Vernor Vinge

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pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

Kandebo, “Navy to Evaluate Agile Eye Helmet-Mounted Display System,” Aviation Week & Space Technology 128, no. 7 (August 15, 1988): 94. 29.Furness and Kocian, “Putting Humans into Virtual Space.” 30.Thomas A. Furness, “Fantastic Voyage,” Popular Mechanics 162, no. 12 (December 1986): 63. 31.Thomas A. Furness, “Harnessing Virtual Space,” Digest of Technical Papers (SID International Symposium), 1988, 4–7. 32.Ibid. 33.Vernor Vinge, True Names, in Binary Star #5, ed. George R. R. Martin and Vernor Vinge (New York: Dell, 1981). 34.James Frenkel and Vernor Vinge, True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier (New York: Tor, 2001). 35.Vinge, True Names, 250. 36.Ibid. 37.Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky, “The 1983 Nuclear Crisis,” Journal of Strategic Studies 36, no. 1 (2013): 4–41. 38.One science fiction novel that is sometimes credited with articulating cyberspace as the “Metaverse” is Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (New York: Bantam, 1992). 39.William Gibson, “Cyberpunk Era,” Whole Earth Review 63 (Summer 1989): 80. 40.

Bart Preneel, René Govaerts, and Joos Vandewalle, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 741 (Berlin: Springer, 1993), 174, 177. 18.Levy, Crypto, 213. 19.Andy Greenberg, This Machine Kills Secrets (New York: Dutton, 2012), 55–56. 20.Ibid., 56. 21.Vernor Vinge, True Names, in Binary Star #5, ed. George R. R. Martin and Vernor Vinge (New York: Dell, 1981), 35. 22.Timothy May, interview by the author, April 17, 2014. 23.Ibid. 24.Timothy C. May, “True Nyms and Crypto Anarchy,” in True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier, ed. James Frenkel and Vernor Vinge (New York: Tor, 2001), 83. 25.Ibid. 26.Timothy C. May, “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” e-mail to cypherpunks@toad.com, November 22, 1992. The document dates back to mid-1988. 27.May, interview, April 17, 2014. 28.Kevin Kelly, “Cypherpunks, e-Money, and the Technologies of Disconnection,” Whole Earth Review, no. 79 (Summer 1993): 45. 29.Timothy C.

By the 1970s, such ideas had found a home in science fiction—not least, thanks to Good himself, who had served as a consultant for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. One of the prime meeting places for science and science fiction at the time was Omni magazine. Founded by Bob Guccione, who also started Penthouse magazine, it was published in print between 1978 and 1995. Many futuristic ideas were either born or buried in Omni’s brightly illustrated pages. One example was science fiction writer Vernor Vinge’s word “singularity.” Having read Good, Vinge chose to describe the British scientist’s intelligence explosion as a “singularity,” the expected future moment when machines would overtake humans in their intellectual capacities.88 Vinge, himself an unsuccessful scientist at San Diego State University but a quite successful science fiction writer, compared that moment to a black hole: “When this happens,” he wrote in Omni in early 1983, “human history will have reached a transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.”89 Meanwhile, a student in Germany was occupied with similar thoughts.

 

pages: 659 words: 203,574

The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge

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anthropic principle, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, spice trade, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge

“The Whirligig of Time” Copyright © 1974 by Random House, Inc. First published in Stellar One, Ballantine Books. “Bomb Scare” Copyright © 1970 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “The Science Fair” Copyright © 1971 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Orbit 9, G. P. Putnam’s Sons. “Gemstone” Copyright © 1983 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “Just Peace” Copyright © 1971 by Vernor Vinge and William Rupp. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “Original Sin” Copyright © 1972 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “The Blabber” Copyright © 1988 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Threats … and Other Promises, Baen Books. “Win a Nobel Prize!” Copyright © 2000 by Nature Publishing Group.

He was out by noon, with an A. Copyright Acknowledgments “Bookworm, Run!” Copyright © 1966 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “The Accomplice” Copyright © 1967 by Galaxy Publishing Corporation. First published in Worlds of If Science Fiction. “The Peddler’s Apprentice” Copyright © 1975 by Joan D. Vinge and Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “The Ungoverned” Copyright © 1985 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Far Frontiers, Baen Books. “Long Shot” Copyright © 1972 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “Apartness” Copyright © 1965 by New Worlds SF. “Conquest by Default” Copyright © 1968 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction Science Fact. “The Whirligig of Time” Copyright © 1974 by Random House, Inc.

Copyright © 2000 by Nature Publishing Group. This article was first published in Nature. “The Barbarian Princess” Copyright © 1986 by Vernor Vinge. First published in Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact. Fast Times at Fairmont High Copyright © 2001 by Vernor Vinge. Vernor Vinge’s commentary on a number of stories which appeared in the Baen Books collections True Names … and Other Dangers and Threats … and Other Promises appeared in substantially similar form in those collections. Vernor Vinge’s commentary for “The Accomplice” appeared in substantially similar form in the program book of the 64th Anniversary Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference (Philcon 2000). BY VERNOR VINGE Tatja Grimm’s World The Witling True Names and Other Dangers (collection) Threats … and Other Promises (collection) Across Realtime comprising: The Peace War “The Ungoverned” Marooned in Realtime *A Fire upon the Deep *A Deepness in the Sky *The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge *True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier (forthcoming) *denotes a Tor book This is a work of fiction.

 

pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

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3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

In fact, the competitive advantage—economic, military, even artistic—of every advance in automation is so compelling that passing laws, or having customs, that forbid such things merely assures that someone else will. —Vernor Vinge, The Coming Technological Singularity, 1993 This quotation sounds like a fleshed-out version of I. J. Good’s biographical aside, doesn’t it? Like Good, two-time Hugo Award-winning science fiction author and mathematics professor Vernor Vinge alludes to humans’ lemminglike predilection to chase glory into the cannon’s mouth, to borrow Shakespeare’s phrase. Vinge told me he’d never read Good’s self-penned biographical paragraphs, or learned about his late-in-life change of heart about the intelligence explosion. Probably only Good, and Leslie Pendleton, knew about it. Vernor Vinge was the first person to formally use the word “singularity” when describing the technological future—he did it in a 1993 address to NASA, entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity.”

Through the sixties and seventies and eighties, recognition of the cataclysm spread. Perhaps it was the science-fiction writers who felt the first concrete impact. After all, the “hard” science-fiction writers are the ones who try to write specific stories about all that technology may do for us. More and more, these writers felt an opaque wall across the future. AI researcher Ben Goertzel told me, “Vernor Vinge saw its inherent unknowability very clearly when he posited the notion of the technological singularity. It’s because of that that he doesn’t go around giving speeches about it because he doesn’t know what to say. What’s he going to say? ‘Yeah I think we’re going to create technologies that will be much more capable than humans and then who knows what will happen?’” But what about the invention of fire, agriculture, the printing press, electricity?

Essentially all of the Potter “magic” will be realized through the technologies I will explore in this book. Playing quidditch and transforming people and objects into other forms will be feasible in full-immersion virtual-reality environments, as well as in real reality, using nanoscale devices. So, the singularity will be “neither utopian or dystopian” but we’ll get to play quidditch! Obviously, Kurzweil’s Singularity is dramatically different from Vernor Vinge’s singularity and I. J. Good’s intelligence explosion. Can they be reconciled? Is it simultaneously the best time to be alive, and the worst? I’ve read almost every word Kurzweil has published, and listened to every available audio recording, podcast, and video. In 1999 I interviewed him at length for a documentary film that was in part about AI. I know what he’s written and said about the dangers of AI, and it isn’t much.

 

pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Technological advance may come in fits and starts, eventually leading to a posthuman condition, but without any singular event. Part VIII clarifies and critically examines thinking about the singularity, starting with Vernor Vinge’s seminal essay. Anders Sandberg analyzes models of technological singularity in detail, looking for their commonalities and differences. The final essay in Part VIII collects the 1998 deliberations of a number of transhumanist thinkers to critically discuss the singularity, as ­initially defined by Vinge, in its technological and economic aspects. 35 Technological Singularity Vernor Vinge I. What is the Singularity? The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.

The hero is the first experimental subject – a chimpanzee raised to human intelligence. Vinge, Vernor (1981) “True Names.” In Binary Star 5. New York: Dell. Vinge, Vernor (1983) “First Word.” Omni 10 (January). Earlier essay on “the Singularity.” “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” by Vernor Vinge, was presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30–31, 1993. Copyright © Vernor Vinge 1993. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html 36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity Anders Sandberg This essay reviews different definitions and models of technological singularity. The models range from conceptual sketches to detailed endogenous growth models, as well as attempts to fit empirical data to quantitative models.

Dean Tribble is Principal Architect, Microsoft. He authored nine patents, including: with Mark S. Miller, Norman Hardy, and Christopher T. Hibbert “Diverse goods arbitration system and method for allocation resources in a distributed computer system” (Sun Microsystems, 1997); and with Norman Hardy, Linda L. Vetter “System and method for generating unique secure values for digitally signing documents” (2000). Vernor Vinge, PhD, is former Professor of Mathematics, University of California San Diego. He authored A Fire Upon the Deep (Tor, 1993, 2011); “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” (Whole Earth Review, 1993); and True Names … and Other Dangers (Baen Book, 1987). Natasha Vita-More, PhD, is Professor of Design University of Advancing Technology, ­co-founder, Institute for Transhumanism, chairman of Humanity+, and co-editor of The Transhumanist Reader.

 

pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

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Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

The region where light and everything else disappears from our universe into the black hole is termed the event horizon. The beyond-dense anomaly in the center of the black hole is called a singularity. “At this singularity,” writes the Cambridge mathematician Stephen Hawking, “the laws of science and our ability to predict the future would break down.” The man who applied this metaphor to human events is the science fiction writer and mathematician Vernor Vinge. His 1991 novel Across Realtime joins three stories he wrote in the mid 1980s around a central mystery: What happened to everybody? While the characters in the stories were temporarily isolated out of time in devices called bobbles, civilization and the rest of humanity disappeared from Earth. Reconstructing events leading up to the disappearance, the characters realized that, at the time, technology advance was radically self-accelerating.

One such man, Ken McVay, undermined all the online Holocaust-denying discussion groups in this fashion, connecting them to a linked distributed archive of documentation proving that the Holocaust indeed took place. Metcalfe’s Law of exponential growth of the Net is proving to be even more significant than Moore’s Law of exponential growth of microchip capability. The chip is an individual’s tool; the Net is society’s tool. It may even become its own tool. As the science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge has suggested, the Net is supplied with so much computer power and is gaining so much massively parallel amplification of that power by its burgeoning connectivity that it might one day “wake up.” Brewster Kahle, of the Internet Archive, asks, “What happens when the library of human knowledge can process what it knows and provide advice?” At the same time Long Now is contemplating a timeless desert retreat it has to explore how it can foster on the Net the types of services monasteries provided to deurbanized Europe after the fall of Rome and that universities provided to cities after the twelfth century.

The nanotechnology futurist Eric Drexler concurs: “I have found over the years that people familiar with the science fiction classics find it much easier to think about the future, coming technologies, political effects of those technologies, and so on.” At Global Business Network (GBN), the scenario-planning business that employs me, we frequently send out science-fiction books to the Network membership, and when we can get writers such as William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, David Brin, and Vernor Vinge to attend scenario work-shops with client organizations, the quality of work deepens. Scenario planning involves exploring several widely variant futures of an organization’s world persuasively in depth. Skill in science fiction adds to the depth. Still, the most important developments in the future, says Freeman Dyson, keep being missed by both the forecasters and the storytellers: “Economic forecasting misses the real future because it has too short a range; fiction misses the future because it has too little imagination.”

 

pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

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23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

PRAISE FOR SINGULARITY RISING “There are things in this book that could mess with your head.” —Vernor Vinge, computer scientist; Hugo Award-winning author, A Fire Upon the Deep; essayist, “The Coming Technological Singularity” “The arrow of progress may kick upwards into a booming curve or it may terminate in an existential zero. What it will not do is carry on as before. With great insight and fore thought, Miller’s Singularity Rising prepares us for the forking paths ahead by teasing out the consequences of an artificial intelligence explosion and by staking red flags on the important technological problems of the next three decades.” —Peter Thiel, self-made technology billionaire; co-founder, Singularity Summit “Many books are fun and interesting, but Singularity Rising is fun and interesting while focusing on some of the most important pieces of humanity’s most important problem.”

CHAPTER 3 Unfriendly AI Terrifies Me CHAPTER 4 A Friendly Explosion CHAPTER 5 Military Death Race CHAPTER 6 Businesses’ AI Race PART 2 WE BECOME SMARTER, EVEN WITHOUT AI CHAPTER 7 What IQ Tells You CHAPTER 8 Evolution and Past Intelligence Enhancements CHAPTER 9 Increasing IQ Through Genetic Manipulation CHAPTER 10 Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs CHAPTER 11 Brain Training CHAPTER 12 International Competition in Human-Intelligence Enhancements PART 3 ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS CHAPTER 13 Making Us Obsolete? CHAPTER 14 How Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs Might Impact the Economy CHAPTER 15 Inequality Falling CHAPTER 16 Preparing for the Singularity CHAPTER 17 What Might Derail the Singularity? CHAPTER 18 Singularity Watch ACKNOWLEDGMENTS NOTES REFERENCES INDEX INTRODUCTION We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. —Vernor Vinge1 Economic prosperity comes from human intelligence. Consider some of the most basic human inventions—the wheel, the alphabet, the printing press—and later, more complex and advanced inventions such as indoor plumbing, automobiles, radio, television, and vaccines. All are products of the human brain. Had our species been a bit less bright, these inventions might have escaped us. Yet we can only begin to imagine the many additional wondrous technologies we might now possess had evolution made us even smarter.

The economic construction called the Prisoners’ Dilemma establishes that rational, non-evil people might find it in their self-interest to risk propelling humanity into a Singularity even if they know that it has a high chance of annihilating mankind. Robin Hanson, one of the most influential Singularity thinkers, is an economist. Science shows us the possibilities we could achieve; economic forces determine the possibilities we do achieve. But despite my understanding of economics, I admit that sometimes I get confused when thinking about a Singularity civilization. In the most important essay ever written on the Singularity, Vernor Vinge, a science fiction writer and former computer scientist, explained that accelerating technology was making it much harder for him to write science fiction because, as we progress toward the Singularity, “even the most radical [ideas] will quickly become commonplace.”25 Vinge has said that just as our models of physics break down when they try to comprehend what goes on at the Singularity of a black hole (its supposed point of infinite density), so might our models fail to predict what happens in an exponentially smarter world.26 Vinge told me that in the absence of some large-scale catastrophe, he would be surprised if there isn’t a Singularity by 2030.27 A father can much better predict how his six-year-old will behave in kindergarten than the child could predict what the father will do at work.

 

pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

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3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

Transhumanism’s roots are found in the ideas of science-fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov and the futurist biologist Julian Huxley, who coined the term ‘transhuman’ in 1957. (Nick Bostrom, a well-known transhumanist, says the desire to transcend human limitations is as old as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.) Transhumanism first became prominent in California in the early nineties, the watermark period of techno-optimism. In 1993, Vernor Vinge popularised the idea of the ‘Singularity’, the point at which artificial intelligence becomes so advanced that it begins to produce new and ever more advanced versions of itself, quickly leaving us mortals behind. Vinge hoped that transhumanists would ‘exploit the worldwide Internet as a combination human/machine tool . . . progress in this is proceeding the fastest and may run us into the Singularity before anything else.’

(Zoltan, I have come to believe, is mildly obsessed with the idea of immortality. At one point in our interview he told me that he has instructed his wife to ‘stick me in the freezer’ if he dies unexpectedly.) Zerzan In the 2014 movie Transcendence, Johnny Depp plays a brilliant transhumanist scientist called Dr Caster – an Anders Sandberg type – who is building a hyperintelligent machine, in pursuit of Vernor Vinge’s Singularity moment. After a TED Talk (of course), Dr Caster is shot by a member of a radical anti-technology terrorist group called Revolutionary Independence From Technology (RIFT). RIFT are sabotaging the work of artificial intelligence laboratories all over the world. Shooting Dr Caster is part of the plan to disrupt what they see as the frightening march of technology. John Zerzan thinks if the transhumanists continue on their current course, we will see the story of Transcendence played out on the news, rather than in cinemas.

., Online, All the Time; Today’s Technology Makes the Office Omnipresent, but is That Any Way to Live? p.223 ‘“By thoughtfully, carefully and yet” . . .’ More, M., ‘The Philosophy of Transhumanism’, in More, M. and Vita-More, N., The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future, p.4. p.223 ‘(Nick Bostrom, a well-known . . .’ http://www.nickbostrom.com/papers/history.pdf. p.224 ‘In 1993, Vernor Vinge popularised . . .’ ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era’, available here: https://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html; Good, I. J., ‘Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine’, Advances in Computers, vol.6. p.224 ‘By 1998, the burgeoning group . . .’ http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/a-history-of-transhumanist-thought.pdf; More, M. and Vita-More, N., The Transhumanist Reader, pp.54–5.

 

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

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additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

June 10, 2003; Jean-Pierre Lasota, "Unmasking Black Holes," Scientific American (May 1999): 41–47; Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam, 1988). 18. Joel Smoller and Blake Temple, "Shock-Wave Cosmology Inside a Black Hole," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100.20 (September 30, 2003): 11216–18. 19. Vernor Vinge, "First Word," Omni (January 1983): 10. 20. Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Intelligent Machines (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989). 21. Hans Moravec, Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988). 22. Vernor Vinge, "The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era," VISION-21 Symposium, sponsored by the NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 1993. The text is available at http://www.KurzweiW.net/vingesing. 23. Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Viking, 1999). 24.

We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct "what if's" in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals. From the human point of view, this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control. —VERNOR VINGE, "THE TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY," 1993 Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an "intelligence explosion," and the intelligence of man would be left far behind.

At any location that could actually be measured, the forces are finite, although extremely large. The first reference to the Singularity as an event capable of rupturing the fabric of human history is John von Neumann's statement quoted above. In the 1960s, I. J. Good wrote of an "intelligence explosion" resulting from intelligent machines' designing their next generation without human intervention. Vernor Vinge, a mathematician and computer scientist at San Diego State University, wrote about a rapidly approaching "technological singularity" in an article for Omni magazine in 1983 and in a science-fiction novel, Marooned in Realtime, in 1986.19 My 1989 book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, presented a future headed inevitably toward machines greatly exceeding human intelligence in the first half of the twenty-first century.20 Hans Moravec's 1988 book Mind Children came to a similar conclusion by analyzing the progression of robotics.21 In 1993 Vinge presented a paper to a NASA-organized symposium that described the Singularity as an impending event resulting primarily from the advent of "entities with greater than human intelligence," which Vinge saw as the harbinger of a runaway phenomenon.22 My 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, described the increasingly intimate connection between our biological intelligence and the artificial intelligence we are creating.23 Hans Moravec's book Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, also published in 1999, described the robots of the 2040s as our "evolutionary heirs," machines that will "grow from us, learn our skills, and share our goals and values, ... children of our minds."24 Australian scholar Damien Broderick's 1997 and 2001 books, both titled The Spike, analyzed the pervasive impact of the extreme phase of technology acceleration anticipated within several decades.25 In an extensive series of writings, John Smart has described the Singularity as the inevitable result of what he calls "MEST" (matter, energy, space, and time) compression.26 From my perspective, the Singularity has many faces.

 

pages: 746 words: 221,583

The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge

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combinatorial explosion, epigenetics, indoor plumbing, megacity, random walk, risk tolerance, technological singularity, the scientific method, Vernor Vinge

BOOKS BY VERNOR VINGE ZONES OF THOUGHT SERIES A Fire Upon the Deep* A Deepness in the Sky* The Children of the Sky* Tatja Grimm’s World* The Witling* The Peace War* Marooned in Realtime* True Names … and Other Dangers (collection) Threats … and Other Promises (collection) Across Realtime comprising: The Peace War “The Ungoverned” Marooned in Realtime True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier* The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge* Rainbows End* *Available from Tor Books This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. THE CHILDREN OF THE SKY Copyright © 2011 by Vernor Vinge All rights reserved. Edited by James Frenkel Map by Ellisa Mitchell A Tor® eBook Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC 175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010 www.tor-forge.com Tor® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Vinge, Vernor. The children of the sky/Vernor Vinge.—1st ed. p. cm. “A Tom Doherty Associates book.” ISBN 978-0-312-87562-6 (hardback) 1.

So far, there had been only that one Zone temblor, back in year two. Pray I have Jefri and the Tines and the time to prepare. Down Here, we have the edge. The End ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vernor Vinge is the author of the Hugo Award–winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, and Rainbows End. His other novels include The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime. He also wrote the seminal short novel True Names. He has won two Hugo Awards for shorter works, and two Prometheus Awards for Best Libertarian Fiction. A mathematician and computer scientist noted as a visionary proponent of the Technological Singularity, he lives in San Diego, California. BOOKS BY VERNOR VINGE ZONES OF THOUGHT SERIES A Fire Upon the Deep* A Deepness in the Sky* The Children of the Sky* Tatja Grimm’s World* The Witling* The Peace War* Marooned in Realtime* True Names … and Other Dangers (collection) Threats … and Other Promises (collection) Across Realtime comprising: The Peace War “The Ungoverned” Marooned in Realtime True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier* The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge* Rainbows End* *Available from Tor Books This is a work of fiction.

CONTENTS Title Page Dedication Acknowledgments Map Two years after the Battle on Starship Hill Chapter 00 Chapter 01 Chapter 02 Chapter 03 Three years after the Battle on Starship Hill Chapter 04 Ten years after the Battle on Starship Hill Chapter 05 Chapter 06 Chapter 07 Chapter 08 Chapter 09 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 About the Author Books by Vernor Vinge Copyright Two years after the Battle on Starship Hill CHAPTER 00 How do you get the attention of the richest businessperson in the world? Vendacious had spent all his well-remembered life sucking up to royalty. He had never dreamed he would fall so low as to need a common merchant, but here he was with his only remaining servant, trying to find a street address in East Home’s factory district.

 

pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

Singer, December 7, 2006. 103 “the laws of science and our ability” As quoted in Garreau, Radical Evolution, 72. 103 “Google all the time” Peter Moon, “AI Will Surpass Human Intelligence After 2020,” TTworld.com, May 3, 2007 (cited May 30, 2007); available at http://www.itworld.com/Tech/3494/070503ai2020/. 103 “the Internet-based cognitive tools” Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (New York: Tor Books, 2006), 5. 103 “The Coming Technological Singularity” Vernor Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” (paper presented at the VISION-21 Symposium, March 30-31, 1993). 103 “within thirty years” Ibid. 103 “point where our old models” Ibid. 104 “We are on the edge of change” Vinge, as quoted in Garreau, Radical Evolution, 71-72. 104 “It’s a future period” Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, 7. 104 “It’s not merely a technology” Robert Epstein, interview, Peter W.

Singer, July 7, 2006. 271 “a few amateurs” Ibid. 271 “One bright but embittered loner” Joel Garreau, Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human (New York: Doubleday, 2005), 139. 271 “The obligation of subjects” Christopher Coker, Humane Warfare (London, New York: Routledge, 2001), 18. Coker is quoting Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Oxford: J. Thornton, 1881), 170. 272 Information on how to build Ray Kurzweil, interview via phone, Peter W. Singer, Washington, DC, December 7, 2006. 272 “It feels like all ten billion of us” Garreau, Radical Evolution, 101. 272 “It is no exaggeration” Ibid., 207. 272 “Historically, warfare” Vernor Vinge, “Shaun Farrell Interviews Vernor Vinge,” Shaun Farrell, April 2006; available at http://www.farsector.com/quadrant/interview-vinge.htm. 272 “The future is manhunting” Special forces officer, interview, Peter W. Singer, September 7, 2006. 273 Skyshield, an automated machine-gun system Alon Ben-David, “New Model Army,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, October 11, 2006, 26. 273 the automated scanners can spot Tom Simonite, “Scanner Recognises Hidden Knives and Guns,” New Scientist, September 26, 2006, http://www.newscientisttech.com/article.ns?

But they would likely not be able to conceive of how a rickety contraption made that year by Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith, would become what Time magazine called “the most important invention of the millennium.” Before the creation of the printing press and the singular break it created for society, it would have been simply impossible for those monks to imagine such things as mass literacy, the Reformation, or the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The idea of a singularity in relation to computer technology first came from Vernor Vinge. Vinge is a noted mathematician and computer scientist, as well as an award-winning science fiction writer. His most recent novel, Rainbows End: A Novel with One Foot in the Future, is set in 2025. He describes a world in which people “Google all the time, everywhere, using wearable computers, and omnipresent sensors.” Vinge doesn’t dedicate the book to his wife or parents or cat. Instead, perhaps sucking up to our future owners, he dedicates it to “the Internet-based cognitive tools that are changing our lives—Wikipedia, Google, eBay, and the others of their kind, now and in the future.”

 

pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey

If another such transition to a different growth mode were to occur, and it were of similar magnitude to the previous two, it would result in a new growth regime in which the world economy would double in size about every two weeks. Such a growth rate seems fantastic by current lights. Observers in earlier epochs might have found it equally preposterous to suppose that the world economy would one day be doubling several times within a single lifespan. Yet that is the extraordinary condition we now take to be ordinary. The idea of a coming technological singularity has by now been widely popularized, starting with Vernor Vinge’s seminal essay and continuing with the writings of Ray Kurzweil and others.4 The term “singularity,” however, has been used confusedly in many disparate senses and has accreted an unholy (yet almost millenarian) aura of techno-utopian connotations.5 Since most of these meanings and connotations are irrelevant to our argument, we can gain clarity by dispensing with the “singularity” word in favor of more precise terminology.

Continuing development of an intelligent Web, with better support for deliberation, de-biasing, and judgment aggregation, might make large contributions to increasing the collective intelligence of humanity as a whole or of particular groups. But what of the seemingly more fanciful idea that the Internet might one day “wake up”? Could the Internet become something more than just the backbone of a loosely integrated collective superintelligence—something more like a virtual skull housing an emerging unified super-intellect? (This was one of the ways that superintelligence could arise according to Vernor Vinge’s influential 1993 essay, which coined the term “technological singularity.”83) Against this one could object that machine intelligence is hard enough to achieve through arduous engineering, and that it is incredible to suppose that it will arise spontaneously. However, the story need not be that some future version of the Internet suddenly becomes superintelligent by mere happenstance. A more plausible version of the scenario would be that the Internet accumulates improvements through the work of many people over many years—work to engineer better search and information filtering algorithms, more powerful data representation formats, more capable autonomous software agents, and more efficient protocols governing the interactions between such bots—and that myriad incremental improvements eventually create the basis for some more unified form of web intelligence.

Growth in total world population of biological human beings will contribute only a small factor. Scenarios involving machine intelligence could see the world population (including digital minds) explode by many orders of magnitude in a brief period of time. But that road to superintelligence involves artificial intelligence or whole brain emulation, so we need not consider it in this subsection. 83. Vinge (1993). CHAPTER 3: FORMS OF SUPERINTELLIGENCE 1. Vernor Vinge has used the term “weak superintelligence” to refer to such sped-up human minds (Vinge 1993). 2. For example, if a very fast system could do everything that any human could do except dance a mazurka, we should still call it a speed superintelligence. Our interest lies in those core cognitive capabilities that have economic or strategic significance. 3. At least a millionfold speedup compared to human brains is physically possible, as can been seen by considering the difference in speed and energy of relevant brain processes in comparison to more efficient information processing.

 

pages: 189 words: 57,632

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow

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book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Law of Accelerating Returns, Metcalfe's law, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

The very idea of "progress" runs counter to the idea of Lapsarianism and the fall: it is the idea that we, as a species, are falling in reverse, combing back the wild tangle of entropy into a neat, tidy braid. Of course, progress must also have a boundary condition — if only because we eventually run out of imaginary ways that the human condition can improve. And science fiction has a name for the upper bound of progress, a name for the progressive apocalypse: We call it the Singularity. Vernor Vinge's Singularity takes place when our technology reaches a stage that allows us to "upload" our minds into software, run them at faster, hotter speeds than our neurological wetware substrate allows for, and create multiple, parallel instances of ourselves. After the Singularity, nothing is predictable because everything is possible. We will cease to be human and become (as the title of Rudy Rucker's next novel would have it) Postsingular.

Science fiction is the literature of the present, and the present is the only era that we can hope to understand, because it's the only era that lets us check our observations and predictions against reality. When the Singularity is More Than a Literary Device: An Interview with Futurist-Inventor Ray Kurzweil (Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 2005) It's not clear to me whether the Singularity is a technical belief system or a spiritual one. The Singularity — a notion that's crept into a lot of skiffy, and whose most articulate in-genre spokesmodel is Vernor Vinge — describes the black hole in history that will be created at the moment when human intelligence can be digitized. When the speed and scope of our cognition is hitched to the price-performance curve of microprocessors, our "progress" will double every eighteen months, and then every twelve months, and then every ten, and eventually, every five seconds. Singularities are, literally, holes in space from whence no information can emerge, and so SF writers occasionally mutter about how hard it is to tell a story set after the information Singularity.

 

pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

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Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

Worldrenowned cosmologist and author of the book, A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, has said, “Computers are likely to overtake humans in intelligence at some point in the next hundred years.”35 Inventor and author Ray Kurzweil, who received the National Medal of Technology Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Acceleration / 101 from President Clinton in 1999, is far more optimistic and predicts that machines will achieve true intelligence by 2029. Kurzweil is also one of the leading proponents of the technological singularity, which he expects to occur by the year 2045.36 This concept, which was originally introduced by the mathematician and author Vernor Vinge,37 suggests that at some point in the future, technological progress will simply explode incomprehensibly. Basically, things will just get away from us. If you look at the nowfamiliar chart that follows, the technological singularity would occur at some point close to where the line becomes nearly vertical. Beyond this point, it is just straight up. The Technological Singularity Technology Singularity Time Many people have postulated that the singularity will be brought on when machines finally become smarter than us, and then apply that higher intelligence to the task of Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL / 102 designing even better versions of themselves.

Web: http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/releases/archives/education/011196.html 32 William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2002, p.53. 33 “Outsourcing not the Culprit in Manufacturing Job Loss”, AutomationWorld, December 9th, 2003. Web: http://www.automationworld.com/webonly-320 34 Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence, NewYork, The Penguin Press, 2007, p.397. 35 ABC News 20/ 20 Special, “Last Days on Earth”, 2006 36 Kurtzweil predicts the Technological Singularity by 2045: Fortune Magazine, May 14, 2007, Web: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/20 07/05/14/100008848/ 37 “Vernor Vinge on the Singularity,” Web: http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html 26 Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Notes / 251 Chapter 3: Danger 38 Robert J. Shapiro, Futurecast: howsuperpowers, populations, and globalization will change the wayyou live and work, NewYork, St. Martin’s Press, 2008. 39 Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty First Century, NewYork, Farrar, Strause and Giroux, 2005, 2006. 40 China’s high saving rate the result of government policy, see: Eamonn Fingleton, In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony, NewYork, St.

 

Toast by Stross, Charles

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anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

(Back then people tended to look at me blankly whenever I mentioned the software epoch in public.) Yellow Snow is also looking distinctly yellowed around the edges, ten years on, with the Human Genome Project a nearly done deal. Part of the problem facing any contemporary hard SF writer is the fogbank of accelerating change that has boiled up out of nowhere to swallow our proximate future. Computer scientist and author Vernor Vinge coined the term “singularity” to describe this; a singularity, in mathematics, is the point towards which an exponential curve tends. At the singularity, the rate of change of technology becomes infinite; we can’t predict what lies beyond it. In a frightening essay on the taxonomy of artificial intelligence, published in Whole Earth Review in 1994, Vinge pointed out that if it is possible to create an artificial intelligence (specifically a conscious software construct) equivalent to a human mind, then it is possible to create one that is faster than a human mind—just run it on a faster computer.

It started with an idea: is it possible to write a hard SF story—one where relentless extrapolation from a technological or scientific assumption forms the backbone of the plot—based on algorithmics, the core of computer science, rather than on physics or biology? And one that has cosmological implications, rather than merely being a story about the birth of a better spreadsheet? The answer (as Vernor Vinge has repeatedly demonstrated) is “yes,” but it took me a while to get there for myself. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when a member of the great and the good is assassinated. Ghandi, the Pope, Thatcher—if you were old enough you remembered where you were when you heard, the ticker-tape of history etched across your senses. You can kill a politician but their ideas usually live on.

 

pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

In the future, they will be as smart as mice, rabbits, dogs and cats, monkeys, and then they will rival humans. It may take decades to slowly climb this path, but they believe that it is only a matter of time before the machines exceed us in intelligence. AI researchers are split on the question of when this might happen. Some say that within twenty years robots will approach the intelligence of the human brain and then leave us in the dust. In 1993, Vernor Vinge said, “Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended …. I’ll be surprised if this event occurs before 2005 or after 2030.” On the other hand, Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, says, “I’d be very surprised if anything remotely like this happened in the next 100 years to 200 years.” When I talked to Marvin Minsky of MIT, one of the founding figures in the history of AI, he was careful to tell me that he places no timetable on when this event will happen.

Ulam wrote, “One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the human race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” Versions of the idea have been kicking around for decades. But it was then amplified and popularized by science fiction writer and mathematician Vernor Vinge in his novels and essays. But this leaves the crucial question unanswered: When will the singularity take place? Within our lifetimes? Perhaps in the next century? Or never? We recall that the participants at the 2009 Asilomar conference put the date at any time between 20 to 1,000 years into the future. One man who has become the spokesperson for the singularity is inventor and best-selling author Ray Kurzweil, who has a penchant for making predictions based on the exponential growth of technology.

., “Passage of an Iron Rod Through the Head,” Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 11, May 1999, pp. 281–83, www.­neuro.­psychiatryonline.­org/­cgi/­content/­full/­11/­2/­281. 12 “It is not impossible to build a human brain”: Jonathan Fildes, “Artificial Brain ‘10 Years Away,’ ” BBC News, July 22, 2009, http:­/­/­news.­bbc.­co.­uk/­2/­hi/­8164060.­stm. 13 “It’s not a question of years”: Jason Palmer, “Simulated Brain Closer to Thought,” BBC News, April 22, 2009, http:­/­/­news.­bbc.­co.­uk/­2/­hi/­sci/­tech/­8012496.­stm. 14 “This is a Hubble Telescope of the mind … it’s inevitable”: Douglas Fox, “IBM Reveals the Biggest Artificial Brain of All Time,” Popular Mechanics, December 18, 2009, www.­popularmechanics.­com/­technology/­engineering/­extreme-­machines/­4337190. 15 “After we solve this”: Sally Adee, “Reverse Engineering the Brain,” IEEE Spectrum, June 2008, http:­/­/­spectrum.­ieee.­org/­biomedical/­ethics/­reverse-­engineering-­the-­brain/­0. 16 “Within thirty years”: Vernor Vinge, “What Is the Singularity?” paper presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30–31, 1993. A slightly changed version appeared in Whole Earth Review, Winter 1993, http:­/­/­mindstalk.­net/­vinge/­vinge-­sing.­html. 17 “I’d be very surprised if anything remotely like this happened”: Tom Abate, “Smarter Than Thou? Stanford Conference Ponders a Brave New World with Machines More Powerful Than Their Creators,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2006, http:­/­/­articles.­sfgate.­com/­2006–­05–­12/­business/­17293318_­1_­ray-­kurzweil-­machines-­artificial-­intelligence. 18 “If you could blow the brain up”: Kurzweil, p. 376. 19 Philosopher David Chalmers has even catalogued: http:­/­/­consc.­net/­mindpapers.­com. 20 “life may seem pointless if we are fated”: Sheffield, p. 38. 21 “One conversation centered”: Kurzweil, p. 10. 22 “It’s not going to be an invasion”: Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2006. 23 “intelligent design for the IQ 140 people”: Brian O’Keefe, “The Smartest (or the Nuttiest) Futurist on Earth,” Fortune, May 2, 2007, http:­/­/­money.­cnn.­com/­magazines/­fortune/­fortune_­archive/­2007/­05/­14/­100008848/­. 24 “It’s as if you took a lot of good food”: Greg Ross, “An Interview with Douglas R.

 

pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

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Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

Such discussion can be found in many of the works describd above, in particular the work of Vannevar Bush [31] and Douglas Engelbart [63]. Other notable works include those of Eric Drexler [57], Jon Udell [227], Christine Borgman [23], and Jim Gray [83]. See also Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for the world wide web, reprinted in [14]. A stimulating and enjoyable fictional depiction of networked science is Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End [231]. Data-driven science: One of the first people to understand and clearly articulate the value of data-driven science was Jim Gray, of Microsoft Research. Many of his ideas are summarized in the essay [83], which I also mentioned above. That essay is part of a stimulating book of essays entitled The Fourth Paradigm [94]. The book is freely downloadable from the web, and gives a good overview of many parts of data-driven science.

Sam’s encounter with manufactured serendipity. Jon Udell’s Radio blog, March 4, 2002. http://radio-weblogs.com/0100887/2002/03/04.html. [229] UK Medical Research Council policy on data sharing and preservation. http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Ourresearch/Ethicsresearchguidance/ Datasharinginitiative/Policy/index.htm. [230] Edna Ullmann-Margalit. Invisible-hand explanations. Synthese, 39(2): 263–291, 1978. [231] Vernor Vinge. Rainbows End. New York: Tor, 2007. [232] Steven S. Vogt, R. Paul Butler, Eugenio J. Rivera, Nader Haghighipour, Gregory W. Henry, and Michael H. Williamson. The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey: A 3.1 M_Earth planet in the habitable zone of the nearby M3V star Gliese 581. eprint arXiv:1009.5733, 2010. [233] Eric von Hippel. Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005. [234] James D.

 

pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

The Singularity The first application of the term “singularity” to a future technology-driven event is usually credited to computer pioneer John von Neumann, who reportedly said sometime in the 1950s that “ever accelerating progress . . . gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”5 The theme was fleshed out in 1993 by San Diego State University mathematician Vernor Vinge, who wrote a paper entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity.” Vinge, who is not given to understatement, began his paper by writing that “[w]ithin thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”6 In astrophysics, a singularity refers to the point within a black hole where the normal laws of physics break down.

James Barrat, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era (New York: Thomas Dunne, 2013), pp. 196–197. 3. Yann LeCun, Google+ Post, October 28, 2013, https://plus.google.com/+YannLeCunPhD/posts/Qwj9EEkUJXY. 4. Gary Marcus, “Hyping Artificial Intelligence, Yet Again,” New Yorker (Elements blog), January 1, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/01/the-new-york-times-artificial-intelligence-hype-machine.html. 5. Vernor Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” NASA VISION-21 Symposium, March 30–31, 1993. 6. Ibid. 7. Robert M. Geraci, “The Cult of Kurzweil: Will Robots Save Our Souls?,” USC Religion Dispatches, http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/4456/the_cult_of_kurzweil%3A_will_robots_save_our_souls/. 8. “Noam Chomsky: The Singularity Is Science Fiction!”

 

Geek Wisdom by Stephen H. Segal

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, battle of ideas, biofilm, fear of failure, Henri Poincaré, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Mark Zuckerberg, mutually assured destruction, Saturday Night Live, Vernor Vinge

As hard as it may be to look at a long-running quasi-epic and admit, “You know, this was awesome, but I’m bored—let’s start over and do it differently,” there’s probably no better way to take a regular old good story and elevate it to the realm of timeless myth. VI. IN THE YEAR 2525 (WISDOM ABOUT THE FUTURE) “END OF LINE.” —CYLON HYBRID, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA; ALSO, MASTER CONTROL PROGRAM, TRON “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.” —THE BORG, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION “UPGRADING IS COMPULSORY.” —THE CYBERMEN, DOCTOR WHO THERE’S SOMETHING EXISTENTIAL about modern culture’s fear of “the Singularity,” author Vernor Vinge’s name for the moment when technology will have advanced so far that it transforms humanity, or perhaps transcends it, in a way we cannot yet anticipate. That hasn’t stopped us from envisioning that posthuman future in stories, and usually we figure it’ll be pretty terrible for those of us still confined to meat-sack bodies when the time comes. That’s because the mechanized consciousness—which we imagine will approach the world with algorithmic fascism, uttering stark declaratives that allow no dissent—is always terrifying, whether it comes in the form of evil software like Tron’s Master Control and Terminator’s Skynet or flesh-and-blood entities like Battlestar Galactica’s Hybrid and Star Trek’s Borg, so cyberneticized as to be unrecognizable as human.

 

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

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1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

See Keller Easterling, “An Internet of Things,” e-flux, no. 31 (January 2012), http://worker01.e-flux.com/pdf/article_8946204.pdf, and Molly Wright Steenson, “Architectures of Information: Christopher Alexander, Cedric Price, and Nicholas Negroponte & MIT's Architecture Machine Group” (PhD dissertation, Princeton University School of Architecture, 2014). Richard Saul Wurman is widely credited with the first use of the term information architecture, and for this we may be glad. He was also the founder of TED, and for this we may be sad. 15.  Vernor Vinge, “Vernor Vinge at the Center for Design and Geopolitics” (lecture at the Center for Design and Geopolitics University of California, San Diego, June 3, 2011). 16.  The thing as “gathering” is in reference to Martin Heidegger's use in his 1950 essay “Das Ding,” and Bruno Latour's employment and furtherance of this image in his “parliament of things.” For an explanation of Latour's construction (and an idiosyncratic rejoinder), see Bruno Latour, Graham Harman, and Peter Erdélyi, The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE (Winchester, UK: ZERO Books, 2011). 17. 

Before MIT's Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte founded Architecture Machine Group, which focused on the problems of human-computer interaction at the environmental scale and what came in time to be called “information architecture.”14 Today, as suggested, many speculative information space design questions are not only coordinated around building automation but also for the conjuring of exotic materials such as smart dust, a generic name for different kinds of millimeter- to nanometer-scale sensor arrays with ultralow power budgets connected wirelessly and which gather hyperlocal data as they swerve. Some of these perhaps even also in turn react back on their microcosmos and our macrocosmos—what Vernor Vinge calls “smart motes with effectors.”15 Other programs focus on the design of the spatial, temporal, and semantic relations between physical and data objects. Bruce Sterling's influential Shaping Things introduced the term SPIME to designate the hybrid profile of an object, as accumulated all the way from its virtual design, to sourcing, to assembly, through its use and consumption, and its ultimate disassembly back into entropic matter.

 

pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin

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affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, Zimmermann PGP

Others proclaim the Internet a modern oracle, enabling simple folk to query libraries, databases, political organizations, or even corporate and university researchers, at last breaking the monopoly of “experts” and empowering multitudes with the same information used by the decisionmaking class. (See “A Century of Aficionados” later in this chapter.) Projecting this transcendent imagery forward in time, science fiction author Vernor Vinge foresees computerized media leading to a culturaltechnical “singularity.” When each person can share all stored knowledge, and exchange new ideas instantly, every field may advance at exponential rates, leading to a kind of human deification, a concept elaborated by UCLA researcher Gregory Stock in Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism. This transcendent notion of apotheosis through technology is not new.

Most other American access points are grouped into one of six “domains” with the respective trim abbreviations gov, mil, edu, org, com, and net.These abbreviations stand for government, military, educational institution, organization, commercial entity, or network gateway for other networks. More domains are planned, as the initial niches are filled at a rate many times faster than the originators ever envisioned. The most interesting thing about this system is how little bureaucracy is involved. A small commercial service is allowed to franchise out domain names for a small fee on a first-come, first-served basis. 39 ... author Vernor Vinge ... For more on the “singularity” see Vingeʼs novel, Across Real Time (New York: Baen Books, 1986). 42 ... a long, hard road getting here ... I have long been amazed that some people seem driven to claim that our varied ancestors (whether European, African, Native American, etc.) were in many or all ways better, wiser, smarter, and more honorable than we are, as if this somehow honors their memory!

 

pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The quickening pace of AI innovation has led some, such as Rice University computer scientist Moshe Vardi, to proclaim the imminent end of a very significant fraction of all tasks performed by humans, perhaps as soon as 2045.2 Even more radical voices argue that computers are evolving at such a rapid pace that they will outstrip the intellectual capabilities of humans in one, or at the most two more generations. The science-fiction author and computer scientist Vernor Vinge posed the notion of a computing “singularity” in which machine intelligence will make such rapid progress that it will cross a threshold and then in some as yet unspecified leap, become superhuman. It is a provocative claim, but far too early to answer definitively. Indeed, it is worthwhile recalling the point made by longtime Silicon Valley observer Paul Saffo when thinking about the compounding impact of computing.

The year 2045 is when Ray Kurzweil predicts humans will transcend biology, and implicitly, one would presume, destiny.37 Kurzweil, the serial artificial intelligence entrepreneur and author who joined Google as a director of engineering in 2012 to develop some of his ideas for building an artificial “mind,” represents a community of many of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest technologists. They have been inspired by the ideas of computer scientist and science-fiction author Vernor Vinge about the inevitability of a “technological singularity” that would mark the point in time at which machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence. When he first wrote about the idea of the singularity in 1993, Vinge framed a relatively wide span of years—between 2005 and 2030—during which computers might become “awake” and superhuman.38 The singularity movement depends on the inevitability of mutually reinforcing exponential improvements in a variety of information-based technologies ranging from processing power to storage.

 

pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

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23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

After all, every time a new labor-saving device is invented we seem to end up with less free time not more. Why? Possibly because we up our expectations of what we expect ourselves or others to do or produce. There’s also the thought that rising automation will lead to mass unemployment and a Luddite revolution. “I have argued that we cannot prevent the Singularity, that its coming is an inevitable consequence of the humans” natural competitiveness and the possibilities inherent in technology.’ Vernor Vinge, computer scientist, professor of mathematics and sci-fi author It’s cheaper to build robots than it is to pay someone over a lifetime. Robots don’t need to sleep or take holidays either. But the value of human work could still rise, especially if some of us prefer to be served by human beings and are willing to pay extra for it. Again, we can get a glimpse of this already: if you shop at a supermarket, you often have the option to be “served” by a machine rather than a real person.

 

pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

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3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E

It was read by hugely influential characters like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates, and when they spoke about it, the world listened. In the last year, awareness that advanced AI brings both immense promise and immense peril has become widespread. I’m sure that both Kurzweil and Bostrom would freely admit that, like Newton, they saw further than others because they stood on the shoulders of giants – in their cases people like Hans Moravic, Vernor Vinge and Alvin Toffler. There seems little point trying to pin down the exact source of each and every innovative idea our species has had: we can just be grateful that we do have them. Those of us who have been thinking about these things for years have long felt there needed to be a global debate about the future of artificial intelligence. That has now begun, although we are still in its very early stages.

 

pages: 238 words: 77,730

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker

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23andMe, AI winter, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, computer age, Frank Gehry, information retrieval, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, job automation, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, theory of mind, thinkpad, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

For most of these people, programming machines to catalogue knowledge and answer questions, whether manually or by machine, was a bit pedestrian. They weren’t looking for advances in technology that already existed. Instead, they were focused on a bolder challenge, the development of deep and broad machine intelligence known as Artificial General Intelligence. This, they believed, would lead to the next step of human evolution. The heart of the Singularity argument, as explained by the technologists Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, the leading evangelists of the concept, lies in the power of exponential growth. As Samuel Butler noted, machines evolve far faster than humans. But information technology, which Butler only glimpsed, races ahead at an even faster rate. Digital tools double in power or capacity every year or two, whether they are storing data, transmitting it, or performing calculations. A single transistor cost $1 in 1968; by 2010 that same buck could buy a billion of them.

 

pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

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1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

CHAPTER 2 An Apocalypse of Self-Abdication THE IDEAS THAT I hope will not be locked in rest on a philosophical foundation that I sometimes call cybernetic totalism. It applies metaphors from certain strains of computer science to people and the rest of reality. Pragmatic objections to this philosophy are presented. What Do You Do When the Techies Are Crazier Than the Luddites? The Singularity is an apocalyptic idea originally proposed by John von Neumann, one of the inventors of digital computation, and elucidated by figures such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil. There are many versions of the fantasy of the Singularity. Here’s the one Marvin Minsky used to tell over the dinner table in the early 1980s: One day soon, maybe twenty or thirty years into the twenty-first century, computers and robots will be able to construct copies of themselves, and these copies will be a little better than the originals because of intelligent software.

 

Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics by Francis Fukuyama

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Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, energy security, flex fuel, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Norbert Wiener, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Yom Kippur War

The worst thing that could have happened to New York City on September 11, 1901, would have been that the British fleet, the most powerful in the world, could have sailed in and started shelling the town, as it had done, by the way, some years earlier. And that might have done less damage in dollar terms and would probably have killed fewer people than what happened on September 11, 2001. Now ask yourself what would be the worst thing that could happen on September 11, 2101. Vernor Vinge, the science fiction writer, talks about how at some point in this century a person will be able to go to a Radio Shack to buy the parts to build a bomb that can blow up California. The obvious point is that the tremendous rate of technological progress will vastly expand the opportunities for the human race to do bad things as well as good. The dangers the world faces are the inseparable companions of the achievements that most people are straining every nerve to create, enhance, and further.

 

The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

[iii] There is no general agreement about when the information revolution started. In his 1962 book “The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States”, the Austrian economist Fritz Machler suggested that with 29% of GDP accounted for by the knowledge industry, it had begun. [iv] The term was first applied to human affairs back in the 1950s by John von Neumann, a key figure in the development of the computer. The physicist and science fiction author Vernor Vinge argued in 1993 that artificial intelligence and other technologies would cause a singularity in human affairs within 30 years. This idea was picked up and popularised by the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who believes that computers will overtake humans in general intelligence in 1929, and a singularity will arrive in 2045. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity [v] The event horizon of a black hole is the point beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer, or in other words, the point of no return.

 

pages: 551 words: 174,280

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Bonfire of the Vanities, conceptual framework, cosmological principle, dark matter, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, first-past-the-post, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam

So there can be only one outcome: effective immortality for the whole human population, with the present generation being one of the last that will have short lives. That being so, if our species will nevertheless have a finite lifetime, then knowing the total number of humans who will ever live provides no upper bound on that lifetime, because it cannot tell us how long the potentially immortal humans of the future will live before the prophesied catastrophe strikes. In 1993 the mathematician Vernor Vinge wrote an influential essay entitled ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’, in which he estimated that, within about thirty years, predicting the future of technology would become impossible – an event that is now known simply as ‘the Singularity’. Vinge associated the approaching Singularity with the achievement of AI, and subsequent discussions have centred on that. I certainly hope that AI is achieved by then, but I see no sign yet of the theoretical progress that I have argued must come first.

., Science and Ultimate Reality (Cambridge University Press, 2003) David Deutsch, ‘Quantum Theory of Probability and Decisions’, Proceedings of the Royal Society A455 (1999) David Deutsch, ‘The Structure of the Multiverse’, Proceedings of the Royal Society A458 (2002) Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law (BBC Publications, 1965) Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All (Allen Lane, 1998) Ernest Gellner, Words and Things (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Basic Books, 1979) Douglas Hofstadter, I am a Strange Loop (Basic Books, 2007) Bryan Magee, Popper (Fontana, 1973) Pericles, ‘Funeral Oration’ Plato, Euthyphro Karl Popper, In Search of a Better World (Routledge, 1995) Karl Popper, The World of Parmenides (Routledge, 1998) Roy Porter, Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (Allen Lane, 2000) Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers (Basic Books, 2001) Alan Turing, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, Mind, 59, 236 (October 1950) Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men (Faber, 2002) Vernor Vinge, ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’, Whole Earth Review, winter 1993 *The term was coined by the philosopher Norwood Russell Hanson. *This terminology differs slightly from that of Dawkins. Anything that is copied, for whatever reason, he calls a replicator. What I call a replicator he calls an ‘active replicator’. *These are not the ‘parallel universes’ of the quantum multiverse, which I shall describe in Chapter 11.

 

pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

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augmented reality, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of the steam engine, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day

CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PROLOGUE: We Know Where You Live, We Know Where Your Dog Goes to School SUE: Grand Theft Automatic ELAINE: Stitch-up JACK: Steaming INTERLUDE: CIA World Factbook, 2017 SUE: Earning Overtime ELAINE: Death or Coffee JACK: Revenge of the Mummy Lobe SUE: Wayne’s World ELAINE: A Catastrophic Loss of Goodwill JACK: mouthinsert(foot); SUE: Gaining Access ELAINE: Being Constructive JACK: In Hell SUE: Victim Liaison ELAINE: Stitched Up JACK: Designs on Your Dungeon SUE: Chop Shop ELAINE: Game of Spooks JACK: Meat Machine SUE: Heavy Mob ELAINE: Alone in the Dome JACK: This Is Not a Game SUE: Pigs in a China Shop ELAINE: System Fails, People Die JACK: The Anti-nutcase EULA SUE: Cover-up ELAINE: Shanghaied JACK: Sex Offender SUE: Missing in Action ELAINE: Morning After JACK: Body of Evidence SUE: Civil Contingencies ELAINE: Gentleman and Players JACK: Schrödinger’s Girl SUE: Making Plans for Nigel ELAINE: Zombie Mush JACK: In the Box SUE: Plea Bargain EPILOGUE: Banker Martin Mase ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Books do not get written in majestic isolation, and this one is no exception. Certainly it wouldn’t exist in its current form without valuable feedback from a host of readers. I’d particularly like to single out for thanks Vernor Vinge, Hugh Hancock, Greg Costikyan, Ron Avitzur, Eric Raymond, Tony Quirke, Robert Sneddon, Paul Friday, Dave Bush, Alexander Chane Austin, Larry Colen, Harry Payne, Trey Palmer, Dave Clements, Andrew Veitch, Hannu Rajaniemi, Soon Lee, and Jarrod Russell. I’d also like to thank my other test readers, too numerous to name today. Finally, thanks to the publishing folks without whom the book wouldn’t have been written: my agent, Caitlin Blasdell, my editor at Ace, Ginjer Buchanan, and my copyeditors, Bob and Sara Schwager.

 

pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

The Net seemed to offer this shining city on a hill, free from the grit and foulness of the meat world. Ideologically, this was a torch carried by Wired magazine, and the ideal probably reached its zenith in John Perry Barlow’s 1996 essay, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.” Silly me. I should have known better. It would all be spelled out clearly in John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash, Vernor Vinge’s True Names, and even less-well-read classics such as John Barnes’s The Mother of Storms. Science fiction writers were always the best social scientists, and in describing the dystopian nature of the Net they were again right on target. There would be nothing even vaguely utopian about the reality of the Internet, despite preachy “The Road Ahead” vision statements by (late to the Web) luminaries like Bill Gates.

 

pages: 328 words: 92,317

Machinery of Freedom: A Guide to Radical Capitalism by David Friedman

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back-to-the-land, Fractional reserve banking, hiring and firing, jitney, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, means of production, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

The first describes a libertarian revolt in the near future, the second a society with a male-to-female ratio of ten to one where women are drafted into a prostitution corps. L. Neil Smith, The Probability Broach (New York: Ballantine, 1980), The Venus Belt (New York: Ballantine, 1980) and lots more that I have not yet read. His books are sometimes fun; my main reservation is that the good guys are too obviously in the right and win too easily. Vernor Vinge, True Names (New York: Bluejay, 1984), The Peace War (New York: Bluejay, 1984; Ultramarine, 1984), Marooned in Realtime (New York: Bluejay, 1986; Baen, 1987). These are science fiction novels by a libertarian with interesting ideas. The historical background for the last of the three, which is set in the very far future, includes an anarcho-capitalist society along the general lines described in Part III of this book.

 

pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

Self-preservation alone would plausibly motivate this digital army to fight against us (perhaps using Siri as an interpreter for the enemy). In utopian versions of digital consciousness, we humans don’t fight with machines; we join with them, uploading our brains into the cloud and otherwise becoming part of a “technological singularity.” This is a term coined in 1983 by science-fiction author Vernor Vinge, who predicted that, “We will soon create intelligences greater than our own. . . . When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.”6 Progress toward such a singularity, Vinge and others have argued, is driven by Moore’s Law.

 

pages: 335 words: 107,779

Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson

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airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, British Empire, cable laying ship, call centre, cellular automata, edge city, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, music of the spheres, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, packet switching, pirate software, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, X Prize

It has happened many times in history that new systems will come along and, instead of obliterating the old, will surround and encapsulate them and work in symbiosis with them but otherwise pretty much leave them alone (think mitochondria) and sometimes I get the feeling that something similar is happening with these two literary worlds. The fact that we are having a discussion like this one on a forum such as Slashdot is Exhibit A. SINGULARITY—BY RANDALX What are your thoughts on Vernor Vinge’s Singularity prediction. Is it inevitable? Will humans become a part of it or be left behind by this new “species”? NEAL: I can never get past the structural similarities between the Singularity prediction and the apocalypse of St. John the Divine. This is not the place to parse it out, but the key thing they have in common is the idea of a rapture, in which some chosen humans will be taken up and made one with the infinite while others will be left behind.

 

pages: 364 words: 99,897

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, connected car, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Brooks, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, distributed ledger, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fiat currency, future of work, global supply chain, Google X / Alphabet X, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, social graph, software as a service, special economic zone, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technoutopianism, underbanked, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, young professional

First, they argue that Moore’s law, which holds that the amount of computing power we can fit into a chip will double every two years, shows little sign of slowing down. Moore’s law applies to the transistors and technology that control robots as well as those in computers. Add rapid advances in machine learning, data analytics, and cloud robotics, and it’s clear that computing is going to keep rapidly improving. Those who argue for the singularity differ on when it will occur. Mathematician Vernor Vinge predicts that it will occur by 2023; futurist Ray Kurzweil says 2045. But the question looming over singularity is whether there’s a limit on how far our technology can ultimately go. Those who argue against the possibility of singularity point to several factors. The software advances necessary to reach singularity demand a detailed scientific understanding of the human brain, but our lack of understanding about the basic neural structure of the brain impedes software development.

 

pages: 326 words: 103,170

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo

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Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, market bubble, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, packet switching, Paul Graham, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vernor Vinge, zero day

The introduction features a poem, pecked out in IBM typewriter lettering, titled “Into the Era of Cyberspace,” written with all the pocket-protector fluidity one might expect of a NASA engineer: “Our robots precede us / with infinite diversity / exploring the universe / delighting in complexity.” (Turing’s rhyming computer, you have to suspect, could have done better.) One of the first speakers at the conference was a San Diego State University professor named Vernor Vinge, whose remarks that day marked the start of an important era in our consideration of smart machines. His talk was called “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-human Era.” “Within thirty years,” Vinge began, “we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” Vinge’s aim was not—or at least not merely—to tell a room full of NASA geeks who had been dreaming of life on another planet that life on our own planet might soon be replaced by whirring, calculating machines.

 

pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

‘Economic growth’ in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (edited by David R Henderson, published by Liberty Fund); and Romer, P. 1994. New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions. Journal of Development Economics 43:5–38. p. 355 ‘the world economy will be doubling in months or even weeks’. Hanson, R. 2008. Economics of the Singularity. IEEE Spectrum (June 2008) 45:45–50. p. 355 ‘a technological “singularity”’. This notion has been explored by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil. See Kurzweil, R. 2005. The Singularity Is Near. Penguin. p. 355 ‘says Stephen Levy.’ Levy, S. 2009. Googlenomics. Wired, June 2009. p. 356 ‘says the author Clay Shirky’. Shirky, C. 2008. Here Comes Everybody. Penguin. p. 356 ‘Says Kevin Kelly’. Kelly, K. 2009. The new socialism. Wired, June 2009. p. 358 ‘The wrong kind of chiefs, priests and thieves could yet snuff out future prosperity on earth.’

 

pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

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AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Khan Academy, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra

.* In financial circles there was a lot of sort of irrational technology exuberance as well. As seen in Chapter 2, there were some inspired magazine covers from the magazine Wall Street Computer Review † that showed the unrealistic expectations for AI. One, from 1987, depicts Socrates on the steps of the stock exchange surrounded by a horde of PCs, and touts: “Teaching Computers to Emulate Great Thinkers.” * Sci-fi buffs have a rich amount of material to consider in this context. Vernor Vinge, a computer scientist who has also won five Hugo awards, deals with the topic in much of his work, including his latest novel, Rainbow’s End. If we construct an artificial superintelligent entity, what will it think of us? † Since renamed Wall Street & Technology, and a useful resource for nerds on Wall Street (NOWS) at www.wallstreetandtech.com. Artificial Intelligence and Intelligence Amplification 151 Source: Wall Street Computer Review (now Wall Street & Technology ), June 1987.

 

pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Chris Anderson Gordon Bell Katy Borner Stewart Brand Eric Brende David Brin Rob Carlson James Carse Jamais Cascio Richard Dawkins Eric Drexler Freeman Dyson George Dyson Niles Eldredge Brian Eno Joel Garreau Paul Hawken Danny Hillis Piet Hut Derrick Jensen Bill Joy Stuart Kauffman Donald Kraybill Mark Kryder Ray Kurzweil Jaron Lanier Pierre Lemonnier Seth Lloyd Lori Marino Max More Simon Conway Morris Nathan Myhrvold Howard Rheingold Paul Saffo Kirkpatrick Sale Tim Sauder Peter Schwartz John Smart Lee Smolin Alex Steffen Steve Talbot Edward Tenner Sherry Turkle Hal Varian Vernor Vinge Jay Walker Peter Warshall Robert Wright Annotated Reading List Of the hundreds of books I consulted for this project, I found the following selected ones to be the most useful for my purposes. Listed in order of importance. (The rest of my sources are listed in the Source Notes.) Autonomous Technology: Technics-Out-of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought. Langdon Winner. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1977.

 

pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

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airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K

Scott Adams wrote Scott Adams (1996), The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions, HarperBusiness, 12. 18 years if Matthew Sherman (2009), “A Short History of Financial Deregulation in the United States,” Center for Economic and Policy Research. potential failure Alexis de Tocqueville (1835), Democracy in America, Saunders and Otley. Chapter 16 the singularity Vernor Vinge (1993), “Technological Singularity,” paper presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March. Raymond Kurzweil (2005), The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Penguin Press. against the government Leonard Deutchman and Sean Morgan (2005), “The ECPA, ISPs and Obtaining E-mail: A Primer for Local Prosecutors,” American Prosecutors Research Institute.

 

pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

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A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

As the repeated doublings of computational power, storage capacity, and network speed start to work their magic, and the price of all that power continues to drop, according to Kurzweil, we will reach a critical moment when we can technologically emulate the human brain, reverse-engineering our own organic processors in computer hardware and software. At the same time, biotechnology and its handmaiden, nanotechnology, will be increasing their powers at an equally explosive rate. When these changes join forces, we will have arrived at a moment that Kurzweil, along with others who share his perspective, calls “the Singularity.” The term, first popularized by the scientist and science fiction author Vernor Vinge, is borrowed from physics. Like a black hole or any similar rent in the warp and woof of space-time, a singularity is a disruption of continuity, a break with the past. It is a point at which everything changes, and a point beyond which we can’t see. Kurzweil predicts that artificial intelligence will induce a singularity in human history. When it rolls out, sometime in the late 2020s, an artificial intelligence’s passing of the Turing Test will be a mere footnote to this singularity’s impact—which will be, he says, to generate a “radical transformation of the reality of human experience” by the 2040s.

 

pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles

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call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K

Accelerando Charles Stross Published: 2005 Categorie(s): Fiction, Science Fiction Source: http://www.accelerando.org/ About Stross: Charles David George "Charlie" Stross (born Leeds, October 18, 1964) is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy. Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod and Liz Williams. Obvious inspirations include Vernor Vinge, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling, among other cyberpunk and postcyberpunk writers. His first published short story, "The Boys", appeared in Interzone in 1987: his first novel, Singularity Sky was published by Ace in 2003 and was nominated for the Hugo Award. A collection of his short stories, Toast: And Other Rusted Futures appeared in 2002. Subsequent short stories have been nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and other awards.

 

pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

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3D printing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight

Good, a British statistician and Alan Turing’s sidekick on the World War II Enigma code-breaking project, speculated on a coming intelligence explosion. Good pointed out that if we can design machines that are more intelligent than us, they should in turn be able to design machines that are more intelligent than them, and so on ad infinitum, leaving human intelligence far behind. In a 1993 essay, Vernor Vinge christened this “the Singularity.” The concept has been popularized most of all by Ray Kurzweil, who argues in The Singularity Is Near that not only is the Singularity inevitable, but the point where machine intelligence exceeds human intelligence—let’s call it the Turing point—will arrive within the next few decades. Clearly, without machine learning—programs that design programs—the Singularity cannot happen.

 

pages: 625 words: 167,097

Kiln People by David Brin

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index card, jitney, life extension, pattern recognition, phenotype, price anchoring, prisoner's dilemma, Schrödinger's Cat, telepresence, Vernor Vinge

Acknowledgments Kiln People is one of the more challenging works I've taken on, expressing different points of view and time through seldom-used authorial tools like second-person, future tense. But that's just part of the tradition in a genre that thrives on the unusual and loves to take on clichés. I'd like to thank those who provided assistance, especially with critical readings of early drafts, and with insights on the historical, literary, and philosophical implications of golems. Special appreciation goes to Cheryl Brigham, Beth Meacham, Stefan Jones, Vernor Vinge, Tappan King, Wil McCarthy, Ralph Vicinanza, John Douglas, Lou Aronica, Mason Rourman, Steve Sloan, Mark Grygier, Steve Jackson, Joe Miller, Vince Gerardis, Beverly Price, Stephen Potts, Hodge Cabtree, Robin Hanson, Steven Koerber, Alberto Monteiro, Steinn Sigurdsonn, William Calvin, Trevor Sands, James Moore, Nick Arnett, Ruben Krasnopolsky, Robert Qualkinbush, Jim Kruggel, Tamara Boyd, Manoj Kasichainula, Pat Mannion, Amy Sterling Casil, Daniel Jensen, Rachel Heslin, Alex Spehr, Lisa Gay, Bret Marquis, Brian Sidlauskas, Stella Bloom, Rae Paarlberg, Joshua Knorr, Dr.

 

pages: 589 words: 147,053

The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth by Robin Hanson

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8-hour work day, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, business process, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, correlation does not imply causation, demographic transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, experimental subject, fault tolerance, financial intermediation, Flynn Effect, hindsight bias, job automation, job satisfaction, Just-in-time delivery, lone genius, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, prediction markets, rent control, rent-seeking, reversible computing, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, statistical model, stem cell, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

Acknowledgments For their comments, I thank Paul Christiano, Peter Twieg, Katja Grace, Carl Shulman, Tyler Cowen, Fabio Rojas, Bonnie Hanson, Luke Muehlhauser, Nikola Danaylov, Bryan Caplan, Michael Abramowicz, Gaverick Matheny, Paul Crowley, Peter McCluskey, Sam Wilson, Chris Hibbert, Thomas Hanson, Daniel Houser, Kaj Sotala, Rong Rong, David Friedman, Michael LaTorra, Ben Goertzel, Steve Omohundro, David Levy, Jim Miller, Mike Halsall, Peggy Jackson, Jan-Erik Strasser, Robert Lecnik, Andrew Hanson, Shannon Friedman, Karl Mattingly, Ken Kittlitz, Teresa Hartnett, Giulio Prisco, David Pearce, Stephen Van Sickle, David Brin, Chris Yung, Adam Gurri, Matthew Graves, Dave Lindbergh, Scott Aaronson, Gary Drescher, Robert Koslover, Don Hanson, Michael Raimondi, William MacAskill, Eli Dourado, David McFadzean, Bruce Brewington, Marc Ringuette, Daniel Miessler, Keith Henson, Garett Jones, Alex Tabarrok, Lee Corbin, Norman Hardy, Charles Zheng, Stuart Armstrong, Vernor Vinge, Ted Goertzel, Mark Lillibridge, Michael Chwe, Olle Häggström, Jaan Tallinn, Joshua Fox, Chris Hallquist, Joshua Fox, Kevin Simler, Eric Falkenstein, Lotta Moberg, Ute Shaw, Matt Franklin, Nick Beckstead, Robyn Weaving, François Rideau, Eloise Rosen, Peter Voss, Scott Sumner, Phil Goetz, Robert Rush, Donald Prell, Olivia Gonzalez, Bradley Andrews, Keith Adams, Agustin Lebron, Karl Wiberg, Thomas Malone, Will Gordon, Philip Maymin, Henrik Jonsson, Mark Bahner, Adam Lapidus, Tom McKendree, Evelyn Mitchell, Jacek Stopa, Scott Leibrand, Paul Ralley, Anders Sandberg, Eli Lehrer, Michael Klein, Lumifer, Joy Buchanan, Miles Brundage, Harry Beck, Michael Price, Tim Freeman, Vladimir M., David Wolf, Randall Pickett, Zack Davis, Tom Bell, Harry Hawk, Adam Kolber, Dean Menk, Randall Mayes, Karen Maloney, Brian Tomasik, Ramez Naam, John Clark, Robert de Neufville, Richard Bruns, Keith Mansfield, Gordon Worley, Giedrius, Peter Garretson, Christopher Burger, Nithya Sambasivam, Zachary Weinersmith, Luke Somers, Barbara Belle, Jake Selinger, Geoffrey Miller, Arthur Breitman, Martin Wooster, Daniel Boese, Oge Nnadi, Joseph Mela, Diego Caleiro, Daniel Lemire, Emily Perry, Jess Riedel, Jon Perry, Eli Tyre, Daniel Erasmus, Emmanuel Saadia, Erik Brynjolfsson, Anamaria Berea, Niko Zinovii, Matthew Farrell, Diana Fleischman, and Douglas Barrett.

 

pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis

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3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, millennium bug, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Taking its lead from the film Transcendence (2014), these prominent scientists argued that the threat of human extinction is very real, very serious and closing in upon us. They are not the only ones worried about AI taking over the world. Ray Kurzweil – inventor, entrepreneur and currently the head of AI research for Google – thinks that this will happen by 2030. But how did all this talk about the AI Singularity start? The answer, not surprisingly perhaps, is to be found not in science but in science fiction. Vernor Vinge is a computer scientist, science fiction writer and winner of the prestigious Hugo Award for science fiction. In his novels, particularly in The Peace War (1984) and in Marooned in Realtime (1986), Vinge was the first to explore a fictitious time in the future that he called ‘the technological singularity’. This is when the human race has transcended into a different form of existence with the assistance of exponentially improving sentient technology.

 

pages: 571 words: 162,958

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel

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back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day

But reality itself is everywhere mediated, and what comes between the characters and reality must constantly be interrogated. singular The stories in this collection are too various for us to draw a tidy summary of what twenty-first-century cyberpunk is about, nor do we see the profit in it. However, so many of them imply or actually explore a post-human future that we would be remiss if we failed to point out that a logical consequence of much of cyberpunk extrapolation is the singularity. Vernor Vinge, by no means a cyberpunk, although highly respected by them, first proposed the notion of a technological singularity in 1993. Briefly, he contemplates a moment in history in which runaway technology causes a change “comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater-than-human intelligence.” Vinge speculates this change may come through artificial intelligence, through computer/human interfaces, or through biological modification of the human genome.

 

pages: 665 words: 207,115

Across Realtime by Vernor Vinge

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fudge factor, gravity well, Isaac Newton, job automation, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, technological singularity, Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge Across Realtime Book I. The Peace War - Flashback - One hundred kilometers below and nearly two hundred away, the shore of the Beaufort Sea didn't look much like the common image of the arctic: Summer was far advanced in the Northern Hemisphere, and a pale green spread across the land, shading here and there to the darker tones of grass. Life had a tenacious hold, leaving only an occasional penin-sula or mountain range gray and bone. Captain Allison Parker, USAF, shifted as far as the restraint harness would permit, trying to get the best view she could over the pilot's shoulder. During the greater part of a mis-sion, she had a much better view than any of the "truck-drivers," but she never tired of looking out, and when the view was the hardest to obtain, it became the most desirable.