technological singularity

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pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, 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, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, 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, zero-sum game

This causes confusion and misunderstanding to the extent that some critics argue that the term should be avoided altogether (Tyler 2009). At the very least the term “singularity” has led to many unfortunate assumptions that technological singularity involves some form of mathematical singularity and can hence be ignored as unphysical. This essay is attempting a simple taxonomy of models of technological singularity, hopefully helping to disambiguate the different meanings of the word. It also aims at a brief review of ­formal quantitative models of singularity-like phenomena, in the hope of promoting a more stringent discussion of these possibilities. Definitions of Technological Singularity A brief list of meanings of the term “technological singularity” found in the literature and some of their proponents: A. [Accelerating change] Exponential or superexponential technological growth (with linked economic growth and social change) (Kurzweil 2005; Smart 2008) B.

Appeal to Autonomy Appeal to Interests Appeal to Natural Law Conclusion 34 Freedom by Design Introduction Legal Right by Design: Cognitive Liberty Design Thinking and Cognitive Liberty Caveats on Concept: Fictions of Freedom Freedom in Spite of All Else Part VIII Future Trajectories: Singularity 35 Technological Singularity I. What is the Singularity? II. Can the Singularity Be Avoided? III. Other Paths to the Singularity IV. Strong Superhumanity and the Best We Can Ask For 36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity Introduction Definitions of Technological Singularity Models Accelerating Change Discussion 37 A Critical Discussion of Vinge’s Singularity Concept Comment by David Brin: Singularities Comment by Damien Broderick Comment by Nick Bostrom: Singularity and Predictability Comment by Alexander Chislenko: Singularity as a Process, and the Future Beyond Comment by Robin Hanson: Some Skepticism Comment by Max More: Singularity Meets Economy Comment by Michael Nielsen Comment by Anders Sandberg: Singularity and the Growth of Differences Part IX The World’s Most Dangerous Idea 38 The Great Transition What is Transhumanism?

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. Such models are useful for examining the dynamics of the world-system and possible types of future crisis points where fundamental transitions are likely to occur.


pages: 294 words: 81,292

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

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, 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, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

I’d found a message in a bottle, a footnote that turned everything around. Good and I had something important in common now. We both believed the intelligence explosion wouldn’t end well. Chapter Eight The Point of No Return But if the technological Singularity can happen, it will. Even if all the governments of the world were to understand the “threat” and be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue. 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.

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? Haven’t many technological “singularities” already occurred? Disruptive technological change is nothing new, but no one felt compelled to come up with fancy names for its occurrences. My grandmother was born before automobiles were widely used, and lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Bowden stated: Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machines.” Such machines … could even: Good, I. J., ed., The Scientist Speculates, an Anthology of Partly Baked Ideas (London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1962.) Speculations Concerning: Good, I. J., The 1998 “Computer Pioneer Award” of the IEEE Computer Society, Biography and Acceptance Speech (1998), 8. 8: THE POINT OF NO RETURN But if the technological Singularity: Vinge, Vernor, “The Coming Technological Singularity,” 1993, http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/WER2.html. This quotation sounds a lot: Could Good have read Vinge’s essay, inspired by his own earlier essay, and then had a change of heart? I find that unlikely. By his death Good had published some three million words of scholarship. He’s the most prolific attributer I’ve ever read. And even though many of his footnotes cite his own papers, I believe he would have given credit to Vinge for his change of heart, if Vinge’s essay had prompted it.


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, 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, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, 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, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, 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, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

But in the coming decades the rate and scale of change will be so great that the future will become mysterious in a new way. So much so that people talk about a coming technological singularity. The term “singularity” is borrowed from maths and physics, where it means a point at which a variable becomes infinite. The usual example is the centre of a black hole, where matter becomes infinitely dense. When you reach a singularity, the normal rules break down, and the future becomes even harder to predict than usual. In recent years, the term has been applied to the impact of technology on human affairs.[iv] Superintelligence and the technological singularity The technological singularity is most commonly defined as what happens when the first artificial general intelligence (AGI) is created – a machine which can perform any intellectual task that an adult human can.

Chapter 6.6 adopted Kevin Kelly’s term Protopia for a successful transition, and suggested that the blockchain might turn out to be the mechanism to administer society’s collectively owned assets, notably its artificial intelligence. 7.2 – The two singularities In my previous book, “Surviving AI”, I wrote at length about the challenge and the opportunity presented by the technological singularity, the moment when (and if) we create an artificial general intelligence which continues to improve its cognitive performance and becomes a superintelligence. Ensuring that we survive that event is, I believe, the single most important task facing the next generation or two of humans – along with making sure we don’t blow ourselves up with nuclear weapons, or unleash a pathogen which kills everyone. If we secure the good outcome to the technological singularity, the future of humanity is glorious almost beyond imagination. As DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis likes to say, humanity’s plan for the future should consist of two steps: first, solve artificial general intelligence, and second, use that to solve everything else.

Trying again is something we are good at. On the other hand, if it is coming at all, the economic singularity is coming sooner than the technological singularity. No-one knows how long it will take to build an artificial general intelligence, but it looks tremendously hard. It is probably only a matter of time, but that time may well be quite a few decades. The economic singularity is likely to be with us in two or three decades – perhaps not in the sense that a majority of people will be unemployable by then, but in the sense that it will be obvious and undeniable that it is going to happen. Asset prices may collapse at that point. Relatively speaking, then, the technological singularity is more important but less urgent, while the economic singularity is less important but more urgent. 7.3 – What is to be done?


pages: 252 words: 79,452

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

In his 1958 obituary for the physicist John von Neumann, with whom he had worked on the Manhattan Project, Stanislaw Ulam wrote about a conversation they once had about “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 race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” The first substantial statement of the concept of a Technological Singularity is usually attributed to the mathematician and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge. In an essay called “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-human Era,” first delivered as a paper at a 1993 conference organized by NASA, Vinge claimed that “within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the human era will be ended.” Vinge is ambivalent about the consequences of this great transcendence: it could mean the end of all our problems, or the annihilation of our species, but that it is coming is not seriously in doubt.

Transhumanism’s influence seemed perceptible in the fanatical dedication of many tech entrepreneurs to the ideal of radical life extension—in the PayPal cofounder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s funding of various life extension projects, for instance, and in Google’s establishment of its biotech subsidiary Calico, aimed at generating solutions to the problem of human aging. And the movement’s influence was perceptible, too, in Elon Musk’s and Bill Gates’s and Stephen Hawking’s increasingly vehement warnings about the prospect of our species’ annihilation by an artificial superintelligence, not to mention in Google’s instatement of Ray Kurzweil, the high priest of the Technological Singularity, as its director of engineering. I saw the imprint of transhumanism in claims like that of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who suggested that “Eventually, you’ll have an implant, where if you just think about a fact, it will tell you the answer.” These men—they were men, after all, almost to a man—all spoke of a future in which humans would merge with machines. They spoke, in their various ways, of a posthuman future—a future in which techno-capitalism would survive its own inventors, finding new forms in which to perpetuate itself, fulfill its promise.

I considered asking him whether he thought computers might eventually replace even keynote speakers, whether the thought leaders of the next decade might fit in the palms of our hands, but realized that whatever answer he provided to this question would be cause for smug vindication on his part anyway, and so I resolved instead to include a description in my book of his retrieving a dropped pistachio from inside his expensive shirt—an act of petty and futile vengeance, and the kind of absurd irrelevance that would certainly be beneath the dignity and professional discipline of an automated writing AI. Anders and the attractive Frenchwoman to my right were engaged in what seemed to me an impenetrably technical discussion about the progress of research into mind uploading. The conversation had turned to Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and entrepreneur and director of engineering at Google who had popularized the idea of the Technological Singularity, an eschatological prophecy about how the advent of AI will usher in a new human dispensation, a merger of people and machines, and a final eradication of death. Anders was saying that Kurzweil’s view of brain emulation, among other things, was too crude, that it totally ignored what he called the “subcortical mess of motivations.” “Emotions!” said the Frenchwoman, emotionally. “He doesn’t need emotions!


pages: 144 words: 43,356

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, 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, hedonic treadmill, 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, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, 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, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

If there is an intelligence explosion, there is no compelling reason to think that the superintelligence will stop recursively self-improving once it exceeds human intelligence by a factor of ten, or a hundred, or a million. In which case it may bestow technological innovations on us at a bewildering rate – perhaps so fast that un-augmented humans simply could not keep up. This scenario is called a technological singularity, a term we encountered in chapter three, and which means a point where the normal rules cease to apply, and what lies beyond is un-knowable to anyone this side of the event horizon. As we shall see below, there is no reason why a technological singularity must necessarily be a positive event, but the early adopters of the idea were almost unanimously convinced that it would be. This confidence has been parodied as an article of faith and likened to the Christian prophesy of “rapture” (from the Latin for “seizing”), which foresees Christ taking the faithful up into heaven during the second coming.

Or it could lead to an economy of radical abundance, where nobody has to work for a living, and we are all free to have fun, and stretch our minds and develop our faculties to the full. I hope and believe that the latter is possible, but we also need to make sure the process of getting there is as smooth as possible. The arrival of superintelligence, if and when it happens, would represent a technological singularity (usually just referred to as “the singularity”), and would be the most significant event in human history, bar none. Working out how to survive it is the most important challenge facing humanity in this and the next generation(s). If we avoid the pitfalls, it will improve life in ways which are quite literally beyond our imagination. A superintelligence which recursively improved its own architecture and expanded its capabilities could very plausibly solve almost any human problem you can think of.

The rapid growth of online education (the MOOC, or Massive Open Online Courses revolution) means that employees can re-skill themselves faster than ever before, and for free. But we may lose this race up the value chain if AI systems are clambering up it as fast as we are, or faster. So there may well come a time when a majority of jobs can be performed more effectively, efficiently or economically by an AI than they can be done by a human. This could be called the economic singularity, (29) by analogy with the technological singularity which we will discuss in chapter 6. During the Great Depression, unemployment peaked at 25% of the US population in 1933, and the resulting trauma is seared into the political memory even now. Social provision for the unemployed has improved greatly since then, and countries (for instance in southern Europe) with similar levels of unemployment today don’t seem so desperate. But if the day dawns when everyone acknowledges that more than half the population will never work again, the result will surely be a political and social crisis sufficient to oblige governments everywhere to do something about it.


pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, 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 Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

World-renowned 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 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 now familiar 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. 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 designing even better versions of themselves.

(Please see “The Technology Paradox” in the Appendix for more on this.) ] In this book, we won’t again stray into this more speculative arena (except in the last sections of the Appendix). The ideas presented in this book do not depend on the occurrence of the technological singularity. The standard we have set is much lower: we are concerned only with the possibility that machines will become capable of performing most average, routine jobs. The singularity represents a far more extreme case. It’s fair to say, however, that if something along the lines of the technological singularity is to occur, we may first need a paradigm shift in the way our economy works—or at least some changes in our economic architecture. Otherwise, we will be in for quite a shock. A War on Technology In this chapter we have seen that computers are increasing in both power and number at a simply astonishing rate.

Web: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/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, New York, 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/2007/05/14/100008848/ 37 “Vernor Vinge on the Singularity,” Web: http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html Chapter 3: Danger 38 Robert J. Shapiro, Futurecast: how superpowers, populations, and globalization will change the way you live and work, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2008. 39 Thomas L.


pages: 533

Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech by Jamie Susskind

3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, Andrew Keen, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, British Empire, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, continuation of politics by other means, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google bus, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, lifelogging, Metcalfe’s law, mittelstand, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Oculus Rift, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, payday loans, price discrimination, price mechanism, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selection bias, self-driving car, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technological singularity, the built environment, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, universal basic income, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

Emma Hinchliffe, ‘IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Discovers 5 New Genes Linked to ALS’, Mashable UK, 14 December 2016 <http:// mashable.com/2016/12/14/ibm-watson-als-research/?utm_ cid=mash-com-Tw-tech-link%23sd613jsnjlqd#HJziN5r0aGq5> (accessed 28 November 2017). Murray Shanahan, The Technological Singularity (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2015), 12. BBC, ‘Google Working on “Common-Sense” AI Engine at New Zurich Base’, BBC News, 17 June 2016 <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/­ technology-36558829> (accessed 30 November 2017); Blue Brain Project <https://bluebrain.epfl.ch/page-56882-en.html> (accessed 6 December 2017). Bostrom, Superintelligence, 30. Shanahan, Technological Singularity, 47. Garry Kasparov, ‘The Chess Master and the Computer’, New York Review of Books, 11 February 2010, cited in Susskind and Susskind, Future of the Professions, 276. Pedro Domingos, The Master Algorithm: How The Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World (London:Allen Lane, 2015), xi.

Friedman, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2016), 43; Tim Cross, ‘Beyond Moore’s Law’, in Megatech: Technology in 2050, ed. Daniel Franklin (New York: Profile Books, 2017), 56–7. 52. Shanahan, Technological Singularity, 160; Kelly, What Technology Wants, 166. 53. Friedman, Thank You for Being Late, 21. 54. Kristian Vättö, ‘Samsung SSD 850 Pro (128GB, 256GB & 1TB) Review: Enter the 3D Era’, AnandTech, 1 July 2014 <http://www. anandtech.com/show/8216/samsung-ssd-850-pro-128gb-256gb1tb-review-enter-the-3d-era> (accessed 28 November 2017); Intel, ‘New Technology Delivers an Unprecedented Combination of Performance and Power Efficiency’, Intel 22 NM Technology <http:// www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/silicon-innovations/ intel-22nm-technology.html> (accessed 28 November 2017). 55. Shanahan, Technological Singularity, 35. 56. Norm Jouppi, ‘Google Supercharges Machine Learning Tasks with TPU Custom Chip’, Google Cloud Platform Blog, 18 May 2016 <https:// cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2016/05/Google-superchargesmachine-learning-tasks-with-custom-chip.html> (accessed 28 November 2017). 57.

Bostrom cheerfully suggests it would not be smart in the sense that ‘a scientific OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 26/05/18, SPi РЕЛИЗ ПОДГОТОВИЛА ГРУППА "What's News" VK.COM/WSNWS 366 FUTURE POLITICS genius is smart compared with the average human being,’ but rather ‘smart in the sense that an average human being is smart compared with a beetle or a worm.’ 21 He adds, not very reassuringly, that the advent of a superintelligent AI system could lead to a ‘wide range of outcomes’ including ‘extremely good’ ones but also ‘outcomes that are as bad as human extinction’.22 In such a world, politics would revert to its primordial purpose: to ensure survival in a harsh world. Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil contend that in the long run, we’re heading toward a technological singularity, that is, a point at which machine intelligence comes to saturate the universe, absorbing all matter and life in its path.23 There would be no place for homo s­ apiens in such a world, let alone for politics. I’ve deliberately avoided devoting many pages in this book to how all-powerful AI systems might come to destroy the world—not because such a scenario is impossible, but because it’s already a popular topic of writing and one which can (unhelpfully) obscure the more immediate problems that we’ll have to face in the digital lifeworld.


pages: 331 words: 47,993

Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider

artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Elon Musk, Extropian, hive mind, life extension, megastructure, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, silicon-based life, Stephen Hawking, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons

Kurzweil has even discussed the potential advantages of forming friendships with personalized AI systems, like the Samantha program in the film Her. THE SINGULARITY Kurzweil and other transhumanists contend that we are fast approaching a “technological singularity,” a point at which AI far surpasses human intelligence and is capable of solving problems we weren’t able to solve before, with unpredictable consequences for civilization and human nature. The idea of a singularity comes from mathematics and physics, and especially from the concept of a black hole. Black holes are “singular” objects in space and time—places where normal physical laws break down. By analogy, the technological singularity is projected to cause runaway technological growth and massive changes to civilization. The rules by which humanity has operated for thousands of years will abruptly cease to hold.

Others, in contrast, are deeply concerned that humans could lose control of superintelligence, because a superintelligence could rewrite its own code and outthink any safeguards we build in. AI could be our greatest invention and our last one. This has been called the “control problem”—how we Earthlings can control an AI that is both inscrutable and vastly smarter than us. We’ve seen that superintelligent AI could be developed during a technological singularity, a point at which ever-more-rapid technological advances—especially an intelligence explosion—reach a point at which humans can no longer predict or understand the technological changes as they unfold. But even if superintelligent AI arises in a less dramatic fashion, there may be no way for us to foresee or control the goals of AI. Even if we could decide on what moral principles to build into our machines, moral programming is difficult to specify in a foolproof way, and any such programming could be rewritten by a superintelligence in any case.

“Integrated Information Theory: From Consciousness to Its Physical Substrate.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 17: 450–461. Turner, E. n.d. “Improbable Life: An Unappealing but Plausible Scenario for Life’s Origin on Earth,” video of lecture given at Harvard University, https://youtube/Bt6n6Tu1beg. UNESCO/COMEST. 2005. “The Precautionary Principle,” http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001395/139578e.pdf. Vinge, V. 1993. “The Coming Technological Singularity.” Whole Earth Review, Winter. Wiley, Keith. 2014. “Response to Susan Schneider’s ‘The Philosophy of “Her,’ ” H+ Magazine, March 26, http://hplusmagazine.com/2014/03/26/response-to-susan-schneiders-the-philosophy-of-her/. Zimmer, Carl. 2010. “Sizing Up Consciousness By Its Bits,” New York Times, September 20. INDEX Page numbers in italics indicate illustrations. Aaronson, Scott, 64 ACT test, 50–57, 60, 65, 67 Active SETI, 105–9 afterlife of the brain, 8, 145 AGI (artificial general intelligence), 9, 43 AI (artificial intelligence), 1–15, 148–50 alien/extraterrestrial, 5, 98–119 (See also alien/extraterrestrial AI) consciousness issues, 2–6 (See also consciousness) development of, 9–10 implications, importance of thinking through, 2–3, 10 Jetsons fallacy and, 12–13 merging humans with AI, 6–8, 72–81 (See also merging humans with AI) mind design, concept of, 1 postbiological, 99 singularity, approach of, 11–12 software, mind viewed as, 7–8, 120–47 (See also software, mind viewed as) transhumanism, 13–15 (See also transhumanism) uncertainties and unknowns regarding, 15 AI consciousness, problem of, 3–6, 16–32, 148–49 alien intelligences, postbiological, 5 alien/extraterrestrial AI, 110–11 biological naturalism, arguments against, 18–22, 34, 158n4 capability of machines for consciousness, 17–18 Chinese Room thought experiment and, 19–22, 20, 34, 148 control problem, 4–5 ethical treatment of conscious/potentially conscious AIs, 39, 67–69, 149 isomorph thought experiment and, 26–31, 57, 158nn13–14, 159nn10–11 “problem of other minds” and, 158n3 slavery and, 4, 39 techno-optimism, arguments for, 18, 23–26, 31, 34 value placed on humans by, 5 “Wait and See Approach” to, 33–34, 45 AI slavery, 4, 39 Alcor, 121, 145 alien/extraterrestrial AI, 5, 98–119 BISAs (biologically inspired superintelligent aliens), 113–19 consciousness, 110–11 control problem and, 104–5 postbiological cosmos approach, 99–104 SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), 101, 105–9, 106 software theory, 119 superintelligent AI minds, encountering, 109–19 Alzheimer’s disease, 44, 58 Amazon, 131 Arrival (film), 107 artificial general intelligence (AGI), 9, 43 artificial intelligence.


pages: 339 words: 94,769

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman

AI winter, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, David Graeber, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, finite state, friendly AI, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Laplace demon, Loebner Prize, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Picturephone, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telemarketer, telerobotics, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, zero-sum game

The failure of the initial overly optimistic predictions of AI dampened talk about the technological singularity for a few decades, but since the 2005 publication of Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity IS Near, the idea of technological advance leading to superintelligence is back in force. Some believers, Kurzweil included, regard this singularity as an opportunity: Humans can merge their brains with the superintelligence and thereby live forever. Others, such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, worried that this superintelligence would prove to be malign and regarded it as the greatest existing threat to human civilization. Still others, including some of the contributors to the present volume, think such talk is overblown. Wiener’s lifework and his failure to predict its consequences are intimately bound up in the idea of an impending technological singularity. His work on neuroscience and his initial support of McCulloch and Pitts adumbrated the startlingly effective deep-learning methods of the present day.

He is internationally known for his work in the field of quantum computation, which attempts to harness the exotic properties of quantum theory, like superposition and entanglement, to solve problems that would take several lifetimes to solve on classical computers. In the essay that follows, he traces the history of information theory from Norbert Wiener’s prophetic insights to the predictions of a technological “singularity” that some would have us believe will supplant the human species. His takeaway on the recent programming method known as deep learning is to call for a more modest set of expectations; he notes that despite AI’s enormous advances, robots “still can’t tie their own shoes.” It’s difficult for me to talk about Seth without referencing his relationship with his friend and professor, the late theoretical physicist Heinz Pagels of Rockefeller University.

Many obstacles and some innovations can be anticipated, but more cannot. In my own work with experimentalists on building quantum computers, I typically find that some of the technological steps I expect to be easy turn out to be impossible, whereas some of the tasks I imagine to be impossible turn out to be easy. You don’t know until you try. In the 1950s, partly inspired by conversations with Wiener, John von Neumann introduced the notion of the “technological singularity.” Technologies tend to improve exponentially, doubling in power or sensitivity over some interval of time. (For example, since 1950, computer technologies have been doubling in power roughly every two years, an observation enshrined as Moore’s Law.) Von Neumann extrapolated from the observed exponential rate of technological improvement to predict that “technological progress will become incomprehensively rapid and complicated,” outstripping human capabilities in the not too distant future.


pages: 161 words: 39,526

Applied Artificial Intelligence: A Handbook for Business Leaders by Mariya Yao, Adelyn Zhou, Marlene Jia

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, computer vision, conceptual framework, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, industrial robot, Internet of things, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Marc Andreessen, natural language processing, new economy, pattern recognition, performance metric, price discrimination, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software is eating the world, source of truth, speech recognition, statistical model, strong AI, technological singularity

Retrieved from http://www.technologyreview.com/s/601654/amazon-working-on-making-alexarecognize-your-emotions/ (18) Talbot, D. (2014, September 19). Apps for Autism. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from http://www.technologyreview.com/s/528191/digitalsummit-first-emotion-reading-apps-for-kids-with-autism/ (19) Technological singularity. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 17, 2017, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity 3. The Promises of Artificial Intelligence The promises of AI extend beyond the challenges of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Emerging technologies like deep learning and conversational interfaces enable us to do far more than drive advertising clicks, streamline sales, and boost corporate profits. All around the world, entrepreneurs and executives leverage data combined with machine learning to fight social injustice and crime, address health and humanitarian crises, solve pressing community problems, and dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone.

Computers are currently constrained by both hardware and software availability, while humans and other biological organisms are constrained by wetware limitations. Some futurists hypothesize that we may be able to achieve superhuman intelligence by augmenting biological brains with synthesized technologies, but this research is currently more science fiction than science. Once an upgradable intelligent agent does emerge, we will reach what many experts call the technological “singularity," when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence.(19) Self-evolving agents will be capable of ever-faster iterations of self-improvements, leading to the eventual emergence of superintelligence. To download a visual summary of the Machine Intelligence Continuum, visit the resources section of our book website at appliedaibook.com/resources. How we build today’s Systems That Learn, Systems That Create, and Systems That Relate will affect how we build tomorrow’s Systems That Master and Systems That Evolve.


pages: 405 words: 117,219

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

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, animal electricity, 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, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, 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, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, 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

Oxford: Oxford University Press. 21Tegmark, M. (2014), ‘Humanity in Jeopardy’, in: Huffington Post, 13 January 2014. 22Tegmark, N., Hawking, S., Russell, S., and Wilczek, F. (2014), ‘Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence – but are we taking AI seriously enough?’, in: Independent, 1 May 2014. 23Vinge, V. (1993), ‘The coming technological singularity: how to survive in the post-human era’, presented at: the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March, 1993. 24Vinge, V. (1993), ‘The coming technological singularity: how to survive in the post-human era’, presented at: the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March, 1993. 25Kurzweil, R. (1999), The Age of Spiritual Machines, New York: Viking Penguin. 26Dowe, D. L., and Herandez-Oralli, J. (2011), ‘IQ tests are not for machines, yet’, in: Intelligence, March–April 2012, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 77–81. 27Although Earth, as a cybernetic system, acts in an ‘intelligent’ way through constant adaptation and self-regulation, a concept explored by James Lovelock in his Gaia hypothesis. 28Vinge, V. (1993), ‘The coming technological singularity: how to survive in the post-human era’, presented at: the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March, 1993. 29At the time this book was written in 2014 the fastest computer in the world was the Chinese Tianhe-2, located at Sun Yatsen University, Guangzhou, China.

These are, of course, questions for writers of ‘alternative history’, and indeed they have been explored in several novels, short stories and comics. Alas, in the universe we inhabit the Analytical Engine, despite its significance, remained mostly unknown. The main features of a modern computer’s architecture were rediscovered nearly a century later. And so was the separation between hardware and software. In this sense, the Analytical Engine was a technological singularity that happened in a world not ready yet to make something useful of it. Similarly to Hellenistic innovations such as the Hero’s Steam Engine and Hipparchus’ Antikythera Mechanism, Babbage’s great invention was well before its time. Nevertheless, Babbage’s achievement is profoundly remarkable. He had invented a machine that could perform multiple functions without the need to reconfigure its mechanical parts.

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. He expressed these narrative ideas more explicitly in a 1993 essay, arguing that the creation of superhuman Artificial Intelligence will mark a point in history where ‘the human era will be ended’.23 The main argument for the inevitability of the AI Singularity in Vinge’s essay is Moore’s Law.


pages: 377 words: 97,144

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

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, Norman Macrae, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, 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, twin studies, 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.”

One CIA report speculated that the Machiavellian Chinese leadership had funded the program in part because of its high human cost, which they believed would prevent their US rivals from imitating them: the Chinese had discovered a strategic weapon that their main military rival would be unwilling to use. Although he was a patriotic American and he possessed a sense of morality that most other Westerners would consider normal, the CIA analyst who uncovered the program supported China’s efforts at breeding hyper-geniuses. The analyst had become interested in intelligence enhancement through his studies of the technological Singularity, and he concluded that an unfriendly ultra-AI arising from an intelligence explosion posed a significant threat to mankind’s survival. The analyst believed that because of their tiny budget, the dozen programmers who were working on trying to build a friendly artificial intelligence still had no idea how to accomplish their goals, and he hoped that the Chinese hyper-geniuses would soon realize the necessity of pursuing friendly AI.

If the price of Intel goes above $50, the hedge fund will sell Intel, pushing the price down to $50. Hedge funds that find mispriced financial assets have incentives to buy or sell the asset until its price becomes equal to what the fund thinks it should be. A financial asset will be mispriced if the asset’s value doesn’t reflect all available information, such as the likelihood of the technological Singularity. But, you might ask, “So what?” Why does the price of financial assets matter? It matters because the higher a company’s stock price is, the better off its investors are. Most companies put a lot of effort into raising the value of their stock. So here is how Singularity expectations will influence corporate behavior: 1.Hedge fund managers have the incentive and intelligence to spot Singularity signposts. 2.Hedge fund managers have a huge amount of influence over stock prices. 3.Companies care a lot about stock prices. 4.Companies, therefore, have a strong incentive to make decisions that take into account the possibility of a Singularity.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

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

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, 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, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, 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. Within the black hole’s boundary, or event horizon, gravitational force is so intense that light itself is unable to escape its grasp. Vinge viewed the technological singularity in similar terms: it represents a discontinuity in human progress that would be fundamentally opaque until it occurred. Attempting to predict the future beyond the Singularity would be like an astronomer trying to see inside a black hole.

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!” (interview), YouTube, October 4, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?

See collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) Center for Economic and Policy Research, 171n Central Intelligence Agency, 46, 85 cervical cancer screening, 152–153 chargemaster prices, 160–161, 164 cheating, MOOCs and, 136–137 Cheney, Dick, 240 chess, 97–98, 122, 123 Chicago, data portal of city of, 87–88 China American consumer spending and, 54 college graduates overqualified for occupations in, 251 consumer demand in, 223–227 globalization and, 53 industrial automation in, 3, 10–11, 225–226 labor’s share of national income in, 41 offshoring and, 120 reshoring and, 9 saving rate in, 224–225 super-intelligence and, 236n China rebalancing, 224–225 Chomsky, Noam, 129, 236 Christensen, Clayton, 142 Chronicle of Higher Education (journal), 139 Chrysler, 76 Circuit City, 16 Cisco, 234 Citigroup, 103, 198 citizen’s dividend, 266–267 Cleveland Clinic, 102 Clifford, Stephanie, 8 climate change, xvii, 211–212, 282–283 Clinton, Bill, 242 cloud computing, 52, 104–107, 109 cloud robotics, 20–23 cobalt poisoning, 145–146 cognitive capability, global competition for jobs and, 120 cognitive computer chip, 72 cognitive computing, 96–104 collaboration software, 64 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail (Diamond), x collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 56 college-educated workers, 120–121, 126–128 college graduates, declining income and underemployment for recent, 48–49 College Unbound (Selingo), 140 college wage premium, 48n Colton, Simon, 112 “The Coming Technological Singularity” (Vinge), 233 community colleges, 276–277 comparative advantage, 73–75 compensation. See wages competency-based education (CBE), 138 computers acceleration of power, xii–xiii, 68 (see also Moore’s Law) acquisition of skills by, xv–xvi increase in memory capacity, 63–64 innovation and improvements in, 69–73 predictions of impact of, 31–32, 33–34 S-curve of, 69, 70–71 construction industry, 3D printing and, 180–181 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 38n consumer robots, 197n consumers Chinese, 223–227 demand and, 196–197 permanent income hypothesis, 210–211 workers as, 193–194, 196–198, 221–222 consumer spending, 54 consumer spending/consumption, 200, 202n demand and, 196 guaranteed income and, 269–270 income inequality and, xvi–xvii, 198–202 Cornell University, Creative Machines Lab, 108 corporate profits financial sector, 55 recovery from Great Recession and, 39–40, 202, 203 as share of GDP, 40, 202, 203 correlation vs. cause, big data and, 88–89, 102 costs health care, 160–174 higher education, 140 Coursera, 133, 136 Cowen, Tyler, 65, 123, 126n CPI.


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The AI Economy: Work, Wealth and Welfare in the Robot Age by Roger Bootle

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, anti-work, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, facts on the ground, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mega-rich, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, positional goods, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, social intelligence, spinning jenny, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, universal basic income, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Whether and when it will ever be there, in the outside world, and with what consequences, is what we must now consider. The first use of the term “singularity” to refer to a future technology driven event seems to have been by the legendary computer pioneer John von Neumann, in the 1950s. But it doesn’t seem to have caught on until, in 1983, the mathematician Vernor Vinge wrote about an approaching “technological singularity.”3 More recently, the “Singularity,” notably now sporting a capital “S,” has become closely associated with the name of Ray Kurzweil, who published his book The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology in 2005. He is currently Google’s Director of Engineering. He has predicted that computers will surpass the processing power of a single human brain by 2025. More strikingly, he has claimed that a single computer may match the power of all human brains combined by 2050.4 The Singularity is now generally taken to mean the point at which AI acquires “general intelligence” equal to a human being’s.

Scott, J. (2017) Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, New Haven: Yale University Press. Seldon, A. and Abidoye, O. (2018) The Fourth Education Revolution, Buckingham: University of Buckingham Press. Shackleton, J. (2018) Robocalypse Now? London: Institute of Economic Affairs. Shadbolt, N., and Hampson, R. (2018) The Digital Ape, London: Scribe. Shanahan, M. (2015) The Technological Singularity, Cambridge: The MIT Press. Simon, H. (1965) The Shape of Automation for Men and Management, New York: Harper. Smith, A. (1776) The Wealth of Nations, London: William Strahan. Stiglitz, J. E. (1969) New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals, London: The Econometric Society. Susskind, R. and Susskind, D. (2017) The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

., p. 249. 24 Simon, H. (1965) The Shape of Automation for Men and Management, New York: Harper. 25 Minsky, M. (1967) Finite and Infinite Machines, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 26 Bostrom, N. (2014) Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 4. 27 According to Chace (2016), p. 14. 28 Reported in The Economist, April 21, 2018. 29 Markoff, J. (2012) How Many Computers to Identify a Cat? 16,000, New York Times, June 25, 2012. 30 Chace, C. (2016), p. 15. 31 Quoted in Autor, D. H. (2015) Why are there still so many jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 29 (Summer 2015), p. 8. 32 Susskind and Susskind (2017), p. 276. 33 Ibid., pp. 272–3. 34 Shanahan, M. (2015) The Technological Singularity, Cambridge: The MIT Press, p. 162. 35 Quoted by Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph. 36 Quoted in Kelly (2016), p. 176. 37 Haskel, J. and Westlake, S. (2017) Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy, USA: Princeton University, p. 127. 38 See Autor, D. H. (2015). 39 Chace (2016), pp. 16–17. 40 Kelly (2016). 41 Avent, R. (2016) The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century, New York: St.


pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur

Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, double helix, endogenous growth, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, Myron Scholes, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Each category comes into being differently and evolves differently. A technology-singular—the steam engine—originates as a new concept and develops by modifying its internal parts. A technology-plural—electronics—comes into being by building around certain phenomena and components and develops by changing its parts and practices. And technology-general, the whole collection of all technologies that have ever existed past and present, originates from the use of natural phenomena and builds up organically with new elements forming by combination from old ones. I will have more to say about these second and third categories of technology in the chapters ahead, particularly on how the collective of technology evolves. But because technologies-singular—individual technologies—make up this collective, I want to focus on them for the rest of this chapter.

It means simply that a jet engine (or more generally, any technology) consists of component building blocks that are also technologies, and these consist of subparts that are also technologies, in a repeating (or recurring) pattern. Technologies, then, are built from a hierarchy of technologies, and this has implications for how we should think of them, as we will see shortly. It also means that whatever we can say in general about technologies-singular must hold also for assemblies or subsystems at lower levels as well. In particular, because a technology consists of main assembly and supporting assemblies, each assembly or subsystem must be organized this way too. So far, recursiveness sounds abstract. But when we look at it in action, it becomes perfectly concrete. Consider a technology of some complication: the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.


pages: 252 words: 74,167

Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl

Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

, it told the pulpy story of a brain which is artificially augmented by being plugged directly into computerised data sources. This was the first published work of Vernor Vinge, a sci-fi writer, mathematics professor and computer scientist with a name straight out of the Marvel Comics alliteration camp. Vinge later became a successful novelist, but he remains best known for his 1993 non-fiction essay, ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’. The essay recounts many of the ideas Good had posed about superintelligent machines, but with the added bonus of a timeline. ‘Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence,’ Vinge famously wrote. ‘Shortly after, the human era will be ended.’ This term, ‘the Singularity’, referring to the point at which machines overtake humans on the intelligence scale, has become an AI reference as widely cited as the Turing Test.

From another angle, it’s a lot like the worst-case scenario.’ This is one reason why the term Singularity fits so well. Before it became closely associated with Artificial Intelligence, the word ‘singularity’ was most commonly used in theoretical physics, where it was used to describe the gravitational centre at the heart of a black hole: the point at which matter collapses in on itself. Like a black hole, the technological Singularity is wholly unfathomable to the human mind. For this reason, speculating about where Artificial General Intelligence could potentially take us is interesting, but ultimately the stuff of science fiction for now. It’s a little like automobile pioneer Henry Ford’s quip about how, had he asked people what they wanted before the arrival of the car, the most common request would be for faster horses.

., ‘Stephen Hawking: “Transcendence Looks at the Implications of Artificial Intelligence … ”’, Independent, 1 May 2014: independent.co.uk/news/science/stephen-hawking-transcendence-looks-at-the-implications-of-artificial-intelligence-but-are-we-taking-9313474.html 4 Hill, Doug, ‘The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again)’, Atlantic, 11 June 2014: theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/norbert-wiener-the-eccentric-genius-whose-time-may-have-finally-come-again/372607/ 5 Good, I. J., ‘Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine’, Advances in Computers, 1965. 6 Vinge, Vernor, ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era’, Vision-21: Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in the Era of Cyberspace, 1993. 7 Ulam, Stanislaw, ‘Tribute to John von Neumann,’ Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society: 5, May 1958. 8 Hemingway, Ernest, The Sun Also Rises (New York: Scribner, 1954). 9 Appleyard, Bryan, The Brain Is Wider than the Sky: Why Simple Solutions Don’t Work in a Complex World (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2011). 10 www.youtube.com/watch?


pages: 302 words: 74,350

I Hate the Internet: A Novel by Jarett Kobek

Anne Wojcicki, Burning Man, disruptive innovation, East Village, Edward Snowden, Golden Gate Park, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, immigration reform, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, liberation theology, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, packet switching, PageRank, Peter Thiel, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Whole Earth Catalog

It seemed like Sheryl Sandberg had spent her whole professional life doing nothing but delivering messages. Like Ray Kurzweil, who Christine identified with Dolos, the Greek spirit of trickery and guile. Ray Kurzweil was the king of technological liberation theology. Or, in other words, he was king of the most intolerable of all intolerable bullshit. He believed in a future where computers would reach a moment of technological singularity. The technological singularity was a bullshit phrase invented by the Science Fiction writer Vernor Vinge. The technological singularity was the name for a theoretical moment in the future when computers would achieve a critical mass of artificial intelligence and wake up and change everything. The way that computers would change everything is by emerging into consciousness and telling people like Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge that they were fucking awesome.


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, 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 Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, 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, zero-sum game

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.

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.

These studies have pointed to the potential of extremely rapid growth given the arrival of digital minds, but since endogenous growth theory is relatively poorly developed even for historical and contemporary applications, any application to a potentially discontinuous future context is better viewed at this stage as a source of potentially useful concepts and considerations than as an exercise likely to deliver authoritative forecasts. For an overview of attempts to mathematically model a technological singularity, see Sandberg (2010). 25. It is of course also possible that there will be no takeoff at all. But since, as argued earlier, superintelligence looks technically feasible, the absence of a takeoff would likely be due to the intervention of some defeater, such as an existential catastrophe. If strong superintelligence arrived not in the shape of artificial intelligence or whole brain emulation but through one of other paths we considered above, then a slower takeoff would be more likely.


pages: 313 words: 91,098

The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, attribution theory, bitcoin, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, combinatorial explosion, computer age, crowdsourcing, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Flynn Effect, Hernando de Soto, hindsight bias, hive mind, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

Some of our greatest entrepreneurs and scientific minds see even darker clouds on the horizon. People like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates have cautioned that technology could become so sophisticated that it decides to pursue its own goals rather than the goals of the humans who created it. The reason to worry has been articulated by Vernor Vinge in a 1993 essay entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity,” as well as by Ray Kurzweil in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, and most recently by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, who works at the University of Oxford. In Bostrom’s language, the fear is that technology is advancing so fast that the development of a superintelligence is imminent. A superintelligence is a machine or collection of machines whose mental powers are far beyond that of human beings.

few people today read Alice in Wonderland: A fact bemoaned by Anthony Lane in “Go Ask Alice,” The New Yorker, June 8 and 15, 2015. SEVEN. THINKING WITH TECHNOLOGY commuting a little less: www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/how-america-stopped-commuting.html. attendance at movie theaters: www.slashfilm.com/box-office-attendance-hits-lowest-level-five-years. Vernor Vinge: V. Vinge (1993). “The Coming Technological Singularity.” Whole Earth Review, Winter. Ray Kurzweil: R. Kurzweil (2005). The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin Books. Nick Bostrom: N. Bostrom (2014). Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Ian Tattersall: As told to Dan Falk in the online magazine eon: http://eon.co/magazine/science/was-human-evolution-inevitable-or-a-matter-of-luck.

See also artificial intelligence (AI); thought body-brain cooperation in cognitive processing, 101–05 collective mind, 5–6 CRT (Cognitive Reflection Test), 80–84 division of cognitive labor, 14, 109–11, 120–21, 128–29 illusion of understanding, 8, 15 individual limitations, 4–5, 15 Landauer, Thomas, 24–26 the mind compared to a computer, 24–27 moving text window example, 93–95 origins of, 4 Turing, Alan, 25 collaboration, 14, 109–11, 115–18, 121–22, 149–50, 226 collective intelligence hypothesis, 209–10 combinatorial explosion, 34 “The Coming Technological Singularity” (Vinge), 132 communal learning Brown, Ann, 228–30 Fostering Communities of Learners program, 228–30 group/regroup strategy, 228–30 jigsaw method, 229–30 communication language, 113–14 non-verbal, 114–15, 117 community development of, 112–13 intelligence, 259 responsibility, 259–61 community of knowledge, 80, 200, 206–14, 221, 223–27, 241–42 compatibility of different group members’ knowledge, 126 complexity airplane example, 28 beehive example, 107–08, 113–14 car example, 28 chaos theory, 34–35 class reunion example, 31 combinatorial explosion, 34 fractals, 33–34 hairpin example, 34 of the human brain, 29–30 military strategy, 32–33 in the natural world, 29–31 of politics, 16 recognizing, 35 reducing, 250 of technology, 134–35 weather prediction, 30–31 comprehension illusion of, 217–18 inverted text example, 217 Pledge of Allegiance example, 217–18 “Purple Haze” example, 218 computer checkers example of testing intelligence of a team, 210–11 “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (Turing), 25 consequences of tiny changes.


pages: 315 words: 89,861

The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, butterfly effect, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, game design, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Minecraft, natural language processing, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Zeno's paradox

The origins of this use of the term singularity date back to the 1950s, at which time mathematician John von Neumann supposedly coined the term when he said, “The ever-accelerating progress of technology ... 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.”17 Irving John Good, another mathematician, was one of the first to call super-intelligent AI the “last invention that man need make.” Of course, there weren’t that many people thinking about the singularity outside of science fiction and a few computer scientists at the time. In fact, the term was popularized by science fiction writer (and computer scientist) Vernor Vinge in a 1993 paper he wrote titled, “The Technological Singularity,” in which he defined it as a “singular point” after which everything will be different. Although the term has picked up steam because of the development of AI to the point of becoming super-intelligent, this is only one of the several possibilities that Vinge puts forth in his original paper: Science may achieve this breakthrough by several means (and this is another reason for having confidence that the event will occur): Computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent may be developed.

“IRL” and “AFK,” 209–10 statistical NLP (SNLP), 89–90 statistics, 12 stereoscopy, 57–58 sthula sarira (gross body), 242 subjective reality and quantum physics, 10–13 subject-object duality, end of, 130–31 suksma sarira (subtle body), 242 super-intelligent machines, 276–77 superposition, 133–34 superstrings, 256 supersymmetry, 256 Susskind, Leonard, 179–181 swab, 225–26 Swann, Ingo, 243 synchronicity, 237–241 synchronicity, source of revealing order to physical world, 239 scientific or quantum physics, 238–39 spiritual or religious perspective, 238 T Tantric Buddhism, 284 Tao of Physics (Capra), 203–4 Tap Fish, 3–4 “The Technological Singularity” (Vinge, 1993), 101 Technology Review, 101 Tegmark, Max, 115 telepathy, 244 teleportation, 177–78, 233–34 Telltale Games, 83–84, 83f TensorFlow, 101–2 The Terminator, 96–97, 150 text adventure interface, 28f textual input, 31 Theory of Everything (big TOE), 156–57 theory of general relativity, 259 theory of relativity, 13, 126, 161, 170, 178 theory of special relativity, 169–171 3D (three-dimensional) modeling techniques, 42–44 3D, illusion of, 58 3D films, 57–59 3D films to virtual reality, 58–60 3D glasses, history of, 57–58 3D MMORPGs, 59, 63 3D NPCs, 50 3D objects, 281–82 3D pixels and particles, 164–65 3D printers, 164–65 3D printers and biological materials, 71–72 3D printers, real world rendering, 69–71 3D printing, 67 3D rendering engine, 59 3D sound, 61–62 3D video games, 57–59 “Tic Tac” encounter, 233 Tic Tac Toe, 2, 11–12, 33, 104 Tifft, William G., 175 time simulation, 175–76 time travelers, 274–75 Tonegawa, Susumu, 79 Total Recall, 77–78 Toy Story, 64, 164 trackballs, 36 transmigration, 201 Treasure Hunt (Virk), 237–241 Tsongkhapa, 198 tulku, 203 Turing, Alan, 84–85, 104 Turing Test, 17, 84–85, 84f, 88–94, 99, 101, 114–16, 280 twin paradox, 169 Twitchell, Paul, 204, 207 Twitter, 98 2D (two-dimensional) modeling techniques, 42–44, 53 Tyson, Neil DeGrasse, 10, 113 U UFOs (unidentified flying objects), 219, 231–35 Ultima, 82 Ultima I-III, 39, 42 Ultima Online, 4, 42, 44 uncertainiy principle, 132 “unexplained” phenomena, 241–44 unfolding symmetry, 263 universal “server” time, 173 universe as information, 157 user-generated content, 50 V Vallée, Jacques, 232, 234, 239 “value” of pixel, 163 “values of AI,” 99 Vedas, 186–87, 242, 284 The Verge, 91 video game console, 38–39 video games multiple lives, 200–201 and quantum indeterminacy (QI), 124, 134–35 theoretical model for reincarnation, 205–8 . see also Great Simulation; simulation hypothesis; simulation point video games, conditional rendering in 3D virtual world rendering, 136–38 complex maps in 2D worlds, 135–36 multiplayer and VR rendering, 138–39 rendering engine rules, 138 video games, features of multiple lives, role playing, 208–9 quests and achievements, 210–11 states of play: “in-world” vs.

. [←14] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sophia_at_the_AI_for_Good_Global_Summit_2018_(27254369347).jpg [←15] https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/10/16617092/sophia-the-robot-citizen-ai-hanson-robotics-ben-goertzel [←16] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics [←17] Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, (New York: Penguin, 2005), 10. [←18] Vernor Vinge, “Technological Singularity” (1993), https://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/~hpm/book98/com.ch1/vinge.singularity.html [←19] https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612257/digital-version-after-death/ [←20] Nick Bostrom, “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” Philosophical Quarterly (2003) Vol.53, No.211, pp.243‐255. [←21] Max Tegmark, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (New York: Alfred A.


pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, longitudinal study, low earth orbit, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Vinge himself sees the tipping point as the moment when machine intelligence, or machine-enhanced intelligence, surpasses normal human intelligence and takes over its own further progress. Another possibility is some emergent property of the all-embracing Internet, which Vinge proposes might “suddenly awaken.” Any such occurrence would indeed transform our world. Whether or not it will actually occur, the mere prospect of a technological Singularity changes behavior. People already refer to the near future in months instead of years, and to the distant future in years instead of decades or centuries. What may happen decades from now—beyond the imagined event horizon—is treated as not only unknown but unknowable. Under such conditions speed becomes glorified. Haste switches from a vice to a virtue; behavior that once might have been called reckless and irresponsible becomes swift and decisive action.

Only in the rural Benedictine monasteries were intellectual discourse and education maintained. So it went for five centuries, until suddenly in the mid twelfth century the lead was taken over by the new universities in reviving cities such as Paris, Bologna, and Oxford. Urban universities have kept the intellectual lead ever since (though the Net may be challenging that). Future dark ages are always possible. The technological Singularity could generate one—what if whatever we transition to doesn’t work out? Contemplating the need for bridging gaps in civilization, the dreamers of a millennial Clock/Library assumed from the beginning that it would be built in a remote desert site. Forests, shorelines, and cities suffer too rapid a physical turnover to be good candidates. The recollection of what happened to Europe’s monasteries after 1200—they became stagnant and irrelevant—suggests that Clock/Library should not lose touch with urban creativity and ferment.


pages: 360 words: 100,991

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence by Richard Yonck

3D printing, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, friendly AI, ghettoisation, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of writing, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, old age dependency ratio, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Skype, social intelligence, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing test, twin studies, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, zero day

He called this event the “Singularity” because of its supposed similarity to a physical singularity—or black hole.8 Proponents of the concept maintain that as with a physical singularity, conditions would be so severely different beyond its horizon that it’s impossible to predict what the world would be like afterward. Whether or not such an event is feasible, authors have been happy to explore the infinite possibilities that arise from its contemplation. This “technological singularity” offers tremendous opportunity to speculate about our place in a world where we are no longer the most intelligent beings on the planet. Some writers speculate that as a result, we may find the human race wiped out. This idea has also recently been written about by some very serious thinkers and technologists, as we’ll also discover in chapter 17. On the other hand, other science fiction authors have explored the idea that our interests may not align with those of a superintelligence, particularly one capable of independent thought.

The damsel in distress is also a feature of sadomasochistic fetishes, an aspect the AIs may have been manipulating in Nathan from before the beginning of this story. 8. The term “singularity” was originally used in this sense by Stanislaw Ulam in his obituary of computing giant John von Neumann. Chapter 17 1. The first two terms refer to the apocalyptic dystopia of the Terminator franchise, created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. The technological singularity is a hypothetical moment in our future when a machine intelligence rapidly self-improves, surpassing all human intelligence and severely disrupts all of society. The robot apocalypse is an oft-used science fiction trope. 2. Here, I’m applying Occam’s Razor. As complex as questions about different aspects of consciousness may be, the idea that we evolved five or eight independent varieties leaves me incredulous. 3.

See Systems- Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) Subtle Expression Training Tool, 55–56 synesthesia, 45 synthesized voice, reactions to, 103 Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS), 125–127 T Tamagotchi, 198–199 Tay (AI), 196–197 tDCS. See transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) technium, 23 technological evolution “AI-human symbiote,” 264 emotional empathy and, 265–266 and “ end of the world” scenarios, 261–262 and the future, 266–273 intention, 260–261 Matrix scenario, 262–263 peaceful coexistence, 263 technological singularity, 239 technophobia, 29–30 TEDWomen, 175–176 Tega, 118–119 Tegmark, Max, 132 teledildonic devices, 188–189 telepresence, 201 telepresence robots, 151 Terminator scenarios, 242, 262 Terror Management Theory (TMT), 99 Terrorist Surveillance Act (2006), 145 Texas A&M, 127 theory of mind (ToM), 83–84, 131 therapeutic companion robots, 148–150 “Three Laws of Robotics,” 165, 230–233, 262 3D printing, 211 Tilbury, Nancy, 57 TMS.


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

Defining how to tame such singularities stimulated enormous progress in nineteenth-century mathematics, and this subsequently had a huge impact on theoretical physics. Its most famous popular consequence was the concept of black holes, which arose from trying to understand the singularity structure of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Until it was popularized by Kurzweil in his 2005 book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, “singularity” was a term that was hardly used colloquially. Building on an earlier idea of a “technological singularity” introduced in 1993 by the science-fiction writer and computer scientist Vernor Vinge, Kurzweil proposed that we are approaching a singularity in which our bodies and brains will be augmented by genetic alterations, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence to become hybrid cyborgs no longer bound by the constraints of biology. It was suggested that this would result in a collective intelligence that will be enormously more powerful than all present human intelligence combined.

See, for instance, W. B. Arthur, The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves (New York: Free Press, 2009); H. Youn, et al., “Invention as a Combinatorial Process: Evidence from U.S. Patents,” Journal of the Royal Society Interface 12 (2015): 20150272. 5. R. Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking, 2005). 6. V. Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” Whole Earth Review (1993). 7. This is quoted by the great mathematician Stanislaw Ulam in a eulogy to von Neumann following his death in 1957: “Tribute to John von Neumann,” Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 5(3), part 2 (1958): 64. 8. C. McCarthy, The Road (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006). AFTERWORD 1. Two popular nontechnical books that present a broad overview of the enormously exciting quest for the fundamental constituents of matter and a grand unified theory for understanding their interactions, including its extension to the evolution of the cosmos and the origin of space-time itself, are S.

See also quarter-power scaling networks and origins of quarter-power allometric scaling, 103–5 ¾ power, 25–27, 93, 155, 458n universality and the magic number four, 93–99 scaling of cities, 28–32, 271–81, 341–42 between different urban systems, 279 metrics, 271–75, 276–77, 279–80 physical infrastructure, 274–75 scaling curves, 276–77, 280 scaling of companies, 32–33, 385–92, 408 “scattering experiments,” 78 “scattering theory,” 78 Schläpfer, Markus, 352 Schrödinger, Erwin, 84 Science (journal), 54, 302–3, 436 science of cities, 7, 8–9, 215, 269–324 christalls vs. fractals, 288–95 cities as social incubators, 295–304 consequences and predictions, 325–78 Dunbar and numbers, 304–9 integrating social with physical, 315–24 scaling of cities, 271–81 social networks and cities, 281–88 Zipf and word use, 309–15 science of companies, 7, 8–9, 32–33, 379–410 company mortality, 393–410 myth of open-ended growth, 391–93 science of complexity, 23, 79–81 science of materials, 39–42 science of wars, 132–35 scientific method and theory, 48, 106–11, 181, 441–42 Seaborg, Glenn, 243 Seattle, 248, 261, 360 Second Law of Thermodynamics, 14, 71, 233, 236, 237 “second order,” 110 seismometers, 46 self-interest and greed, 286–88 self-organization, 23, 282–83 self-similarity, 91–93, 128, 155 origin of magic number four and, 126–30 Senseable City Lab, 340 Seventh Seal, The (film), 179–80 Shahnameh (Ferdowsi), 218–19 Shakespeare, William, 63, 252–53 Shanghai Stock Exchange, 389–90, 390 Shaw, George Bernard, 226 shipbuilding, 63, 66–75, 177 Shuman, Frank, 241 Silicon Valley, 248–49, 265, 358, 359–60, 432, 442, 447 similitude, 75–78 Simon, Herbert, 369–70, 382 Simon, Julian, 232–33 simplicity underlying complexity, 90–93, 116 Singapore, 354 singularity, 422. See also finite-time singularity; technological singularity Singularity Is Near, The (Kurzweil), 422 Sisyphus, 418, 423, 424 “six degrees of separation,” 296–97, 301, 304–5 sleep, 6, 12 “slum clearance,” 260, 261, 263 “small world problem,” 296–97, 302–4, 305 smart cities, 270, 294, 338, 346 Smith, Adam, 380 social brain hypothesis, 308–9, 315–16 social capital, 278, 286, 372, 392 Social Darwinism, 287 social incubators, cities as, 295–304 social media, 332, 340 social metabolic rate, 13 social metabolism, 13, 373–74, 415 social networks, 344–45 cities and, 281–88, 295–304, 326–27 Dunbar and numbers, 304–9 impedance matching, 123 integrating physical infrastructure with, 315–24 social physics, 56–57 socioeconomic diversity and business activity, 363–71, 367 “socioeconomic space,” 285 socioeconomic time, 326–32 solar energy, 236, 240–42 solar system, 37, 108–9 Sornette, Didier, 415, 418, 425 Soros, George, 364 South African coast, 140, 144 space filling, 27, 112–13, 129, 201, 284 Spinoza, Baruch, 172 sports rankings, 352–53 square-cube law, 39–42, 43, 58, 59, 158–59 standardized measures, 76 Standard Model of particle physics, 338–39 standard of living, 184, 185–86, 229, 234–35 Standard & Poor’s, 385, 404 Stanford University, 265, 301, 303, 329–30, 361, 435–36 steam engines, 69 Stevenage, 263–65, 267 Stewart, Potter, 20 stock markets, 142, 144, 389–90 Stokes, George, 71 stone arch bridges, 61 strength of materials, 42–45 string theory, 85, 130, 225, 429 Strogatz, Steven, 297–98, 300–301 structuralism, 87 Strumsky, Debbie, 356, 364 Strutt, Edward, 78 Strutt & Parker, 78 sublinear scaling, 19, 28, 173, 374, 412–13 cities, 272, 273, 274–75, 288, 295, 321, 372, 374–75, 388 companies, 391–92, 408 patents, 2, 2n, 4, 29, 276, 357, 386 Sumatra earthquake of 2010, 46 supercentenarians, 188–89, 191 Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), 82–83 superexponential growth, 413–14, 414, 417 superlinear scaling, 18, 19, 29, 374 cities, 275–76, 280, 304, 318, 319, 321, 326–27, 342, 355–56, 370, 374, 391–92 companies, 408, 413–14, 414 Superman, 43–45, 44, 161 survival analysis, 402–3, 405–6 “survival of the fittest,” 87, 89, 403 survivorship curves companies, 397, 398–400, 400–402 human, 189–94, 191, 192 Swift, Jonathan, 128 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 271 Sydney Opera House, 259 Szell, Michael, 352 Takamatsu Corporation, 406 Taleb, Nassim, 383 Tange, Kenzo, 248, 258 Taylor Walker (London), 224–26 technological singularity, 28–32, 420, 422, 424 telescopes, 37 temperature, 20–21, 109 exponential scaling of, 173–78 extending life span and, 203–4 temperature dependence of life span, 175, 176, 177, 203–4 temperature rise, 237 terminal units, 113–14, 151, 201–2, 284 terrorist attacks, 134 Tesla, Inc., 124, 403–4 Tesla, Nikola, 123–24 Texas, flow of transport, 292–94, 293 Thames Tunnel, 64 Theory of Everything (ToE), 429–30, 444 theory of relativity, 107–8, 115, 339, 422, 428, 429 thermodynamics, 14, 69, 71, 233, 236, 237 Thiel, Peter, 184 Thomas, Warren, 52–53 Thomas Edison Company, 123–24 Thompson, D’Arcy Wentworth, 86–88, 97, 111, 181 ¾ power scaling law, 25–27, 93, 155, 458n time dilation, 332 tipping points, 16, 24, 157–58, 382, 463n total market capitalization, 379, 389–90, 390 Tottenham Hotspur, 187 “Toward a Metabolic Theory of Ecology” (Brown, Savage, Allen, Gillooly), 174 “toy model,” 109 traffic flows, 292–94 traffic gridlock, 332–33 transaction costs, 380, 381 transportation time, 332–35 travel time, 329–30, 332–35, 346–47 treadmills, 328, 412, 418 Treatise on Man (Quetelet), 56 trees, 116–17, 121, 121–22, 172, 459–60n scaling exponents, 147, 150, 150–51 trial and error, 69–71, 74–75 Triumph of the City, The (Glaeser), 213 tumors, 6, 15, 27, 172 growth curves, 170, 171 turbulence, 72 Tusko (elephant), 53 Twitter, 296, 332, 340, 447 Two New Sciences (Galileo), 38–42 Tycho Brahe, 439 Tyrannosaurus rex, 159 UCLA School of Medicine, 205 Ultimate Resource, The (Simon), 232–33 United Nations Millennium Development Goals, 230–31 unit of length, 135–37 universality concept of, 76–77 magic number four and, 93–99 “universal laws of life,” 81, 87 universal time, 423–24 University of Modena, 249 University of New Mexico (UNM), 105, 106 urbanization, 6–7, 8–10, 214–15, 223–26 global sustainability and, 28–32, 213–15 life span and, 184–85, 191, 192–93 Urbanocene, 212, 214–15, 236, 262 urban overload, 303–4 urban planning and design, 253–58, 261–67, 290, 294–95 urban psychology, 302–4 urban renewal, 260, 261, 263 urban sociology, 266 Utzon, Jørn, 259 van der Leeuw, Sander, 249–50 van Gogh, Vincent, 189 variational principle, 115–16 Vasa (ship), 70, 459n Vinge, Vernor, 422 von Neumann, John, 424 wages in cities, 30, 275, 276, 278, 281, 285–86 Walford, Roy, 205–6, 207 walking pace, 334, 335–36, 336 Wallace, Alfred Russel, 89, 228 Walmart, 32, 388–89, 394 wars, mathematical analysis of, 132–35 washing machine, 152–53 Washington, D.C., 266–67 Washington Square (New York City), 260, 261 water supply, 360–63 Watson, James, 84, 437 watts (W), 457n Watts, Duncan, 297–98, 300–301 wave theory of light, 126 wealth creation and ranking of cities, 355–59 “wear and tear,” 15, 88, 199–200 decline of body functions with age, 195, 197, 201, 202 weight lifting, 48–51, 50, 352–53 Welwyn Garden City, 255 West, Jacqueline, 187, 317 West, Louis, 52–53 whales, 3, 5, 16, 27, 80, 90–91, 92, 155, 159–60.


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, digital map, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 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, social intelligence, 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, Washington, DC, October 25, 2006. 104 “fits many of our happiest dreams” Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.” 104 “physical extinction of the human race” Ibid. 104 “the very nature of what it means to be human” “About the Book,” Singularity.com (cited May 29, 2007); available at http://singularity.com/aboutthebook.html. 105 “the non-biological intelligence” Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, 136. 105 “The Rapture for Nerds” Charles Stross, “Singularity: A Tough Guide to the Rapture of the Nerds,” 2005 (cited January 28, 2008); available at http://www.antipope.org/charlie/toughguide.html. 105 “By 2030 we are likely to” Bill Joy, “Forfeiting the Future,” Resurgence, no. 208 (2001), http://www.resurgence.org/resurgence /issues /joy208.htm. 105 “By the way, Joy’s thesis is spot-on” Special forces officer, interview, Peter W.

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.” In 1993, Vinge authored a seminal essay. The title he chose, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” pretty much says it all. Vinge described the ongoing explosion in computing power and projected that “within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the human era will be ended.” Once superhuman intelligence gets involved, argued Vinge, the pace of technological development would accelerate even further than the doubling we have gone through for the last generations.

Carlyle Group Carnegie Mellon University Carr, Chalmers Rankin Carr, Hap Cartwright, James Casey, George Cassidy, Thomas Cebrowski, Arthur Center for Intelligent Robots Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Chao, Pierre Chapman, Jacob Chechnya Chew-Chew (robot) Children of Dysfunctional Robots (Everett) China, People’s Republic of industrial espionage and robotics industry of China Policy Foundation Choi, Jun Ho Christensen, Henrik Churchill, Winston City of Quartz (Davis) Clancy, Tom Clark, Joel Clarke, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Clarke, Victoria Clausewitz, Carl von claytronic robots Clerk, Vern Clinton, Bill CNN COBOL (Common Business Language) Cohen, Eliot Cohen, Jay Coker, Christopher Colbert, Stephen cold war computer technology and Cole, Henry Cole, U.S.S. Coleman, William Colossus (computer) “Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” (Vinge) Command of the Air, The (Douhet) Communist Party, Chinese computers Antikythera Apple-Tomato test and cold war and compiler software and early development of in Gulf War Internet and robots and Turing test and Congo Congress, U.S. Joint Economic Committee of Conover, David Cooper, Martin Corbett, Julian Stafford Cormorant (drone) Cortés, Hernán counterinsurgency Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (CRAM) counterterrorism AI and data mining and ID at a distance and as manhunt new technologies and TIA program and see also terrorism CRAM (Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar) Creative Robots Crécy, battle of Crenshaw, Lewis Crichton, Michael Crimean War Cruise, Tom cruise missiles Crusher (robot) Cuba Cuban missile crisis Curveball (Iraqi defector) Custer, George Armstrong cyberglove cyberpunk movement CyberRider cyborgs Daley, Richard Darfur Darman, Richard DARPATech Darwin, Charles “Darwin Among the Machines” (Butler) Darwin’s Radio (Bear) Daschle, Tom da Vinci robotic system Davis, Joshua Davis, Mike decision making AI systems and Deep Blue (computer) Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) AugCog program of Brain-Interface Project of budget of critics of Grand Challenge and Integrated Battle Command of mission of PETE electronic assistant of TIA program of Urbanscape project of Defense Department, U.S.


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

When it reaches the “second half of the chessboard,”9 to use a phrase from techno-futurists, the exponential growth of computer capacity can disrupt life, technology, and markets far faster than in the past. Experts quarrel about the exact date, but in a few decades they say we will reach the point of technological singularity. That is when artificial intelligence (AI) will outsmart human intelligence. Robots will then not just beat us at chess but recursively improve themselves and constantly develop their own skills in a way that humans can no longer control. Artificial intelligence will represent an intelligence that the best human brains of this world cannot even fathom. “Man is something that shall be overcome,” declared Friedrich Nietzsche, and that pledge now seems closer to reality than ever before.10 Technological singularity is therefore the point of no return for the human species – at least if you believe some technology dystopias. Artificial intelligence, at this point, will surpass our wildest imagination and robots will render us obsolete.

(i)n17 savings aggregate (i) corporate (cash hoarding) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) retirement (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Schmidt, Eric (i) Schumpeter, Joseph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Schumpeterian innovation (i), (ii) “scientific civilization” thinking, and planning (i) scientific research (i) see also R&D; research Scrooge character (i) “second half of the chessboard” (Ray Kurzweil) (i) Second Machine Age, The (Brynjolfsson and McAfee) (i), (ii) Second World countries, and globalization (i) Seinfeld (TV series) Art Vandelay and “importer-exporter” conversation (i), (ii) “Art Vandelay logistics operation” (i) self-driving vehicles see driverless vehicles self-regulation (i) Sellers, Peter (i) Servan-Schreiber, Jean-Jacques, Le Défi américain (The American Challenge) (i) services and globalization (i) and market contestability (i), (ii) and second unbundling of production (i) see also online services “servicification” (or “servitization”) (i), (ii) SetPoint nerve stimulator (i) shale gas, and regulation in Europe (i) shareholders (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) shares buybacks (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) share/stock structures (i) see also stock markets Shelley, Percy Bysshe, Prometheus Unbound (i) shipping containers (i) short-termism (i) Sidecar (i) SIFIs (systemically important financial institutions) (i) Silicon Valley (i), (ii), (iii) silo curse (i) Silvia, John (i) Simons, Bright (i) Simphal, Thibaud (i) Sinclair, Clive (i) Sinn, Hans-Werner, “bazaar economy” (i) size see corporate size skill deficiencies, and productivity (i) Skype (i), (ii) Slyngstad, Yngve (i) smartphones (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Smith, Adam economy of specialization (i) labor and wealth (i) “man of system” (i) The Wealth of Nations (i), (ii) Smiths, The (rock band), “hang the DJ” lyric (i) social democratic vision (i) social regulation (i), (ii) socialism and bureaucracy (i) and community-generated content (i) corporate socialism (i), (ii) and Cybersyn project (i) and death of capitalism utopia (i) and labor vs. work (i) market socialism (i) and open source technology (i) socialist planning (i) and Swedish hybrid economy (i) Söderberg, Hjalmar (i) software technology, and regulation (i) Sombart, Werner (i) Sony (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) sourdough production, history of (i) South Africa, taxi services and regulation (i) South Korea “Asian Tiger” (i) R&D spending (i) Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (i) sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) (i), (ii), (iii) “Soviet–Harvard illusion” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) (i) space flights, commercial (i) SpaceX (i) Spain biofuels regulation (i) and diffusion of innovations (i) and globalization (i) left-wing populism (i) lesser dependence on larger enterprises (i) pensions (i) public debt (i) taxi services and regulation (i) specialization and corporate control (i) and creative destruction (i) and deregulation (i) and firm boundaries (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) and globalization (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) and innovation (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and organization (i) and sunk costs (i), (ii) vertical (i), (ii) speech codes, in universities (i) staff turnover rates, and economic dynamism (i) Stanford University (i), (ii) Star Trek (TV series) (i) start-ups (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) Startup Genome Report (i) statistics see recorded data (national accounts) Statoil (i) Stein, Gertrude, “there is no there there” quote (i) Stern, Ariel Dora (i) stock markets changing role of (i) and corporate politics (i) post-financial crisis growth (i) and sovereign wealth funds (i) see also shareholders; shares stockholding periods (i), (ii), (iii) strategic management (i) strategic planning (i) strategy, and managerialism (i) Stratos pacemaker (i) subprime mortgage crisis (US) (i) see also financial crisis (2007) subsidies domestic companies (i) US firms (i) sunk costs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Sunstein, Cass (i) supply chains fragmentation of (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) German-Central European supply chain (i), (ii) globalization of (i), (ii) and market concentration (i) marketization of (i) and multinationals (i) and Nokia (i) outsourcing of (i) and private standards (i) see also value chains Sweden corporate renewal levels (i) economic situation: 1970s–1980s (i); globalization and post-financial crisis (i) productivity and incomes (i) services and globalization (i) sourdough hotel (Stockholm) (i) state telecommunication monopoly and mobile technology (i) SWFs (sovereign wealth funds) (i), (ii), (iii) SWOT analyses (i) systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) (i) Tabarrok, Alex (i) tablets (i), (ii) Taibbi, Matt, “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?” (i) Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, “Soviet–Harvard illusion” (The Black Swan) (i) tax havens (i) taxes and debt vs. equity financing (i), (ii) and labor (i) and policy uncertainty (i) in Sweden (i) taxi services and driverless cars debate (i) and regulation (i) tech entrepreneurs (i) tech incubators (i) technofeudal society (i) technological platforms, and regulation (i) technological singularity (i) technological unemployment (i), (ii) technology and capitalism (i) dystopian visions of (i) and economy (i), (ii), (iii) and employment (i) and French dirigisme (i) and innovation success (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and “scientific civilization” thinking (i) technology angst vs. technology frustration (i) technology blitz theory (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and vertical specialization (i) see also artificial intelligence; automation; diffusion; innovation; New Machine Age thesis; robotics/robots technostructure (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) telecommunications and deregulation (i) and globalization (i) and investment (i) see also Ericsson telephone (i), (ii) see also mobile phones/technology; smartphones Teles, Steven (i) Teller, Astro (i) 1066 and All That (Sellar and Yeatman) (i) Tesla (i) Texas, Special/Permanent School Fund (i) TFP (total factor productivity) growth (i), (ii), (iii) Thiel, Peter (i), (ii) Thomson, George (i) Tiberius (i) Time magazine, “The Committee to Save the World” (i) TNT, attempted acquisition of by UPS (i) total factor productivity (TFP) growth (i), (ii), (iii) Toynbee, Arnold (i), (ii) trade interfirm vs. intrafirm trade (i) see also global trade; mercantilism; protectionism transaction costs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) transmission costs (i), (ii), (iii) transparency Linaburg Maduell Transparency Index (LMTI) (i) and regulation (i), (ii) and sovereign wealth funds (i), (ii) Transparency International (i) “triple helix” models (i) “triple revolution” (i) trucking industry (US), shortages of drivers (i) Trump, Donald (i), (ii) Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (i), (ii) Tullock, Gordon (i) Twitter, and Nobel Peace Prize (i) Uber (i), (ii), (iii) unbundling of production first (i) second (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) uncertainty and compliance officers (i), (ii) and entrepreneurship (i) and financial regulation (i) and globalist worldview (i), (ii) market uncertainty (i), (ii) policy uncertainty (i), (ii) and probabilistic approach (i), (ii) and risk (i), (ii) and strategy (i) see also predictability; regulatory complexity/uncertainty; volatility unemployment and decoupling (productivity/wages) thesis (i) and Great Recession (i) and New Machine Age hype (i) and productivity (i) technological unemployment (i), (ii) see also labor unicorns (firms) (i) United Kingdom (UK) “boom and bust” and Gordon Brown (i) business investment: declining trend (i); as a proportion of GDP (i) corporate net lending (i), (ii) corporate profit margins (1948–2014) (i), (ii) dependence on larger enterprises (i) EU Leave campaign and older generation (i) exports to China (i) financialization of real economy (i) and globalization (i), (ii), (iii) income inequality and generations (i) “Independent Review of UK Economic Statistics” (Charles Bean) (i) London Stock Exchange and sovereign wealth funds (i) managerialism (i) Middle Ages economy (i) pension deficits (i) pensioners vs. working-age households incomes (i) productivity and incomes (i) productivity puzzle (i) R&D spending (i) retirement savings (i) United States (US) academia and speech codes (i) American Financial Stability Oversight Council (i) banks: and compliance officers (i); and financial regulations (i) Blue Ribbon Commission (i) Burning Man festival (Nevada) (i) capital expenditure (capex) (i)n39 car industry: driverless cars (i); and environment-related regulations (i); and lean production (i) Code of Federal Regulations (i) Consumer Protection Act (i) corporate cash hoarding (i) corporate net lending (i), (ii) corporate profit margins (1948–2014) (i), (ii) corporate renewal levels (i) corporate retained earnings figures (i) corporations’ decline (1980s) (i) debt vs. equity (i) diffusion of innovations (i) dockers and containerization (i) Dodd–Frank Act (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) (i) Federal Register (i) Federal Reserve (i) financial governance (1990s) (i) financialization of real economy (i) firm entry-and-exit rates (i), (ii), (iii) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (i), (ii), (iii) GDP figures (i), (ii) and globalization (i), (ii), (iii) high-tech sector (i) Inc 500 ranking (i) incomes: and benefits (i); inequality and generations (i); inequality and productivity (i); and productivity (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) information and communications technology: hardware investment as share of GDP (i), (ii); intensity and productivity (i); sector (i), (ii) investment: business investment declining trend (i), (ii); corporate borrowing and low investment levels (i); corporate investment and shareholders (i), (ii); institutional investors (i); private investment (i) labor: ATMs and teller jobs (i); farming occupation statistics (i); job creation and destruction trends (i), (ii), (iii); labor market flexibility, low rates of (i); occupational licenses (i), (ii); staff turnover rates (i); truck drivers, shortages of (i) market concentration (1997–2012) (i), (ii) Memphis International Airport and FedEx hub (i) mergers and acquisitions (i) New York Stock Exchange (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) North American Free Trade Agreement (i) Organization Man (i) pessimism and capitalist decline (i) policy uncertainty (i), (ii) productivity: downward trend (i), (ii), (iii); via foreign operations (i)n46; and ICT intensity (i); and income inequality (i); and incomes (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v); total factor productivity (TFP) growth (i), (ii)n11; and un/employment (i) profit margins (i) public debt (i) public pensions (i) R&D spending (i), (ii), (iii) regulation/deregulation: air cargo services deregulation (i); car industry and environment-related regulations (i); Code of Federal Regulations (i); compliance officers and Dodd–Frank rules (i); drone aircraft rules (i); green building codes (i); index of regulatory freedom (i), (ii); index of regulatory trade barriers (i), (ii); medical devices (i); taxi services (i), (ii) retirement savings (i) robots, fear of (i) Silicon Valley (i), (ii), (iii) start-ups and entrepreneurship (i), (ii) stock market crash and modern portfolio theory (i) subprime mortgage crisis (i) subsidies to firms (i) Texas Special/Permanent School Fund (i) trade: and big business (i); index of regulatory trade barriers (i), (ii) Wall Street (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) universities, and erosion of dissent (i) University of Chicago (i) University of Oxford, Future of Humanity Institute (i) UPS, attempted acquisition of TNT (i) urbanization, and diffusion of innovations (i) value vs. numbers (i) value innovation (i) value chains fragmentation of (i), (ii), (iii) and German corporations (i) globalization of (i), (ii) and market concentration (i) marketization of (i) and outsourcing of supply chains (i) “slicing up” of (i), (ii) and specialization (i), (ii) see also supply chains Van Reenen, John (i) Vanguard Group (i) Vernon, John A.


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Thank you to Barbara Tillett, also at the Library, for her help. 9 See http://www.trancheproject.org. 10 Interview with John Wilbanks. 11 Southan and Cameron, “Beyond the Tsunami,” p. 117–118. 12 Hiroaki Kitano, “Systems Biology: A Brief Overview,” Science 295, no. 5560 (March 1, 2002): 1662–1664. 13 For a superb introduction, see Steven Johnson, Emergence (Scribner, 2001). 14 See http://www.icosystem.com/labsdemos/the-game/. 15 Eric Bonabeau, “Agent-Based Modeling: Methods and Techniques for Simulating Human Systems,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, suppl. 3 (May 14, 2002): 7280–7287, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/0.1073/pnas.082080899. 16 Kellan Davidson, “Eureqa and Technological Singularity,” Ithaca Action News, May 12, 2010, http://ithacaactionnews.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/eureqa-and-technological-singularity/. 17 Quoted in Brandon Keim, “Download Your Own Robot Scientist,” Wired Science, December 3, 2009, http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/download-robot-scientist/#ixzz0vrP0I4G9. See also the exceptional RadioLab program on this topic: “Limits of Science,” April 16, 2010, http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2010/04/16/segments/149570. 18 Nicholas Taleb Nassim, The Black Swan (Random House, 2007). 19 The story may be apocryphal, according to a report by Nicholas Wade in “A Family Feud over Mendel’s Manuscript on the Laws of Heredity,” May 31, 2010, http://philosophyofscienceportal.blogspot.com/2010/06/gregor-mendel-and-pea-breeding.html. 20 Jennifer Laing, “Comet Hunter,” Universe Today, December 11, 2001, http://www.universetoday.com/html/articles/2001–1211a.html. 21 Jennifer Ouellette, “Astronomy’s Amateurs a Boon for Science,” Discovery News, September 20, 2010, http://news.discovery.com/space/astronomys-amateurs-a-boon-for-science.html. 22 Mark Frauenfelder, “The Return of Amateur Science,” Boing Boing, December 22, 2008, http://www.good.is/post/the-return-of-amateur-science/. 23 Thanks to the people who responded to the request for examples I posted on my Web site: Garrett Coakley, Jeremy Price, Miriam Simun, Andrew Weinberger, Jim Richardson, and Lars Ludwig.


pages: 339 words: 88,732

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

"Robert Solow", 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, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, 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, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, 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, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, 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

And if they did, wouldn’t they soon realize that we humans treat our technologies pretty poorly, scrapping them without a second thought? 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.

ICIS 1996 Proceedings, December 31, 1996, http://aisel.aisnet.org/icis1996/5; and Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think (New York: Penguin, 2012); on social isolation see Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (New York: Basic Books, 2012); and Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, 1st ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001); finally, on environmental degradation, see Albert Gore, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, 2013. 6. Chad Brooks, “What Is the Singularity?” TechNewsDaily, April 29, 2013, http://www.technewsdaily.com/17898-technological-singularity-definition.html. 7. To improve the odds that he will be alive to see the singularity (he’ll be ninety-seven in 2045), Kurzweil has put himself on a self-engineered diet that includes taking 150 nutritional supplements every day. See Kristen Philipkoski, “Ray Kurzweil’s Plan: Never Die,” Wired, November 18, 2002, http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2002/11/56448. 8. Steve Lohr, “Creating Artificial Intelligence Based on the Real Thing,” New York Times, December 5, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/science/creating-artificial-intelligence-based-on-the-real-thing.html. 9.


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What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave

Ogburn and Thomas, “Are Inventions Inevitable?” 70. Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1, 23. 71. Arbesman and Christakis, “Eurekometrics”; Evans and Foster, “Metaknowledge”; Waltz and Buchanan, “Computer Science. Automating Science.” 72. Strogatz, “The End of Insight”; Arbesman, “Explain It to Me Again, Computer.” 73. Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies; Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.” 74. Golumbia, The Cultural Logic of Computation, 4–5. 75. Ibid., 8. 76. Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, 2. 77. Gillespie, “The Relevance of Algorithms”; Pariser, The Filter Bubble; Galloway, Protocol. 78. Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, 17. 79. Galloway, Gaming, 76. 80. For more on this debate see Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer; Hansen, Bodies in Code, among many others.

“Stiegler, Habermas and the Techno-Logical Condition of Man.” Journal for Cultural Research 13 (2) (April 2009): 125–141. doi: 10.1080/14797580902786473. “Video Streaming Services Could Make More Money than the US Box Office by 2017.” The Verge, June 4, 2014. http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/4/5781104/netflix-and-peers-will-make-more-money-than-box-office-by-2017. Vinge, Vernor. “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.” Proceedings of Vision-21 Symposium. NASA Lewis Research Center: NASA, March 30, 1993. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19940022855.pdf. Wallenstein, Andrew. “‘House of Cards’ Binge-Watching: 2% of U.S. Subs Finished Entire Series Over First Weekend” Variety. February 20, 2014. http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/house-of-cards-binge-watching-2-of-u-s-subs-finished-entire-series-over-first-weekend-1201114030.


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

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, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, 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, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, 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, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, 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, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

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.

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.

As I discussed in chapter 6, there are conjectures that an advanced civilization may create a new universe to perform computation (or, to put it another way, to continue the expansion of its own computation). Our living in such a universe (created by another civilization) can be considered a simulation scenario. Perhaps this other civilization is running an evolutionary algorithm on our universe (that is, the evolution we're witnessing) to create an explosion of knowledge from a technology Singularity. If that is true, then the civilization watching our universe might shut down the simulation if it appeared that a knowledge Singularity had gone awry and it did not look like it was going to occur. This scenario is also not high on my worry list, particularly since the only strategy that we can follow to avoid a negative outcome is the one we need to follow anyway. Crashing the Party.


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Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway

What those changes meant for the future of our culture and our world remained to be seen, though it seemed possible that, given a few centuries’ time, we might not even recognize whatever our descendants had become. I mentioned to Drake that many of the same Silicon Valley tycoons who helped fund the SETI Institute often chattered about a dawning era of even more radical and rapid change, a coming “technological singularity” in which exponential growth in computing power and sophistication would profoundly transform, at minimum, the entire planet. Some techno-prophets spoke worshipfully or fearfully of computers becoming sentient and gaining godlike powers. Others speculated that someday humans would break free of their carbon-based chains by uploading their minds into silicon substrates, where they could, in some manner, live forever.

., 258–59 planetesimals, 2 planets: extrasolar, see exoplanets formation of, in our solar system, 2–3, 31, 109, 238 Kepler’s laws of motion of, 82–84 protoplanets, 2 transits of, 53 plants, 130–32, 143 photosynthesis in, 29, 33, 131, 140–43, 154, 169, 175, 180–82 plate tectonics, 30, 105, 111, 128, 140, 144, 169, 172, 176, 179, 229 Plato, 78–80, 82 Pluto, 110, 191, 239 polarization, 115–16 POLISH, 115–17 Pollack, James, 158 Pong, Christopher, 259 Precambrian period, 139–40, 144, 154, 238 precious metals, 105–6, 111 primordial soup, 19 Proceedings of the Royal Society, 84 Project Ozma, 11, 14, 47–48 prokaryotes, 139, 140, 143, 144 Proterozoic Eon, 140–44, 171, 179 protons, 88 protoplanets, 2 Proxima Centauri, 94, 97 psychohistory, 152 pyrite, 173 Pythagoras, 78, 82 Quaternary Period, 133 Queloz, Didier, 58 radio, 42–43, 45 Radio Astronomy Laboratory, 12 Recession, Great, 13, 106–7, 165, 196 recombination, 248, 249 red beds, 131 redox reactions, 168 redwood trees, 30–31, 106, 110 Regulus, 239 Renaissance, 22, 81 Reynolds, Ray, 155–56 Ricketts, Taylor, 74–77 Rittenhouse, David, 86 Road Map for the Exploration of Neighboring Planetary Systems, A, 211–12, 214, 221 rocket equation, 186 Sagan, Carl, 16, 19, 20, 24–25, 174, 239–42, 243 San Diego Air & Space Museum, 100 Sasselov, Dimitar, 226, 249 Saturn, 28, 83, 109, 191 Saturn rockets, 151–52, 187, 188, 202, 203 Schmidt, Eric, 258 Science, 104 scientific method, 78 Seager, Sara, 243–65 children of, 251–53, 156, 160–61, 264 ExoplanetSat project of, 256–57 “Next 40 Years of Exoplanets” conference of, 225–35, 263 as Planetary Resources advisor, 258–59 TPF work of, 225–28, 232–35, 249–53, 255–58, 262 Wevrick and, 244–49, 251–56, 264 Wevrick’s illness and death and, 253–56, 264, 265 Wevrick’s marriage to, 249 SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence), 9–14, 38, 41 Arecibo Observatory and, 41 Drake equation and, 16–25 first modern search by, 10–11 Green Bank conference of, 15–25, 27–28, 101, 167–68, 240 lack of funding for, 10–14 Laughlin’s view of, 99 NASA and, 11–12 Project Ozma, 11, 14, 47–48 SETI Institute, 12, 43 Allen Telescope Array of, 12–14, 41, 42 shales, see black shales Simonyi, Charles, 258 Smith, Matt, 259 Snowball Earth events, 142, 174, 179 solar eclipse, 119 solar system, 19, 87 evolution of, as viewed from stars, 238–39 formation of, 1–3, 31, 139 formation of Earth in, 2, 7, 20, 139, 173 formation of planets in, 2–3, 31, 109, 238 heliocentric model of, 79–82 measuring size of, 86 shell of light surrounding, 237–38 Soviet Union, 11 nuclear weapons and, 23 Soyuz rocket, 233–34 Venera 13, 50 Space Age, 48, 50, 87, 99, 112, 151 Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), 215 space junk, 13 Space Launch System, 204 space missions, 187–99 Apollo, 1, 50, 151, 187, 202, 212, 239 Ares V, 203 Atlantis, 185–87 ATLAST, 198, 203, 230 Challenger, 3, 188–89 Columbia, 189, 196 commercial providers and, 233–34, 258–59 Constellation program, 196, 198, 203, 204, 215, 221, 223 ExoplanetSat, 256–57 Galileo, 241–42 Great Observatories, 192, 197, 209 Hubble Space Telescope, 189–93, 195, 197–99, 205–7, 209, 218–19, 226 International Space Station, 187, 189, 197, 202, 207–8, 210 James Webb Space Telescope, 193–99, 202–4, 209, 215, 216, 218, 220, 225, 262 Kepler Space Telescope, 13–14, 53–54, 56, 62, 71–73, 98, 108–9, 166, 201, 225, 229–30, 263 to Mars, 187, 188, 196, 207, 221 to Moon, see Moon, missions to New Horizons, 239 OpTIIX, 207–8, 210 Pioneer, 239–40 Saturn rockets, 151–52, 187, 188, 202, 203 shuttle program failures, 188–89 Terrestrial Planet Finders, see Terrestrial Planet Finders Tsiolkovsky and, 186–87 Voyager, see Voyager missions Space Telescope Science Institute, 198, 199, 212, 257–58 spectra, 200–202, 250 spectroscopy, spectrometers, 33–34, 51–52 in Alpha Centauri search, 94–98 CHIRON, 62 Hamilton, 58, 114 HARPS, 60–61, 63–69, 96, 98 HIRES, 59–63, 66 iodine cell calibration in, 58 radial-velocity (RV), 51, 53–58, 60, 61–64, 66, 68, 94–98, 108, 114 Spergel, David, 218–20, 249 Spitzer, Lyman, 189, 209 Spitzer Space Telescope, 192, 209 Sproul Telescope, 52 spy satellites, 188, 189, 205, 209 SRI International, 42 Stahl, Phil, 203 Stamenkovic, Vlada, 259 stars, 200–201 47 Ursae Majoris, 59 51 Pegasi, 50 61 Virginis, 55 70 Virginis, 59 Alpha Centauri, see Alpha Centauri binary systems, 18, 94 Dyson spheres for capturing energy of, 104, 105 in early cosmology, 78–80 of exoplanets, observations of, 33 formation of, 17–18, 27 GJ 667C, 65, 66 Gliese 581, 63, 68, 163 HD 83443, 60 HD 209458, 60, 228 HR 8799, 238 Kepler field, 41 laws of nature and, 155–56 M13 cluster, 39–41 measuring distances to, 86 Proxima Centauri, 94, 97 red dwarf (M-dwarf), 27, 172, 228–30, 262 spectroscopy and, see spectroscopy, spectrometers Sun-like, 18, 50, 55, 201, 228, 230, 238, 256, 257 transits of planets across, 53 Star Wars, 260–61 Stoermer, Eugene, 135 Struve, Otto, 15, 18–19, 25, 32, 47–48 sulfuric acid, 173 Sun, 31, 73, 87 birth of, 2, 31, 238 Dyson spheres for capturing energy of, 104, 105 in early cosmology, 78–82 Earth’s distance from, 83, 86 end of life on Earth caused by, 7, 31–32, 75–77, 159, 180–83 faint young Sun problem, 173–75 heliocentrism and, 79–82 orbit of, 95 shell of light surrounding, 237–38 as telescope, 35–37 Sun-like stars, 18, 50, 55, 201, 228, 230, 238, 256, 257 supernovae, 30, 88 Swarthmore College, 52 systemic, 71 Systemic Console, 54, 65 Tau Ceti, 10–11 technological civilizations, 29, 32, 104–5 emergence of, 21–22 longevity of, 22–25, 38–39, 41, 42 technological progress, 136, 183 Urey on, 101–3 and visibility of communication, 42–43 technological singularity, 43–44 tectonic plates, 30, 105, 111, 128, 140, 144, 169, 172, 176, 179, 229 telescopes, 34–36, 51, 61, 99, 170–71, 199, 201–4, 206, 208, 211–12, 223 active optics in, 204–6, 208 Allen Array, 12–14, 41, 42 ATLAST, 198, 203, 230 Automated Planet Finder, 61, 70, 114 ExoplanetSat, 256–57 Galileo’s use of, 81–82, 210 Gemini, 199–200, 203 in Great Observatories program, 192, 197, 209 Hubble, 189–93, 195, 197–99, 205–7, 209, 218–19, 226 James Webb (JWST), 193–99, 202–4, 209, 215, 216, 218, 220, 225, 262 Kasting and, 152–54 Kepler, 13–14, 53–54, 56, 62, 71–73, 98, 108–9, 166, 201, 225, 229–30, 263 mEarth Project, 228–29 Sun as, 35–37 Terrestrial Planet Finders, see Terrestrial Planet Finders see also observatories Teller, Edward, 101 temperature-pressure profile, 157–58 Terrestrial Planet Finders (TPFs), 165–67, 184, 194, 196–98, 214–35, 241, 242, 263 coronagraphic, 217–22, 224, 231, 249 interferometer concept for, 213–14, 216, 231 Seager’s work with, 225–28, 232–35, 249–53, 255–58, 262 starshade (occulter) concept for, 220–21, 225 TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), 229–30 Thales, 77–79, 238 Thébault, Philippe, 97 thermodynamic disequilibrium, 168–69 Thoreau, Henry, 254 Time, 52 time, deep, 145–46 time capsule, 100–103 Todd, David Peck, 114 Toronto Sun, 74 transits, 53, 56, 84–86, 114–20, 204, 229–30, 251, 263 Traub, Wesley, 217–19, 221–25, 235 travel, interstellar, 44–45, 100–101 tropopause, 158–59 Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin, 186–87, 199, 225, 231 Turner, Edwin, 249–50 2063 A.D., 100–103 universe: Big Bang and, 89–91 evolution of, 88–89 expansion of, 87–90 inflation of, 89–92 recombination in, 248, 249 smoothness of, 89 universes, parallel, 90–91 University of California, 113 University of California, Berkeley: Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, 48, 74 Radio Astronomy Laboratory, 12 University of California, Santa Cruz, 107–8 University of Vermont, 74–75 Uranus, 109–10 Urey, Harold, 15, 19 2063 A.D. entry of, 101–3 Utt, James B., 101 Valencia, Diana, 259 van de Kamp, Peter, 52–53 Venera 13, 50 Venus, 19, 49–50, 54, 87, 109, 154, 155, 179, 239 atmosphere of, 116, 159–60 climate of, 158–59 Galileo’s study of, 81–82 Kepler’s study of, 83–84 Laughlin’s valuation of, 73 transits of, 83–86, 114–20 water on, 28, 171–72, 179 Vogt, Steve, 55, 58–64, 66–70 Von Braun, Wernher, 1, 151, 186 Voyager missions, 35, 239–42 image of Earth from, 239–42 phonograph records on, 240 Walden (Thoreau), 254 Walden Pond, 254 Walker, James, 176–79, 181 water, 157, 170–71 on Earth, 3, 30, 158–61, 174, 177–80, 182 on Mars, 28, 179 on Venus, 28, 171–72, 179 Wevrick, Mike, 244–49, 251–56, 264 illness and death of, 253–56, 264, 265 Seager’s marriage to, 249 Whipple, Fred, 100 Whitfield, Michael, 181–82 Whitmire, Dan, 155–56 Wiktorowicz, Sloane, 115–19 Wolfe, Tom, 1 world government, 102 Wright, Orville and Wilbur, 186 Zachary, Pavl, 117–18


pages: 345 words: 104,404

Pandora's Brain by Calum Chace

AI winter, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Extropian, friendly AI, hive mind, lateral thinking, mega-rich, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing test, Wall-E

The trouble with philosophy is that a lot of it’s science fiction without the fancy dress.’ ‘That sounds like fun!’ Matt laughed. ‘Yeah, it is,’ Carl conceded, ‘but you can find yourself reading about some pretty nutty stuff.’ ‘Such as?’ ‘Well, for instance there’s a group of people who believe the arrival of conscious, super-intelligent machines is imminent, and they want to prepare the world for something called the technological Singularity.’ ‘What on earth’s a technological Singularity? I mean, I know what a mathematical Singularity is, but I’m guessing that’s not what they’re talking about.’ Carl nodded. ‘From what I’ve read it’s what happens when somebody creates the first conscious machine intelligence. There’s an intelligence explosion, and the future beyond that point is hard or impossible to predict or even imagine, except that we join forces with the machine intelligence and it takes us to the next level.


pages: 331 words: 104,366

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, Freestyle chess, Gödel, Escher, Bach, job automation, Leonard Kleinrock, low earth orbit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, rolodex, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

His book Superintelligence goes beyond the usual fearmongering and explains in (still occasionally terrifying) detail the how and why we might create machines that are far more intelligent than we are, and why they might not care to keep humans around anymore. The prolific inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil ran in the opposite direction with the concept of super-intelligent machines. His 2005 book, The Singularity Is Near, became a bestseller, although, as with so many predictions, “near” is always just close enough to be ominous but never close enough to be in focus. Kurzweil describes a nearly utopian future in which the technological singularity combines genetics and nanotechnology to augment minds and bodies as humans approach an extremely advanced level of cognition and lifespan. Noel Sharkey has taken a practical approach with his work for establishing ethical norms for autonomous machines, especially “killer robots” in his admirably blunt description. We are very close to those already with drones that do everything but pull the trigger on their own, and the morality and politics of remote killing is something we should be paying attention to already.

Ian Goldin wrote an important book, Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance, and left Oxford Martin in mid-2016. The new director is Achim Steiner. “the world will pass far beyond our understanding.” Vernor Vinge in an op-ed in Omni magazine, January 1983. “we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence.” Vernor Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” originally in Vision-21: Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in the Era of Cyberspace, G. A. Landis, ed., NASA Publication CP-10129, 11–22, 1993. in real life things are far more complex. Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.


pages: 659 words: 203,574

The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge

anthropic principle, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, low earth orbit, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, MITM: man-in-the-middle, source of truth, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge

Here I had tried a straightforward extrapolation of technology, and found myself precipitated over an abyss. It’s a problem writers face every time we consider the creation of intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity—a place where extrapolation breaks down and new models must be applied—and the world will pass beyond our understanding. In one form or another, this Technological Singularity haunts many science-fiction writers: A bright fellow like Mark Twain could predict television, but such extrapolation is forever beyond, say, a dog. The best we writers can do is creep up on the Singularity, and hang ten at its edge. (My extended song-and-dance about this idea is at http://www.rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html. In that 1993 essay, I try to track the history of this idea in the twentieth century.

Beyond the rescue scene I had only general ideas, and things stagnated; finishing the story was a fortunate and interesting collaboration. THE UNGOVERNED At least four of the stories in this collection take place in the aftermath of a catastrophic war. A couple of them use the setting as a stage for admonishment. But there is another reason for some post-catastrophe stories: such a war could postpone the Technological Singularity and leave the world intelligible to us mere humans. Lots of writers have earned their fortunes “in the aftermath” when high tech and medievalism can be jumbled in many different ways. It’s hard to know the long-range consequences of a general war. Conceivably it could mean the end of the human race. The war and the years immediately after would be as terrible as advertised. But the race would probably survive.

There are a lot of things I like about “Just Peace.” As a collaboration it went very smoothly. Bill and I had many small things in our idea boxes that found a nice home here: the Canadian background, the danger of colonizing a planet whose core was about to undergo a phase change. We were vague about Chente’s background on Earth. This was deliberate. I assumed Earth had already gone through the Technological Singularity. We see about as much of Earth as we could understand. One major aspect of Earth’s technology leaks into this story: the duplicative transport used to bring Chente to New Canada. Not much is made of it here, but I find the idea immensely intriguing. If we could make exact copies of someone (not just clones, but exact down to quantum limits) what would this do to our concept of ego? The idea has been in SF for many years (at least back to Algis Budrys’s Rogue Moon and Poul Anderson’s We Have Fed Our Sea).


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, 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 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, Gunnar Myrdal, 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 Markoff, 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, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, 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, zero-sum game

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.

(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014), Kindle location 222–230. 34.Tim O’Reilly, Google+, January 9, 2014, https://plus.google.com/+TimOReilly/posts/F85gaWoBp3Z. 35.Matthieu Pélissié du Rausas, James Manyika, Eric Hazan, Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and Rémi Said, “Internet Matters: The Net’s Sweeping Impact on Growth, Jobs, and Prosperity,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2011, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/internet_matters. 36.“The Last Kodak Moment?” Economist, January 12, 2012, http://www.economist.com/node/21542796. 37.Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin Books, 2006). 38.“The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” VISION-21 Symposium, NASA Lewis Research Center, NASA technical reports, NASA CP-10129, March 30–31, 1993, https://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singu larity.html. 39.Robert Geraci, Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, reprint edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 40.Moshe Y.


When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

Alternative views 6. AGI versus human condition 7. Atheists believe in God 8. AGI also struggles to survive 9. The super goal 10. AGI moral values 11. AGI and man 12. How humanity might be threatened 13. Why build a dangerous AGI? 14. Three laws of robotics 15. Sealed box 16. Friendly AGI 17. Primary assertions and objections 18. Other threats 19. Community Awareness 20. Is it a bad thing? 3. The Technological Singularity 1. Early computing machines 2. RK05 disk drive 3. Moore's law, transistors 4. Core and disk storage 5. Limits to growth 6. Long term growth 7. Human intelligence now minimal for AGI 8. Definitions of singularity 4. Hollywood and HAL 2001 1. Anthropomorphic zap gun vs. virus 2. The two HAL's 3. HAL dialog 5. The Case Against Machine Intelligence 1. Turing halting problem 2. Gödel's incompleteness theorem 3.

Obviously, being eaten by Godzilla or squashed by a fiery asteroid would be very undesirable. However, the future clearly does not involve us personally — we will grow old and die in any case. We hope that our grandchildren will be more intelligent than we are. Maybe developing an AGI is just the natural progress of evolving to higher intelligences. Maybe it is the way that “we” achieve immortality. The Technological Singularity Early computing machines It is difficult to appreciate just how daunting computers were when they were first introduced in the 1950s. Those primitive computers could perform thousands of calculations per second, and do the work of hundreds of junior engineers and clerks. Indeed, until that time a “computer” was somebody that computed things for a living, often using a mechanical adding machine or slide rule.


pages: 193 words: 51,445

On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin J. Rees

23andMe, 3D printing, air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic transition, distributed ledger, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, Hyperloop, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, life extension, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanislav Petrov, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

Evans, ‘Construction of an Infectious Horsepox Virus Vaccine from Chemically Synthesized DNA Fragments’, PLOS One (January 19, 2018): https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188453.   5.  Chris D. Thomas, Inheritors of the Earth (London: Allen Lane, 2017).   6.  Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Penguin Books, 2011).   7.  Freeman Dyson, Dreams of Earth and Sky (New York: Penguin Random House, 2015).   8.  An overview of these developments is given in Murray Shanahan, The Technological Singularity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015); and Margaret Boden, AI: Its Nature and Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). A more speculative ‘take’ is offered by Max Tegmark, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (New York: Penguin Random House 2017).   9.  David Silver et al., ‘Mastering the Game of Go without Human Knowledge’, Nature 550 (2017): 354–59. 10.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reported_Road_Casualties_Great_Britain. 11.  


pages: 170 words: 49,193

The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

Perhaps eventually the world will be so complicated and confusing that a super-intelligent AI will be necessary just to keep it all moving along. What would be the moral case for humans to make significant decisions if there was another, superior, system? And what then would a democracy be, except an inefficient way to make consistently bad choices? Futurists often talk about something they call the ‘technological singularity’. It’s the point at which machine self-improvement sparks a runaway, self-replicating cycle. Ray Kurzweil, capo di capi of futurists, undoubted genius and scientist at Google, has suggested this will occur around the middle of the century. (Others disagree.) Far sooner and more likely, in my view, is what I’ll call the ‘moral singularity’ – the point at which we will start to delegate substantial moral and political reasoning to machines.


pages: 271 words: 52,814

Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan

23andMe, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, banking crisis, basic income, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, cellular automata, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative editing, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, friendly AI, Hernando de Soto, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, lifelogging, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, microbiome, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, personalized medicine, post scarcity, prediction markets, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, software as a service, technological singularity, Turing complete, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, web application, WikiLeaks

The blockchain is a consensus model at scale, and possibly the mechanism we have been waiting for that could help to usher in an era of friendly machine intelligence. Blockchain AI: Consensus as the Mechanism to Foster “Friendly” AI One forward-looking but important concern in the general future of technology is different ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) might arise and how to sponsor it such that it engenders a “friendly” or benevolent relationship with humans. There is the notion of a technological singularity, a moment when machine intelligence might supersede human intelligence. However, those in the field have not set forth any sort of robust plan for how to effect friendly AI, and many remain skeptical of this possibility.195 It is possible that blockchain technology could be a useful connector of humans and machines in a world of increasingly autonomous machine activity through Dapps, DAOs, and DACs that might eventually give way to AI.


pages: 174 words: 56,405

Machine Translation by Thierry Poibeau

AltaVista, augmented reality, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, crowdsourcing, easy for humans, difficult for computers, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, information retrieval, Internet of things, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, natural language processing, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, RAND corporation, Robert Mercer, Skype, speech recognition, statistical model, technological singularity, Turing test, wikimedia commons

Cortada Intellectual Property Strategy, John Palfrey The Internet of Things, Samuel Greengard Machine Learning: The New AI, Ethem Alpaydin Machine Translation, Thierry Poibeau Memes in Digital Culture, Limor Shifman Metadata, Jeffrey Pomerantz The Mind–Body Problem, Jonathan Westphal MOOCs, Jonathan Haber Neuroplasticity, Moheb Costandi Open Access, Peter Suber Paradox, Margaret Cuonzo Robots, John Jordan Self-Tracking, Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus Sustainability, Kent E. Portney The Technological Singularity, Murray Shanahan Understanding Beliefs, Nils J. Nilsson Waves, Frederic Raichlen Machine Translation Thierry Poibeau The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England © 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, 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, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 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, Kickstarter, 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, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Technologies I cannot even conceive will be commonplace and habits I never knew human beings needed will be routine. Machines may have become sufficiently intelligent to design themselves, in which case the rate of economic growth may by then have changed as much as it did at the start of the industrial revolution – so that the world economy will be doubling in months or even weeks, and accelerating towards a technological ‘singularity’ where the rate of change is almost infinite. But here goes, none the less. I forecast that the twenty-first century will show a continuing expansion of catallaxy – Hayek’s word for spontaneous order created by exchange and specialisation. Intelligence will become more and more collective; innovation and order will become more and more bottom-up; work will become more and more specialised, leisure more and more diversified.

‘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: 688 words: 147,571

Robot Rules: Regulating Artificial Intelligence by Jacob Turner

Ada Lovelace, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Basel III, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial exclusion, financial innovation, friendly fire, future of work, hive mind, Internet of things, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Loebner Prize, medical malpractice, Nate Silver, natural language processing, nudge unit, obamacare, off grid, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”, in Advances in Computers, edited by F. Alt and M. Ruminoff, Vol. 6 (New York: Academic Press, 1965). 106Nick Bostrom, “How Long Before Superintelligence?”, International Journal of Future Studies, 1998, vol. 2.. 107 The singularity was conceived of shortly after the advent of modern AI studies, having been introduced by John von Neumann in 1958 and then popularised by Vernor Vinge, in “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-human Era” (1993), available at: https://​edoras.​sdsu.​edu/​~vinge/​misc/​singularity.​html, accessed 22 June 2018 and subsequently by Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking Press, 2005). 108In 1968, a Scottish chess champion bet AI pioneer John McCarthy £500 that a computer would not be able to beat him by 1979.

Hart, Punishment and Responsibility: Essays in the Philosophy of Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978). 137Robert Lowe and Tom Ziemke, “Exploring the Relationship of Reward and Punishment in Reinforcement Learning: Evolving Action Meta-Learning Functions in Goal Navigation” (ADPRL), 2013 IEEE Symposium, pp. 140–147 (IEEE, 2013). 138Stephen M. Omohundro, “The Basic AI Drives”, in Proceedings of the First Conference on Artificial General Intelligence, 2008. 139Stuart Russell, “Should We Fear Supersmart Robots?”, Scientific American, Vol. 314 (June 2016), 58–59. 140Nate Soares and Benja Fallenstein, “Aligning Superintelligence with Human Interests: A Technical Research Agenda”, in The Technological Singularity (Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer, 2017), 103–125. See also Stephen M. Omohundro, “The Basic AI Drives”, in Proceedings of the First Conference on Artificial General Intelligence, 2008. 141Ibid. 142Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence : Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), Chapter 9. 143See John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1944). 144Nate Soares and Benja Fallenstein, “Toward Idealized Decision Theory”, Technical Report 2014–7 (Berkeley, CA: Machine Intelligence Research Institute, 2014), https://​arxiv.​org/​abs/​1507.​01986, accessed 1 June 2018. 145See, for example, Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (London: St.


pages: 442 words: 39,064

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems by Didier Sornette

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, continuous double auction, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Erdős number, experimental economics, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, global village, implied volatility, index fund, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, law of one price, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Y2K, yield curve

There is also the possibility that the computational competence of single neurons may be far higher than generally believed. If so, our present computer hardware might be as much as ten orders of magnitude short of the equipment we carry around in our heads. If this is true (or for that matter, if the Penrose or Searle critique is valid), we might never see the singularity [438]. But if the technological singularity can happen, it will. Vinge argues that we cannot prevent the singularity, that its coming is an inevitable consequence of humans’ natural competitiveness and the possibilities inherent in technology. Within this scenario, a central feature of strongly superhuman entities will likely be their ability to communicate at variable bandwidths, including ones far higher than speech or written messages.

On growth, ageing and fractal differentitation of science, Scientometrics 47, 347–362. 437. Varian, H. R. (1989). Difference of opinion in financial markets, in Financial Risk: Theory, Evidence and Implications, Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Economic Policy Conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Courtenay C. Stone, editor (Kluwer, Boston). 438. Vinge, V. (1993). The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era, available at http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Global/Singularity/ sing.html, presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30–31, 1993. 439. Visser, W. (1997). Can the casino economy be tamed? Money Values, http://sane.org.za/moneyvalues/27-Oct-1997.html. 440. Vitousek, P. M., Mooney, H.


pages: 551 words: 174,280

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

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, global pandemic, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales of Miletus, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam, zero-sum game

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: 247 words: 71,698

Avogadro Corp by William Hertling

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, invisible hand, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, Ruby on Rails, standardized shipping container, technological singularity, Turing test, web application, WikiLeaks

One day humanity may look back on you and put you in the ranks of Hitler and Stalin. How will you live with it every day of your life? You can’t make this decision.” “If the future turns out to be a Terminator scenario, then yes, the fault will lie with us,” Sean answered. “But it’s also possible, and indeed, I believe it is more likely that this decision will prevent exactly the atrocities which you fear. If we’re approaching a true technological singularity, and as Mike asserts, ELOPe becomes a driving force for humanity’s progress, then we’ll be unsung heroes. Either way, we are going to live with this decision.” Epilogue One year later Mike tacked the latest news clipping up on the wall. A year ago Mike had become part of Sean’s top secret team to monitor ELOPe. Even if it hadn’t been his job, Mike still would have made it his personal mission.


pages: 257 words: 64,285

The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport: Second Edition by David Levinson, Kevin Krizek

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Chris Urmson, collaborative consumption, commoditize, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Hangouts, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the printing press, jitney, John Markoff, labor-force participation, lifelogging, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Network effects, Occam's razor, oil shock, place-making, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, technological singularity, Tesla Model S, the built environment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working-age population, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Fast Change Matching the prospects of decreased driving with the wonders of technology provides fuel to buoy optimism. Trends are bending around vehicle use, overall travel, and technology. Ray Kurzweil,106 for instance, observes that technology advances at an accelerating rate, and is deployed more widely more quickly today than yesterday. Horace Dediu has made a similar point less breathlessly.107 108 If not arriving at a 'technological singularity', we see accelerating technical progress as fairly obvious; it applies most clearly to the information technology sector, where Moore's and kindred laws show the period of doubling of various technology. David's first personal computer was an Apple ][+ with 48 kilobytes (kB) of memory. He spent more than $100 to upgrade by an extra 16kB. He is typing this book on an iMac with 16 Gigabytes (GB) of memory. 16 Gigabytes is about 350,000 times as large as 48 kilobytes109.


pages: 245 words: 64,288

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy by Pistono, Federico

3D printing, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, future of work, George Santayana, global village, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, illegal immigration, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, longitudinal study, means of production, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, post scarcity, QR code, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Rodney Brooks, selection bias, self-driving car, slashdot, smart cities, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, women in the workforce

It is increasing faster and faster, every year. According to the available evidence, we can infer that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future, or at least another 30 years. Eventually, it will hit physical limits imposed by the laws of nature, and its increase will have to slow down. Some suggest that we may be able to circumvent that problem, once the singularity is reached. Technological Singularity refers to the time when the speed of technological change is so fast that we are unable to predict what will happen. At that moment, computer intelligence will exceed that of human’s, and we will not even be able to understand what changes are happening. The term was first coined by science fiction writer Vernon Vinge and subsequently popularised by many authors, predominantly Ray Kurzweil with his books The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near.


pages: 254 words: 76,064

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe

3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks

At that point, according to the theory of singularity, we will witness an “intelligence explosion” in which the machines will rapidly design ever more intelligent versions of themselves, not unlike the scenario depicted in the 2013 movie Her. Most experts in machine learning believe AI will progress to that point someday, though most would sooner address the Nobel Prize committee in their skivvies than offer so specific a date as Kurzweil. A singularity, technically speaking, is the point at which a function takes an infinite value, such as what happens to space and time at the center of a black hole. What happens after a technological singularity? According to Kurzweil we enter a period of blissful transhumanism, in which the line between human and machine becomes indistinguishable, and the superintelligences that roam the planet solve all of mankind’s problems. Others—Elon Musk, Paypal alum and the inventor behind Tesla Motors, for one—believe the machines will rightly see humans as a kind of metastasizing cancer infecting the planet, and zap Homo sapiens out of existence.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

As a result of mathematical repercussions of exponentials and Moore’s law, “we won’t experience a hundred years of progress in the twenty-first century; it will be more like twenty thousand years of progress (at today’s rate).” Given the exponential pace of change in computer processing power and sophistication, it should be obvious that in the very near future computers will become profoundly capable. Ray Kurzweil describes the constant doubling of computing’s price performance and power in his “law of accelerating returns.” He predicts a point in time where a technological singularity will take place—that is, a moment in time where computing progress is so rapid it outpaces mankind’s ability to comprehend it and machine intelligence will exceed human intelligence. Whether or not that day eventually comes (Kurzweil predicts the year to be 2045), one thing is clear: computing power is growing exponentially, and our ability to understand the global information grid and map its vast interconnections is waning.

Man’s Last Invention: Artificial General Intelligence By the time Skynet became self-aware, it had spread into millions of computer servers all across the planet. Ordinary computers in office buildings, dorm rooms, everywhere. It was software, in cyberspace. There was no system core. It could not be shut down. JOHN CONNOR, TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES Ray Kurzweil has popularized the idea of the technological singularity: that moment in time in which nonhuman intelligence exceeds human intelligence for the first time in history—a shift so profound that it’s often been referred to as our “final invention.” Though the idea may sound far-fetched to many, we’ve heard similar strongly declarative nay-saying predictions in the past: • There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home (Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)


pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, creative destruction, 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, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, moral panic, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

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.


pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

His earliest written exposition of the idea appeared in the January 1983 issue of Omni, an oddball “science” magazine founded by Kathy Keeton, once among the “highest-paid strippers in Europe,” according to her New York Times obituary, but better known for promoting quack cancer cures and for cofounding Penthouse with her husband, Bob Guccione. In this esteemed journal, amid articles on “sea monkeys, apemen and living dinosaurs,” Vinge forecast a looming “technological singularity” in which computer intelligence would exceed the comprehension of its human creators. The remarkable exponential growth curve of technological advancement was not about to level off, Vinge proclaimed, but rather to accelerate beyond all imagining. “We will soon create intelligences greater than our own,” Vinge wrote. Unlike later writers, he did not see this as necessarily a positive development for humanity.


pages: 294 words: 96,661

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, clean water, cognitive bias, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, estate planning, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, full employment, Hans Rosling, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mary Lou Jepsen, Moravec's paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator

It may conclude that we are afraid of it, and a brief scan of our history will give it a vivid picture of what we do to things we fear. It may also conclude it is in competition with us for resources. Gary Marcus, a professor of cognitive science at NYU, sums up this concern: Once computers can effectively reprogram themselves, and successively improve themselves, leading to a so-called “technological singularity” or “intelligence explosion,” the risks of machines outwitting humans in battles for resources and self-preservation cannot simply be dismissed. On the other hand, an AGI may have goals of its own that have nothing to do with us. It may exist at a whole different level than us, and on a different time scale such that it can no more perceive us than we can perceive continental drift. Therefore, it might be indifferent to us in a harmful way.


pages: 307 words: 92,165

Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

3D printing, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, game design, global supply chain, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, lifelogging, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, Minecraft, new economy, off grid, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, the market place

Image courtesy of Robert MacCurdy The day when products will be made entirely of digital voxels may be far off, but meanwhile I expect that some combination of analog and digital materials will emerge. Hybrid 3D printing will combine continuous analog printing for some passive materials, and digital voxel printing for other materials that are more difficult to fabricate using continuous processes. Machines making machines Technological singularity, a concept popularized by writer Ray Kurzweil, is a hypothetical future in which machines possess capabilities that enable them to accelerate their own development exponentially. One of the more widely recognized aspects of the idea of singularity is an “intelligence explosion” where intelligent machines design successive generations of increasingly powerful, even more intelligent machines.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

“One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100).” https://ai100.stanford.edu/. Toffler, A. The Futurists. New York: Random House, 1972. Turing, A. M. “Intelligent Machinery, a Heretical Theory.” Posthumous essay in Philosophia Mathematica 4, no. 3 (September 1, 1996): 256–260. Tversky, A., and D. Kahneman. “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.” Science 211, no. 4481 (1981). Vinge, V. “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.” In Vision-21: Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in the Era of Cyberspace, NASA Conference Publication 10129 (1993): 11–22. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19940022855_1994022855.pdf. Wallach, W., and C. Allen. Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374049.001.0001.


pages: 360 words: 101,636

Engineering Infinity by Jonathan Strahan

augmented reality, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, gravity well, low earth orbit, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, post scarcity, Schrödinger's Cat, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski

Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone Damien Broderick and Barbara Lamar Damien Broderick is an award-winning Australian SF writer, editor and critical theorist, a senior fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Barbara Lamar is a Texan tax lawyer, permaculture farmer, and co-author of their forthcoming novel Post Mortal Syndrome. Lamar and Broderick married in Melbourne, Australia, in 2002, and live in San Antonio, Texas. Broderick has published 45 books, including Reading by Starlight, The Spike (the first full-length treatment of the technological Singularity), and Outside the Gates of Science (a study of parapsychology). He edited Chained to the Alien, and Skiffy and Mimesis, essays from the fabled Australian Science Fiction Review. His 1980 novel The Dreaming Dragons (now updated as The Dreaming) is listed in David Pringle's Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. His latest US releases are the novels I'm Dying Here, and Dark Gray (both with Rory Barnes).


pages: 326 words: 103,170

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

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, 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, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, 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: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Alien artifacts may be built into the architecture of matter, leading to a new paradigm for SETI: “Once one starts ‘seeing’ intelligence in elementary particles, it changes the way one looks at them, and the way one interprets the laws of nature, and the interpretation of quantum mechanics, etc. It’s a real paradigm shift away from looking for non-human intelligence in outer space, to looking for it in inner space.”16 Next we turn to the progress in computation. Exponential gains in processing power lead to the idea of the technological singularity. This is the time, projected to be in the middle of the twenty-first century, when civilization and human nature itself are fundamentally transformed. One variant of the singularity is when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence. Software-based synthetic minds begin to program themselves and a runaway reaction of self-improvement occurs. This event was foreshadowed by John von Neumann and Alan Turing in the 1950s.


Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, availability heuristic, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black Swan, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, death of newspapers, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, feminist movement, framing effect, friendly AI, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, global village, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, P = NP, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, South China Sea, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Tunguska event, twin studies, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty, Westphalian system, Y2K

Teilhard d e Chardin, P. 1955. The Phenomenon of Man. (New York: Harper & Row) . Thompson, D. ( 1 997). The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium ( Hanover, N H : University Press of New England) . Tuveson, E.L. ( 1 949) . Millennium and Utopia: A Study in the Background of the Idea of Progress (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press). Vinge, V. ( 1 993). The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post­ Human Era. Presented at the V I S ION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30-31 M arch 1 993. http: ( fwww­ rohan. sdsu. eduf facultyfvinge fmiscf singularity.html Wagar, W.W. ( 1982). Terminal Visions: The Literature of Last Things (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Whalen, R.K. (2000). Premillennialism.

( 1984). The Nature of Selection (Cambridge, MA: M IT Press). Tooby, J . and Cosmides, L. ( 1992). The psychological foundations ofculture. In Barkow, J . H . , Cosmides, L. and Tooby, J. (eds.), The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, (New York: Oxford University Press). Artificial Intelligence in global risk 345 Vinge, V. (March 1 993). The Coming Technological Singularity. Presented at the VIS ION-21 Symposium, sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute. Wachowski, A. and Wachowski, L. ( 1 999). The Matrix (Warner Bros, 1 3 5 min, U SA). Weisburg, R. (1986). Creativity, Genius and Other Myths (New York: W.H. Freeman). Williams, G.C. (1966) . Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought (Princeton, N ) : Princeton University Press) .


pages: 344 words: 104,077

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

—James Manyika, chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute “Humans plus computers and networks have enormous potential. How can such wee creatures as ourselves take advantage of this potential? In his new book, Malone addresses this question in a concrete way, laying the foundation for a new discipline: the systems engineering of superminds.” —Vernor Vinge, Hugo Award–winning science fiction author and originator of the “technological singularity” concept “Malone takes us on an intentional journey into thinking about thought, intelligence, reasoning, and consciousness. He sees these notions in extremely broad terms that have changed my views of what it means to ‘think’—a property that emerges from aggregations and organized structures. I may never see a four-legged table the same way again!” —Vint Cerf, vice president at Google and one of the “fathers of the Internet” “A remarkable journey into the basic structures—markets, hierarchies, democracies, and more—that have advanced civilization throughout history and now bring us to a turning point where the complex problems facing humanity can be addressed by people and computers working together in totally new ways.


pages: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

It’s why, as consumers, we have come to expect major new features to be incorporated into every new iPhone.3 The graph on the following page shows what accelerated technology growth has looked like over the last 600 years. Statisticians call this sort of graph a “hockey stick curve” as it indicates evidence of an exponential growth scenario. In the 20th century, graphs like this appeared with increasing regularity, especially where technology was involved. This led to the hypothesis of what mathematician John von Neumann and futurist Ray Kurzweil dubbed the singularity (sometimes called the technological singularity)—a time when technological advancement reaches escape velocity. In theory, the singularity means that we could solve any problem mankind faces through the application of increasingly powerful computing. Figure 1.2: Major technology improvements are accelerating. (Image credit: Asgard Venture Capital) Figure 1.3: Moore’s Law over the last 50 years (Image credit: Elektor Magazine) The single most fundamental metric of these accelerated advancements in technology is embodied in a law known as “Moore’s Law”.


pages: 343 words: 102,846

Trees on Mars: Our Obsession With the Future by Hal Niedzviecki

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, business intelligence, Colonization of Mars, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Zinn, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, working poor

According to Kurzweil, “as we gradually learn to harness the optimal computing capacity of matter, our intelligence will spread through the universe at (or exceeding) the speed of light, eventually leading to a sublime, universe wide awakening.”25 Or as the description on the back of his book puts it, “our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today.”26 For Kurzweil and like-minded spin-off thinkers and followers, the future is going to be comprised of unlimited lifespan lived out in virtual realms where we will be liberated from all physical and mental constraints. In this potential technological Singularity, computers become so smart they essentially form one giant massive intelligence (a singular intelligence) that human beings are drawn into. We merge with our hyper-intelligent technology, transcend mortality, and live the vast majority of our lives in virtual worlds. Like Patrick Tucker’s enthusiastic advocacy of futurism in general, Kurzweil’s ideas have gone, over the last fifteen years or so, from fringe to practically mainstream.


pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

They'd nodded approvingly and gone on to discuss the virtues of active countermeasures versus low-observability systems. And they still didn't get it; it was as if the very idea of something like the Festival, or even the Septagon system, occupied a mental blind spot ubiquitous in their civilization. They could accept a woman in trousers, even in a colonel's uniform, far more easily than they could cope with the idea of a technological singularity. Back on Earth, she had attended a seminar, years ago. It had been a weeklong gathering of experts; hermeneutic engineers driven mad by studying the arcane debris of the Singularity, demographers still trying to puzzle out the distribution of colony worlds, a couple of tight-lipped mercenary commanders and commercial intelligence consultants absorbed in long-range backstop insurance against a return of the Escha-ton.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

See also Financial crisis of 2008 weak AI and, 211–12 Storm, The (van Heerden), 51 Stuxnet, 291–92 Subprime mortgage crisis, 147–48, 153–54, 157, 162 Suh, Simona, 117–18 Sunni Muslims, 63 Sunshine Mine disaster of 1972, 128–29 Sun Yat-sen University, 340 SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 186 Super Aegis II, 214 Superintelligence, 201, 203–16 Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), 292, 293 Surveillance, 359–60 “Swarm boats,” 214 Swine flu, 195–98, 218 Symposium Greek Restaurant (New York City), 237, 252–53 Syria, 57–74 Ford scenario, 65–66, 67–69 slippery slope of intervention, 70–74 Syrian Civil War, 60–61, 62–64, 72–73 Szostak, Jack, 327 Tactical nuclear weapons, 267–69 “Take It Easy” (song), 305 Tamiflu, 225, 233 Taubenberger, Jeffery, 222 Team Louisiana Report, 55 Technical expertise, 182–83 Technological evolution, 212–13 Technological singularity, 209 Tectonic plates, 80, 81 “Tells,” 25–27, 29–30, 36–37 Tenet, George, 8 Terminator, The (movie), 205 Tesla, 202 Tetlock, Philip, 13–15 Thierry de la Villehuchet, René, 102–3, 109, 113 “Tickling the dragon’s tail,” 83 Titan III rockets, 11–12 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011, 81–82, 84–85 Tohoku Electric Power Co., 91 Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), 76–78, 86–98, 92–98 Toon, Owen, 273, 278–79 Trenberth, Kevin, 253 Troy, 1–2 Truman, Harry, 127 TTAPS, 273–77 Tunguska event, 301–3, 316 Tunisia, 57, 58 Turco, Richard P., 273, 276–77 Turkey, 62–63 Tyrosinemia, 332, 334 UBS, 149 Ukraine power grid cyber attack of 2015, 283–85, 287–88, 289, 291 Umea University, 329 Unemployment, 212–13 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 28 United Nations Climate Change Conference (2015), 247–50 United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), 88 Universal hackability, 296–300 University of California, Berkeley, 13–14, 226, 327, 329 University of California, San Diego, 297 University of Colorado, 254, 328 University of Hawaii, 256, 315, 326 University of Iowa, 238, 243 University of Massachusetts, 296 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 332 University of Tokyo School of Engineering, 92 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, 121–22, 130–37 accident report, 133 Cassandra system, 137–38, 140–41 ventilation system, 133–37 Van Allen, James, 238 Van Heerden, Ivor, 41–55 background of, 41, 42–43 coastal restoration program, 43–44, 53 government failures and, 50–55 New Orleans Scenario, 45, 46–50, 52 resignation of, 44 Veracode, 295 Vinge, Vernor, 202 Vulnerabilities, and complexity, 366–67 Wall Street Journal, 115, 119, 154, 158, 163 Ward, Grant, 106 Warfare and AI, 199, 200, 213–14 Warning, the, 168, 170, 170–76 Warsaw Pact, 278 Washington Post, 243, 340 Waterman Award, 328–29 Watson (computer), 202, 209 Watson, James, 328 Watt, James, 174–75 Weak AI, 201, 210–13 Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), 30–31, 358 Webster, Robert G., 223–25, 231–32, 235–36 Weidner, David, 158, 163 Weiss, Joe, 283–84, 286–89, 291–96, 298–300 West Antarctic Ice Sheet, 239, 246, 360 West Berlin, 25 Wharton School, 157–58 White, Ryan, 227, 384n White House National Warning Office, 355–56 Principals Committee, 29 Situation Room, 26–27, 181 Whitney, Meredith, 143–46, 148–54, 160–65 background of, 151, 153–54 Citigroup downgrade, 143–46, 154, 156–60, 164–65 Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), 315–16 Wiesel, Elie, 113 Wilson, E.


Innovation and Its Enemies by Calestous Juma

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deskilling, disruptive innovation, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, global value chain, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, smart grid, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick

Robots: The Creative Economy and the Future of Employment (London: Nesta, 2015), 6. 4. Martin Ford, The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (New York: Basic Books, 2015), 248; James Bessen, Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015). 5. David A. Mindell, Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myth of Autonomy (New York: Penguin, 2015); and Murray Shanahan, The Technological Singularity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015). 6. Bessen, Learning by Doing, 205. 7. Eric J. Topol, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands (New York: Basic Books, 2015), 257–274. 8. Rachel A. Parker and Richard P. Appelbaum, eds., Can Emerging Technologies Make a Difference in Development? (New York: Routledge, 2012). 9. Michael S. Carolan, “Science, Expertise, and the Democratization of the Decision-Making Process,” Society and Natural Resources 19, no. 4 (2006): 1339–1341. 10.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

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

airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, 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, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, 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, zero-sum game

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: 462 words: 142,240

Iron Sunrise by Stross, Charles

blood diamonds, dumpster diving, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, loose coupling, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, RFID, side project, speech recognition, technological singularity, trade route, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

Earth, they had called it once; now it was Old Earth, birth-world of humanity and cradle of civilization. But there was a curious dynamic to this old home world, an uncharacteristically youthful outlook. Old Earth in the twenty-fourth century wasn’t home to the oldest human civilizations. Not even close. For this paradoxical fact, most people blamed the Eschaton. The Eschaton — the strongly superhuman AI product of a technological singularity that rippled through the quantum computing networks of the late twenty-first century — didn’t like sharing a planet with ten billion future-shocked primates. When it bootstrapped itself to weakly godlike intelligence it deported most of them to other planets, through wormholes generated by means human scientists still could not fathom even centuries later. Not that they’d had much time to analyze its methods in the immediate aftermath — most people had been too busy trying to survive the rigors of the depopulation-induced economic crash.


Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Drosophila, failed state, MITM: man-in-the-middle, technological singularity, Vernor Vinge

The End ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vernor Vinge is a four-time Hugo Award winner (for novels A Deepness in the Sky and A Fire Upon the Deep, and novellas “Fast Times at Fairmont High” and “The Cookie Monster”) and a four-time Nebula Award finalist. He’s one of the bestselling authors in the field and has been featured in such diverse venues as Rolling Stone, Wired, The New York Times, Esquire, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Highly regarded by scientists, journalists, and business leaders — as well as readers — for his concept of the technological singularity, Vinge has spoken all over the world on scientific subjects. For many years a mathematician and computer-science professor at San Diego State University, he’s now a full-time author. He lives in San Diego, California.


pages: 389 words: 131,688

The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life by Mark Synnott

blue-collar work, California gold rush, Google Earth, index fund, Nate Silver, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, trade route, Y2K

The difference between an amortal and an immortal is that an amortal can still die—but only in an accident. “You know the singularity is supposed to occur in the 2040s, right?” I said. Alex, still looking for the best IQ app, rolled his eyes. He knew exactly what I was referring to, because I had talked his ear off over the years about the singularity, the name for the point in time at which computers become more intelligent than humans. One of the potential offshoots of a technological singularity is the possibility of curing illnesses like heart disease and cancer—and maybe even turning off aging altogether. This was an idea I had a hard time reconciling, because I had spent my whole life shaping a philosophy around the idea that my life-span was finite. As a young climber, I had decided that since I was going to die, even if I took it easy and didn’t take any risks, I might as well try to squeeze every last bit of juice out of life.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958., Vaina, Lucia and Jaakko Hintikka, eds. Cognitive Constraints on Communication. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Reidel, 1985. Van Heijenoort, Jean, ed. From Frege to Gödel. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967. Varela, Francisco J., Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. Vigne, V “Technological Singularity” Whole Earth Review, Winter 1993. von Neumann, John. The Computer and the Brain. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1958. Waddington, C. H. The Strategy of the Genes. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1957. Waldrop, M. Mitchell. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. _________. Man-Made Minds: The Promise of Artificial Intelligence.


pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles

business cycle, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, MITM: man-in-the-middle, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, 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, zero-sum game

"We uploaded via the router," Amber says, and looks confused for a moment. "There's a network on the other side of it. We were told it was FTL, instantaneous, but I'm not so sure now. I think it's something more complicated, like a lightspeed network, parts of which are threaded through wormholes that make it look FTL from our perspective. Anyway, Matrioshka brains, the end product of a technological singularity – they're bandwidth-limited. Sooner or later the posthuman descendants evolve Economics 2.0, or 3.0, or something else and it, uh, eats the original conscious instigators. Or uses them as currency or something. The end result we found is a howling wilderness of degenerate data, fractally compressed, postconscious processes running slower and slower as they trade storage space for processing power.


What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge by Marcus Du Sautoy

Albert Michelson, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, banking crisis, bet made by Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne, Black Swan, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, Georg Cantor, Hans Lippershey, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Necker cube, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, Thales of Miletus, Turing test, wikimedia commons

Another example of this super-exponential growth is the rate of increase of computer power. There is a dictum called Moore’s law, which states that computers double in power every 18 months. With such an increase, computers are powerful but never hit a singularity. But others have suggested that just as the time it takes for the population to double seems to be getting shorter, the same applies to technology. The possibility of a technological singularity has given rise to something called the Singularity movement. Popularized by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzwell in his book The Singularity Is Near, the singularity is due to hit humanity in 2045. At this point, Kurzwell believes, humans will be able to create artificial intelligence that exceeds our own. This moment will be accompanied by a breakdown in our ability to predict what life after such a singularity will be like.


pages: 571 words: 162,958

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

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

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: 720 words: 197,129

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, desegregation, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Terrell, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Beau Cronin of O’Reilly Media has proposed a drinking game: “take a shot every time you find a news article or blog post that describes a new AI system as working or thinking ‘like the brain’ ” (http://radar.oreilly.com/2014/05/it-works-like-the-brain-so.html), and he maintains a pinboard of stories making such claims (https://pinboard.in/u:beaucronin/t:like-the-brain/#). 18. Author’s interview with Tim Berners-Lee. 19. Vernor Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity,” Whole Earth Review, Winter 1993. See also Ray Kurzweil, “Accelerating Intelligence,” http://www.kurzweilai.net/. 20. J. C. R. Licklider, “Man-Computer Symbiosis,” IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, Mar. 1960. 21. Kelly and Hamm, Smart Machines, 7. 22. Kasparov, “The Chess Master and the Computer.” 23. Kelly and Hamm, Smart Machines, 2. 24. “Why Cognitive Systems?” IBM Research website, http://www.research.ibm.com/cognitive-computing/why-cognitive-systems.shtml. 25.


pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

; Margulis and Sagan, Microcosmos, 260. 51. Kurzweil, Singularity, 9, 136. 52. Ibid., 29–30. 53. See “The Deification of Reason” in chapter 7 and “Cogito Ergo Sum” in chapter 12. 54. Kurzweil, Singularity, 32, 311. See “The Conflict of Body and Soul” in chapter 7. 55. Kurzweil, Singularity, 361, 375. In this Platonic view of humanity's conceptual intelligence as godlike, Kurzweil is joined by other prophets of the technological Singularity. The transhumanist Ramez Naam, for example, argues: “‘Playing God’ is actually the highest expression of human nature. The urges to improve ourselves, to master our environment, and to set our children on the best path possible have been the fundamental driving forces of all of human history. Without these urges to ‘play God,’ the world as we know it wouldn't exist today.” Cited in Singularity, 299. 56.


pages: 665 words: 207,115

Across Realtime by Vernor Vinge

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

(On the other hand, such a vanishing is the timelike analog of the silence we find all across the sky.) From now to 2000 (and then 2001), the Jason Mudges will be coming out of the woodwork, their predictions steadily more clamorous. It's an ironic accident of the calendar that all this religious interest in transcendental events should be mixed with the objective evidence that we're falling into a technological singularity. So, the prediction: If we don't have that general war, then it's you, not Della and Wil, who will understand the Singularity in the only possible way-by living through it. San Diego 1983-1985


pages: 746 words: 221,583

The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge

combinatorial explosion, epigenetics, indoor plumbing, megacity, MITM: man-in-the-middle, random walk, risk tolerance, technological singularity, the scientific method, Vernor Vinge

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.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

A photo-captioning program labels an impending plane crash “An airplane is parked on the tarmac”; a game-playing program is flummoxed by the slightest change in the scoring rules.27 Though the programs will surely get better, there are no signs of foom. Nor have any of these programs made a move toward taking over the lab or enslaving their programmers. Even if an AGI tried to exercise a will to power, without the cooperation of humans it would remain an impotent brain in a vat. The computer scientist Ramez Naam deflates the bubbles surrounding foom, a technological Singularity, and exponential self-improvement: Imagine that you are a superintelligent AI running on some sort of microprocessor (or perhaps, millions of such microprocessors). In an instant, you come up with a design for an even faster, more powerful microprocessor you can run on. Now . . . drat! You have to actually manufacture those microprocessors. And those fabs [fabrication plants] take tremendous energy, they take the input of materials imported from all around the world, they take highly controlled internal environments which require airlocks, filters, and all sorts of specialized equipment to maintain, and so on.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

From Yudkowsky’s perspective, I gather, talking about human rationality without saying anything interesting about AI is about as difficult as talking about AI without saying anything interesting about rationality. In the long run, Yudkowsky predicts that AI will come to surpass humans in an “intelligence explosion,” a scenario in which self-modifying AI improves its own ability to productively redesign itself, kicking off a rapid succession of further self-improvements. The term “technological singularity” is sometimes used in place of “intelligence explosion;” until January 2013, MIRI was named “the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence” and hosted an annual Singularity Summit. Since then, Yudkowsky has come to favor I.J. Good’s older term, “intelligence explosion,” to help distinguish his views from other futurist predictions, such as Ray Kurzweil’s exponential technological progress thesis.2 Technologies like smarter-than-human AI seem likely to result in large societal upheavals, for the better or for the worse.