the biggest reason why i'm trying to stay healthy and fit is because i wanna be alive and there when it happens. even if it stings a little.

also, pretty much by definition, there's not much else you can say about it.

it's simply defined as "the moment when cultural/social/paradigmal changes happen at such a rate that it's impossible to predict what happens after this moment"

mind you that this does not mean this rate goes to infinity or anything, it just means that the prediction-span of humanity goes to zero: like, right now, we can pretty much say that life in half a year will most probably be pretty much like it is now. but after that there's probably enough disruptive technology (right now my guess is to Kindle, the ASUS EEE PC and of course some more ubiquitous Internet somewhere) happening and accepted that things are gonna be kinda different.
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Jasper

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 07:24:44 am »
There's that.

Just to segway, what do you see in the Kindle that the PRS-500 from Sony can't do?  The thing's ugly in body and soul, since everything it's got is DRM'ed.  And most other e-Readers like the iRex iLiad are really sluggish compared to the Sony versions. 

Anyway, I'm really concerned with the question of: What contemporary issues are going to become moot due to AI and wild technological growth?

Triple Zero

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 11:37:30 am »
1. it doesn't really matter which brand it's gonna be right? as long as there's this thing with a big screen that looks like it's made out of paper, and the ability to carry around a respectable personal library. well, at least it'll change my life, cause you won't find me behind this stupid computer so much anymore, i'll be sitting in the park reading the world :)

2. the answer to your question is, we can't really predict. like mr Taleb said in the Black Swan, if we knew what it would do, the technology would practically already nearly be there. seriously, that makes sense. let me suggest you keep your eyes open for new things that are happening NOW and current things that are having an effect on the immediate TOMORROW, instead of speculating about a future that's gonna be different than both your wildest dreams and your most boring conservative extrapolations, no matter what. not that it's not fun to muse over it, just that it's useless.
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LHX

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 03:08:37 pm »
the only thing better than the singularity is two of them
neat hell

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 03:30:30 pm »
the only thing better than the singularity is two of them

 :rimshot:

 :lol:
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LHX

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 03:39:45 pm »
i giggled in my head


but
maybe its just because its early
neat hell

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2008, 03:56:23 pm »
I googled in my head.

And I didn't have the SafeSearch on.

Now, I'm a little scared. 
Cynicism is a blank check for failure.

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2008, 05:10:27 pm »
Yeah I'm with tripzip in that our brains aren't set-up to project what the singularity is going to embody. Medieval man couldn't grasp the renaissance, or philosophers during the enlightenment could never in a million years have pictured the industrial revolution. I mean, that's the scale of things we're talking about, right? Culture itself changes due to exponentially rapid advances in technology....

But if I had to take a stab it...

-If we follow current trends, information will be more ubiquitous and easy to access for everyone. You might be able to use technology to check out what color tie I'm wearing today, or who your whore ex-girlfriend is sleeping with this week.




The thing is that there's a realistic ceiling effect to how quickly technology can advance. This ceiling is determined by the quantity / quality of researchers developing new tech, and the rate of information exchange between them. If they develop a shrink ray in Japan, it's gonna take a few years before we reverse-engineer one of our own. I think that legal and market factors will limit the advance of technology much moreso than a lack of intelligence or creativity will.

But unless technology starts inventing itself, it will never advance "infinitely fast" - because there are a finite number of people working on it. The answer everyone leans on is to have AI start developing new tech... it seems logical, since computers are just gonna keep getting faster.





Another thing I want to "call in advance" is that this singularity has a lot of similar features to the apocalypse... it's big, it's scary, and it may just be an illusion. People seem certain that it's coming (all the data supports it!) and that the world is never gonna be the same. But to take a lesson from Talib (Black Swan), humans are actually pretty bad at projecting the future. The graph of the advancement of information (RAW's "Jumpin' Jesus" phenomenon) points at a sharp curve in the coming generation. But that curve doesn't take into account numerous unseen factors. Like, processor speed doubles every few years - but perhaps at a certain point processor speed stops mattering.

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Re: Your thoughts on the singularity?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2008, 05:51:43 pm »
Yeah I'm with tripzip in that our brains aren't set-up to project what the singularity is going to embody. Medieval man couldn't grasp the renaissance, or philosophers during the enlightenment could never in a million years have pictured the industrial revolution. I mean, that's the scale of things we're talking about, right? Culture itself changes due to exponentially rapid advances in technology....

actually the singularity is gonna be even more different, faster, at least it's gonna be like a complete renaissance in a very short period of time (no idea how short, though).

also i don't think it's the brains that are the problem, it's the fact that we defined the singularity as (-- looking at the wikipedia article, i cant find it anymore --), well i thought it was defined as "that point in time after which we cannot predict what culture will look like" [as caused by the more and more rapid onset of new technologies and/or paradigm shifts].

a real AI would most probably cause it to happen, but it does not have to be, in fact it's quite probable that it'll be something we can't possibly predict or expect today :-)

Quote
But unless technology starts inventing itself, it will never advance "infinitely fast" - because there are a finite number of people working on it. The answer everyone leans on is to have AI start developing new tech... it seems logical, since computers are just gonna keep getting faster.

but this is the thing

the thing that i misunderstood at first, too, that caused me to dismiss the singularity theory as bullshit at first. everyone can reason and see that the speed of technological advance is an exponential curve, not a reciprocal, so it will NOT have an asymptote!

but this asymptote is not the point of the singularity.

(in fact the exponentialness of the speed increase is also not the point, if the increase (in speed) would be linear, it would also happen, only much, much later.)

as long as the technological advances ever increase in speed.

the point is that every technological advance changes the future in unpredictable ways. this implies that the speed of technological advance, especially the speed of paradigm shifts, puts a limiting factor on how far ahead we can possibly make a remote broad sketch of what society will look like.
now in naive theory, this predictive "fog of time" moves along with us, giving us a steady lookout on the way the world roughly looks the next, say, 20 years.

the only thing is that as the speed of changes seems to be increasing, this "fog of time" gets denser and denser, and the amount of time we can look forward shortens and shortens.

now the theory says--and i don't think this is very unlikely--that at a certain moment in time, our "predictive lookout" timespan will decrease to zero.

which means that, at that point in time, nobody knows what is going to happen next

that is the singularity.

maybe it'll just be a sort of collective global "huh?" followed by a shrug, and moving on :)

Quote
Another thing I want to "call in advance" is that this singularity has a lot of similar features to the apocalypse... it's big, it's scary, and it may just be an illusion. People seem certain that it's coming (all the data supports it!) and that the world is never gonna be the same. But to take a lesson from Talib (Black Swan), humans are actually pretty bad at projecting the future. The graph of the advancement of information (RAW's "Jumpin' Jesus" phenomenon) points at a sharp curve in the coming generation. But that curve doesn't take into account numerous unseen factors. Like, processor speed doubles every few years - but perhaps at a certain point processor speed stops mattering.

heh, you're right.

so what'll be first? some big catastrophal reset, or the singularity? :)

also processor speed might be doubling, but that will stop at some point. it'll go on for about a decade (maybe less, i forgot). but that doesn't matter, as the C64 demoscene has shown us, being stuck with a certain type of processor, given some time, you can still do amazing shit. we haven't even *really* used 10% of the possible computing power of today's computer chips.

but it doesn't matter, as long as they keep doubling in speed every 18 months.

for example, ever wonder why your computer gets slower when you use it for a longer time? like it's getting clogged? that's not supposed to happen. it shouldn't. but you can just get a new one, right? i see my computer going sluggishly at simple tasks like moving around windows or scrolling some times. come on, that's basic shit i programmed on a 486 and it moved at 70fps! but it happens to be this way because the software i'm running is expecting a faster computer than the one i have, so they didn't really optimize their scrolling and panning routines.

(but i digress)
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